Hey, Spike! shines a bright light on veterans | SummitDaily.com

Hey, Spike! shines a bright light on veterans

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily

Ten hut!

For you civilians, that’s a barked military command for “attention.”

And while we have it, please note that Tuesday, Nov. 11, is annual Veterans Day, honoring those who served their country in the military. It’s also known as Remembrance Day.

Spike! highlights fellow Army veteran Sergio Alvarez — an excellent example.

Sergio served in the U.S. Army for “24 years, 9 months, 26 days,” retiring at the very top of the non-commissioned officer ladder as an operations sergeant major.

A native of Guatemala City, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Guatemala, and the most populous in Central America, Sergio immigrated to the U.S. in 1974 at age 5.

“I was born in Guatemala City and moved to Los Angeles, where I attended public school and graduated from high school before enlisting,” he explains. “Along the way, I have studied at various universities and colleges. Most notably I attended the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.”

Now 45, and calling Silverthorne home, he continues to be a leader — managing Frisco’s busy Big O Tire.

“I served in the U.S. Army starting in October 1987 until I separated from the active duty in July 1992. During that period I served in the field artillery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Hanau, Germany; and Colorado’s Fort Carson,” says Sergio. “I participated in numerous operations and training exercises. We were alerted and mobilized for support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-’91.”

Sergio also specialized in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare as well as small-arms repair, with instructor qualifications and held several positions where he was responsible for training deploying troops and non-commissioned and commissioned officers.

“I left the active duty and enlisted with the Colorado National Guard with which I served until October 2011,” he adds. “In the Colorado National Guard I served in many roles.”

Some of the more significant events include:

— Overseas training events with the Jordanian forces;

— Overseas training with the United Kingdom Territorial Army;

— Blizzard relief in Colorado Springs winter of 1997;

— Operation Noble Eagle (Airport Security Sept. 11, 2001);

— Operation Noble Eagle (2002-’03);

— Hurricane Katrina relief (2005);

— Lamar blizzard relief (2007);

— Democratic National Convention security operations (2008) in Denver;

— Pre-mobilization lead trainer (2008-’09);

— Operation Iraqi Freedom (Ramadi Iraq 2009-’10); and

— Centennial training site lead instructor for over 1,500 students (2010-’11).

“I held the rank of operations sergeant major during my time in Iraq. I was in charge of ops throughout Anbar Province within the Sunni Triangle,” Sergio says. “I was also charged with security and welfare of approximately 5,000 soldiers and civilians at Camp Ramadi, Iraq.”

While not specific in detail, Sergio admits he has repercussions from his combat duty overseas.

“All of us who served were affected in one way or another. Many wounds are not visible and will never heal,” he remarks.

“The Veterans Administration is overwhelmed with the number of returning soldiers,” he says. “Receiving quality care for us is very difficult, especially in Summit County.”

For his service efforts, Sergio was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.

At Big O Tire, Sergio continues offering quality service.

“I have been with Big O Tires for nearly four years. Owners Kevin and Valerie Brooks and their organization have given me a great opportunity to transfer my military experience into civilian life,” Sergio comments.

“I have learned a tremendous amount in a short time through the mentoring of my general managers and other managers. I am forever thankful to have been given this opportunity,” he adds.

He manages a staff of about 12-16, depending on the season.

“They are some of the most dedicated employees a guy could ask for. They understand my high demands and are very willing to accommodate and give of themselves to better serve our customers,” Sergio adds.

“Our goal is that every customer leaves here satisfied with their purchase and that they return for follow-up services,” he says. “Word of mouth is critical in our small town and we hope that all of our customers would recommend us to their friends and family.”

And of “family,” Sergio knows well.

“I have two sons, both of whom live in Colorado Springs. My oldest has blessed me with a beautiful 5-year-old granddaughter and my youngest attends college in Colorado Springs. They are my reason for being. My parents and siblings all live in and around Los Angeles.”

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to milesfporteriv@aol.com

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