It's time for another shocking sordid tale of naked confession. This time, however, it's really not so much a shocking confession, as a tale of a person who quietly did his duty for years, and left a tremendous hole when they left.
As I whipped into the turn and towards the gate, the guard stepped out in the road, raised his left hand, and his right went back towards his hip. I admit, the thought flashed through my mind "Holy shit they're serious about arrival time!" I pulled up to him, and he came to the window and glanced at the ID I was holding up. Then, it happened.
He put out his right hand, and shook mine as he spoke "My name is Norman Saine, you're new here aren't you."
As it turns out, Norman had worked at AEDC pretty much since there had been an AEDC there -- even a bit before it truly existed. He was also one of the best security features there, as he literally knew everyone by sight. He remembered their name, what they did, where they were supposed to be, and I suspect he knew where they went when they went where they weren't supposed to be. There was little that went on there that he didn't notice, and if he noticed something or someone wasn't right, it got checked out. Right then. Shift times didn't matter, nor much else.
He had seen me in the daily rush in and out, but hadn't had a chance to truly meet me, and so seized the opportunity when I ran late. We talked, and I later did a story about him for the base paper and for release. It turned out his daughter worked upstairs as the admin for the AF PAO office, and I wisely refrained from admitting that I had indeed noticed her as strongly as I had (though I suspect he knew how much I and others had).
It was a sad day for the center when he retired. We lost not just what I feel was a key asset to security, but a good man who worked long, hard, and believed strongly in doing the job right and just a bit beyond. He set an example, and I was glad to know him.
Even if he did manage to scare me with that first stop.