Gordon O'Brien of Delta was honored by the Delta County Commissioners on Monday by having the county's Veteran Service Office named in his honor.
"Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Delta Board of County Commissioners do hereby proclaim that the Delta County Veteran Service Office be named in honor of Gordon T. O'Brien, Major, USAF (retired) and that said office shall herein be referred to as the Gordon O'Brien Veteran Service Office," states the proclamation which was mounted on a plaque, read by Commission Chair Doug Atchley and presented to O'Brien.
A reception for O'Brien was held on Monday at the courthouse attended by O'Brien's family and by the commissioners, by other county officials, and by representatives of Delta's Lee Marts Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and Auxiliary #3571 who serve the organization on the local, district and state levels.
O'Brien was the county's veteran service officer (VSO) for 24 years before retiring from the post in 2003.
O'Brien's own military career includes service with the Merchant Marine in WWII. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1950 and earned a second lieutenant's commission in 1953. He saw combat in two other wars — Korea and Vietnam, the county proclamation states.
O'Brien was active in numerous other community and service roles, many of which were noted on the proclamation he received. O'Brien's family provided the DCI with a copy of his curriculum vitae that notes the following highlights and achievements:
He joined the Merchant Marine in 1944; graduated Ouray High School in 1946; attended Mesa College 1947-1949; married Derelyse Roatcap in 1950 and they have four children.
He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1950; graduated Officer Candidate School in 1953; was Golden Gloves Champion Welter Weight Division, 1953; he is an accomplished scuba diver.
Gordon saw combat in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War; he served as an air traffic controller; he is a private pilot and member Civil Air Patrol. He trained soldiers for Vietnam combat duty in Hawaii, Florida and Kentucky; he retired from the Air Force as a Major after 21 years of service and settled in Grand Junction in 1972. In addition, four other brothers who served in the military are Lt. Col. Raymond O'Brien, retired; Capt. Terry O'Brien, retired; Staff Sgt. Roger O'Brien; and Sgt. Earl O'Brien.
He moved to Delta in 1978; he served as executive director for the Delta Chamber of Commerce; he is a member of the Delta Masonic Lodge, Delta Elks, Delta Kiwanis, VFW, DAV and American Legion. He served as commander for Harry White Post American Legion in Delta. He was instrumental in getting the recreation center named after Bill Heddles. He retired from serving as Veteran Service Officer for Delta after 24 continuous years in the post.
Also, his family notes many community activities and contributions he has made, including the following:
"Gordon has been volunteering and helping people all of his life. As a scuba diver, he helped rescue a logging truck that had broken through the ice in Bangor, Maine. As a Civil Air Patrol member, he would go on search and rescue missions. As an EMT, he would go out and save lives. He taught young men and women the basics of self-defense. He taught young boys how to box, and of course he spent many hours volunteering his time for fund raisers, whether it was Deltarado Days, a Kiwanis barbecue, Kiwanis Christmas tree sale, or an American Legion pancake breakfast. He was also responsible for the flags being put out at the cemetery on Memorial Day.
"As the Delta County veteran representative for 24 years, he helped countless veterans and their spouses navigate the complexities of military paperwork. His work with veterans would take him beyond the call of duty many times by giving people rides, providing financial support, and just being there to lend a sympathetic ear.
"One night, he drove down to Olathe to listen to a veteran who, with gun in hand, was threatening to kill himself. Luckily, Gordon talked him out of it and the veteran went on to live a long life. Gordon even mowed lawns for those unable to do it on their own. His commitment to veterans and their families was truly inspirational.
"Gordon is currently retired from all duties and service clubs and is living in Hotchkiss with his wife of 63 years, Derelyse."
Brian Ayers, the current Delta County VSO, said the mission of the veteran service office is to help veterans and their families apply for and obtain benefits, primarily federal, that have been earned through military service.blog comments powered by Disqus