Lauritzen: Life After 50 … Honoring Our Veterans

The NJROTC color guard from Los Alamos High School. Courtesy/LARSO
Gathered to honor the memory of their friend, local veteran James Griffin, from left, Mark Hinrichs, Pat Archer, Ron Christman and Bob Hiromoto at his memorial service the BESC. Courtesy/LARSO
Executive Director

Recently the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization (LARSO) hosted a memorial service for former member and local veteran James Griffin.

Griffin passed away in September without family and the centers felt the need to highlight his life and service to country, at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.

Griffin served in the Army and had been stationed in Korea.

As a tribute to Griffin’s life, the local senior centers want to reach out to those who live alone, have no family or no family nearby. Over the next few weeks, various projects are underway, to ask the community to help identify those who may be isolated in some way. If you know a senior living alone, perhaps tell us and we can send a newsletter that tells them about our free services.

Another proud moment, during my short tenure as LARSO executive director thus far, was back in August. I was asked to find three veterans willing to allow someone to capture their history. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall’s representative Michele Jacquez-Ortiz arrived with students from Washington, D.C., Aug. 13 to do formal interviews of local veterans.

I selected the three veterans upon my arrival as director of both centers. I knew I wanted to capture a member from the both the Betty Ehart and the White Rock centers, and I wanted one of them to be a GIRL! Yes, I mean a woman – and no the word girl doesn’t have to send us into a panic – but was an opportunity to highlight what the young people call, “girl power”, from a time it wasn’t so talked about. The woman I picked also was a community partner to the senior centers.

My three folks for the process were Jack Clifford, Jerry Dudley and Cheryl Henry. The project is part of the Veterans History Project (VHP) as a program of the Library of Congress, American Folklife Center. A tremendous amount of documentation was required prior to the interview process. I know one of our employees Gabe Vigil assisted one member in their data capture.

The team came out to visit both centers and gather audio, video and photographic documentation. The oral histories, manuscripts and photographic histories, may indeed become part of their permanent collection. You can learn more at The Veterans History project is listed under the Special projects tab. When we learn when our local veteran’s information will be posted, we hope to host something at the centers, to mark the occasion.

The local senior centers welcome adults 50 and over for membership. A variety of programs are available and both locations. This Saturday is the 16th annual Festival of Trees. The 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. event is the largest fundraiser for youth and senior programs.

The event includes collecting food for the needy, a shopping mall of vendors, free pictures with Santa, a bake sale and more than 80 items available at silent auction. Call 505.662.8920 for information.

A table set in memory of local veteran James Griffin. Courtesy/LARSO

A veteran’s faithful assistant. Courtesy/LARSO