Local son and Winter Park native PFC Radio Medivac Operator Justin Reliford returned from a five-month deployment in Afghanistan to say that the one thing above all that he learned was, “don’t take things for granted”. Take water for example. He said that some days you had to wait for the water truck to finally come rumbling down the road after going for one long day without a reliable supply of water.
During his two-week break from the war, Reliford reconnected with family, friends and his workmates at Winter Park Care and Rehabilitation Center. But next Tuesday he will gear up and fly a total of about 27 back-numbing hours through Germany and Kuwait to return to FOB Shank, his base in the eastern region of the country.
Reliford’s father, who works as environmental manager at our facility, proudly stood at the rear of the audience joining with 50 others who listened intently to the presentation and then peppered Justin with questions about the Afghan culture as well as the progress of war. The audience looked at the views of Afghanistan as shot by Reliford hanging from an Apache helicopter as he leaned out in 6,000 of nothing but dry, hot air. The brown mountains towered and the ground looked as barren as the moon. Reliford returns to Afghanistan for a seven-month stint that already is changing the way this brave, yet still personable young man sees his life and the world.
Winter Park Care and