Thanksgiving Holiday Memories

  • Published
  • By Deidre Ortiz
Jeff Tate
Technical Specialist
Test Support Branch
35 years of service

Most memorable Thanksgiving...
I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving Holidays spent together with family - watching football, hunting, and stuffing my belly. But, it is at this time of year that I can't help but go back and remember a Thanksgiving Holiday weekend in the 80s that I was working as a boilermaker at J5 replacing exhaust diffuser panels. Another crew was working in J4 to remove rocket fuel that had fallen to the bottom of the cell after a misfire. In the J5 exhaust duct I heard what sounded like a rush of air moving down the duct and assumed that somehow, someone had opened a valve isolating my crew from ETF Plant that was air on at the time. As I rushed to evacuate the duct and J5 test building, I saw a plume of white smoke pouring out of the 6-foot diameter opening at J4 and realized that something there had gone wrong. I was among several craft folks that help set up a crane and personnel basket for the first futile attempts to rescue anyone left alive down in the 250-foot deep hole. After a short while it became obvious that no one could survive the high heat that existed in the J4 exhaust chamber. Several people died in the incident. Today, memories of this and other incidents from my years here at AEDC shape my daily life. I think about those guys in J4 when it seems like a good idea to cut corners on a task to get it done quicker or save money. My family deserves more than those kinds of risk from me.

Phyllis Lafferty
Aeropropulsion Plant Assets Branch
8 years of service

Most memorable Thanksgiving...
Actually it was last year. All three of my husband's children came for the whole weekend for the first time in 25 years! We spent the entire weekend doing fun things - eating, Rock City, talking until the wee hours of the morning, Opryland and a special musical night with Stephen Salyers in downtown Nashville.

Peter Macaluso
Air Force Project Manager
Propulsion Wind Tunnel Test Branch
5 years of service

My most memorable Thanksgiving...
Moving from the kids' table to the adult table.

Jay Rogers
Controls Engineer
ATA Information Technology and Systems Department
5 months of service

My most memorable Thanksgiving...
When my family was in Yokota Air Base, we lived in base housing which had eight families all sharing the same lot.  Every year for Thanksgiving the whole lot would come out and hold a potluck dinner party.  Since many of us came from different parts of the world, the food was unique and (for the most part) tasty!  Along with the staples of turkey and the like, we had dishes such as lumpia, meat stuffing and shepherd's pie.  The best part was that all the kids would get together after eating in an open area nearby and play soccer.

Gail Clayborne
Software Engineer
Test Support Branch
27 years of service

My most memorable Thanksgiving...
My Thanksgiving holiday is like that of most of my co-workers: food, family and fun. From the time that I was a little girl until a few years ago, my family spent the day at my grandmother's house.  Upon entering the door of my grandmother's house, she would greet us with a big hug.  I still see her in her little apron.  She, of course, had prepared most of the meal by herself which always included a birthday cake to celebrate my mother's birthday.   As a child until my early teens, I remember competing with my cousins in football, tag, hide-n-seek or whatever we all agreed to play. Later after having children of my own, I remember watching them from the kitchen window with their cousins outside doing the same thing.  My grandmother has been gone 4 1/2 years now, but Thanksgiving at her house was full of love and laughter.

Bud Stovall
Test Support Branch
25 years of service

Memories I plan to make this Thanksgiving...
Thanksgiving is a group effort at our house. I fry the turkey, my wife does the sides and desserts and my mother-in-law brings the dressing. Since my girls have moved away it is special to have them home again. But I have come to realize that Thanksgiving is less about the food and more about the company.

Kim Arnold
General Clerk
Finance and Contract Management Branch
7 months of service

Memories I plan to make this Thanksgiving...
Seventeen years ago on Thanksgiving my family and I spent the holiday at the Birmingham Children's hospital because my niece had cancer. Fortunately, my niece is now fine but this event helped to remind us how important family is. So this year, like every year, we plan to make time for family bonding. Cooking dinner, eating together, and of course, some are watching football together. Per tradition, we always gather in the living room after dinner, draw names for Christmas, put up our Christmas trees/decorations and just enjoy our time together by laughing and talking. We will also take the time to catch up on each other's lives because throughout the year, we don't get a lot of time to sit down and spend time together. My sister in-law, daughter and I also like to read the sales paper so we can make a plan for after-Thanksgiving shopping.