The Lodge Maintenance Director, Vic Blum, Recalls His Past as a Member of the U.S. Air Force
October 30, 2020
Vic Blum, The Lodge at Grand Junction‘s maintenance director, said serving in the U.S. Air Force shaped his personal values for the rest of his life, including the way he approaches his role at The Lodge.
“I love this country dearly, and my belief is that I took an oath to my country way back when and it never expired,” said Blum. “After you retire it does technically, but that’s not how I feel on my part. I will always be of service to the United States.”
Born and raised in Fruita, Colorado, Blum enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in Denver and served from 1990 to 2012. He worked in testing evaluation as an aircraft armament systems specialist, using his mechanical and engineering skills to develop and test weapons including the B2 Spirit stealth bomber.
Blum was initially stationed in South Carolina, spent a year at Osan Air Base in South Korea, moved on to Edwards Air Force Base in California’s Mojave Desert, and then was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida as a member of the 46th Air Force Maintenance Squadron. Beginning in 1997, Blum was deployed all over the world to Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait where he helped develop new weapons and avionics systems.
“When I was deployed, we did a lot of quick response tasks directly from the Pentagon,’ said Blum. “I was involved in developing a lot of the weapons the Air Force uses currently and helped paved the way for some of the new weapons the Force is using today.”
In his family, Blum comes from a long line of military service members, so he wanted to follow in their footsteps; he was also proud to see his son and nephew enter the service as well. Having personally experienced the difficult transition back to civilian life, today Blum makes himself available to counsel veterans suffering from the unseen wounds of PTSD.
As Americans observe Veteran’s Day on November 11, Blum said he hopes they will keep the occasion’s true significance in mind.
“It’s a day to celebrate all veterans, past and present and, really, future,” he said. “Why do we only have one day in the year to celebrate our veterans? While I don’t always know how to respond when someone thanks me for my service, to me, it feels so wonderful to tell another veteran.”
Today, as he oversees The Lodge’s maintenance team in keeping the building running, Blum enjoys supporting his teammates as he would civilian comrades. He also loves connecting with residents who are veterans and hearing their war stories.
“I love talking to the World War II vets and just hearing about what they went through,” said Blum. “It’s amazing to think how this guy shuffling along with a cane has endured some of the most horrific things imaginable. When you see someone who is also prior military, you know not to take their service for granted.”