I first met Forsyth County resident Pete Rodda when I spoke to our local AARP chapter here in Cumming.
When he gave me his card, I saw that, among other things, he’s an AARP Driver Safety instructor and is also their coordinator for 16 counties in Georgia.
I learned that if you take one of these classes, your insurance agent is required to give you a 10 percent rate reduction. What a deal.
Also, Pete said the information you learn in these classes might save your life.
“I have people call me and tell me that what they learned absolutely saved their life,” Pete said.
There are all sorts of classes, and in the month of November, all veterans and their family members can take a class for free. The session is a bargain anyway at $11 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. I really encourage all of my readers to consider taking a class; I am definitely going to talk to my mother about this.
I could tell right away that Pete would be an interesting person to get to know, and let me tell you, my instincts were correct.
Pete and I met at a local coffee house and he walked down memory lane, recounting how he ended up here in Forsyth County. Pete grew up in Germany, with a German mother and a father in the military. He graduated from Frankfurt American High School in Germany.
When he was 15, his family moved to the United States and after earning a bachelor of science degree in business and then went on to earn his master of arts degree in business education. He began a career as a teacher.
With the Vietnam War in full swing, Pete decided to change direction. He attended officer candidate school and joined the Army in 1968.
Pretty much at this point, I needed a copy of Pete’s resume to keep up with all of his accomplishments and accolades.
Pete served 26 years in the Army and some of the awards he received include the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Vietnam, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal with three additional awards, and the Army Commendation medal with three subsequent awards. In addition, the American Red Cross cited him in two national awards as an exceptional volunteer. Pete retired from his illustrious military career in 1993.
You can probably imagine that he might have retired from the military, but he wasn’t ready to stop working. After working in the private sector for years using his impressive human resource skills and training, Pete returned to one of his early passions: that of teaching. He taught high school students business and other subjects for years until 2008 when he decided to retire from that and begin his current vocation, volunteering in our community.
Pete teaches the Drive Safely classes, works with the AARP Tax Aid Program and is active in his church. In addition, he’s added a new organization to his list. Warrior 2 Citizen is a nonprofit group, headed up by Col. Michael Roberts, that strives to help veterans re-enter the work place and try to put their lives back together after serving in the military.
“So many of our veterans serve our country and then need help transitioning back into society,” he said. “We want to offer services to these veterans and their families that are unique to their situation — help them with post-traumatic stress, anger management, depression — and also help the families.”
The 28-day, in-residence program offers hope and help to these brave men and women who sacrifice so much so we can enjoy our freedom.
Please consider sponsoring a veteran to attend a luncheon and program honoring them Nov. 11 in the Peachtree Point Amphitheater at Lake Lanier Islands Resort. All proceeds will benefit Warrior 2 Citizen. Please help spread the word so that corporations and individuals will learn about this organization and support the group on its quest to help our deserving veterans.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.