Fitness Center dedicated to fallen commander
By Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 25, 2010
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The base fitness center was dedicated to a fallen Vandenberg member during a ceremony here May 25.
The dedication and official re-naming of the fitness center honors Navy Cmdr. Duane Wolfe, who lost his life during an improvised explosive device attack near Fallujah, Iraq May 25, 2009.
Col. Richard Wright, the 30th Mission Support Group commander, presided over the ceremony.
"Many people had the opportunity to work with Duane every day," said Colonel Wright. "Some only saw him around the base or community, and even still to some he was known as dad, husband, brother or son, but time has made me realize that for all who knew Duane, all of us called him friend."
Commander Wolfe served as a civilian at Vandenberg for 24 years, most recently as the 30th Mission Support Group deputy commander. During his time here, he worked with the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron to design the new fitness center.
"Duane loved sports and fitness, so I find it a wonderful and fitting tribute to name the gym after him," said Cindi Wolfe, wife of Commander Wolfe. "This is by far the most appropriate building."
More than 200 people attended the event to honor Commander Wolfe. In attendance were Commander Wolfe's wife Cindi and all three of their children. Each spoke briefly about their fond memories of their father.
"We are so touched by everyone who attended the event today," said Katie Wolfe, daughter of Commander Wolfe. "I have always thought of my dad as a hero, but to be able to declare that in front of everyone and see that so many agree gives me such a sense of awe."
In addition to changing the name of the fitness center, a plaque was also unveiled memorializing Commander Wolfe's life with his biography and photo.
"The plaque is even more beautiful than we imagined," said Mrs. Wolfe. "The photo that was used is our favorite and I'm deeply touched at how wonderful the plaque looks."
Duane was a giving man and it must not be forgotten how much he gave to the community and his country, said Colonel Wright.
"The fitness center is dedicated to honor Duane and serve as a constant reminder of his devotion to duty and his ultimate sacrifice," he said. "Duane would have thought it was a bit much, but I think it's the perfect tribute to him."