Friday, April 22, 2016

TOP STORY >> End of era: Veteran retires after 50 years of dedicated service

By Airman 1st Class Mercedes Taylor
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Heffernan retired April 15 after 18 years as the director of the Little Rock Air Force Base Retiree Activities Office. 

“Heffernan is the spitting image of the priorities. He’s a true Arkansas hero; he’s provided a way of communication to the people we don’t have direct access to,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Brown, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “Time and time again, he has been a steadfast communicator for the community and made sure he has given them the proper information. He just continues to serve and serve his community.”

Before Heffernan began volunteering at the retiree office, he joined the U.S. Army in 1962. After completing basic and advanced training, Heffernan was stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska. During this assignment, Heffernan was involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis because he set up communications for this event for six months. Another milestone for Heffernan was when he spoke to President Lyndon B. Johnson while setting up communications for the American Red Cross during the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake. Heffernan left active-duty service in 1965 and joined the Army National Guard, where he served for 27 years. 

After his military career had ended, Heffernan still wanted to be a part of help service members which led him to volunteering at the retiree office here. Heffernan was an essential part in disseminating information to the public and provided support to more than 53,000 central Arkansas retirees, annuitants, gray-area retirees and 100-percent disabled veterans. In addition to supporting the Retiree Office, he provided more than 9,000 hours to medical customer service, the base veterinary program, and the Military Personnel Flight service. 

All the memories I have from my time serving my country and serving alongside of so many exceptional people is what makes this so hard to step away from, Heffernan said during his retirement ceremony. I am very proud to have been a part of this and I want to thank everyone for the memories. 

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