Troy served as ‘home base’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 6, 2000

for Rob Peltzer’s family


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Feb. 5, 2000 8 PM

Some people have deep roots in Pike County and some have shallow roots. Others are like the fluff of a dandelion – here today and gone tomorrow. But none who spend time in the county are unaffected by it.

Rob and Kim Peltzer and their four-year-old son Caleb moved to Troy two years ago when Rob became detached from the Air Force in order to enroll in the ROTC program at TSU.

Soon, the young family will be leaving Troy. Rob has completed a second degree in business administration at TSU. He was also commission a 2nd Lt. in the Air Force and was honored as the detachment’s distinguished cadet. He will resume his career with the Air Force at Hanscom Air Force Base near Boston.

While the couple eagerly awaits the new assignment and looks forward to the new adventures awaiting them, there is some degree of sadness at leaving the community that welcomed them so openly and treated them so warmly.

Rob and Kim grew up in the big city of Albuquerque, New Mexico which has a population of more than a million. They attended rival high schools and were introduced by Rob’s cousin.

After graduation, Rob joined the Air Force, initially, "for the money for college." He and Kim married "at Christmas break" in 1987, and she was that quickly a military wife. Rob was stationed in Italy for four years and he and his bride found living to be very different from what they had known in the states.

The U.S. Air Force base was located in the heel of Italy’s boot and in a rural agricultural area.

"We were surrounded by artichoke fields and olive trees, and nowhere near a fast food restaurant or a shopping mall." Kim said, laughing.

The couple found friends and conversation to be their best entertainment until they had opportunities to travel through the countryside.

"We were 12 hours from Germany, so we didn’t get to see as much as we would have liked," Kim said. "We attended a German Oktoberfest and visited Austria and the Island of Greece. Venice was wonderful but I think the most impressive and most memorable experience was the Vatican. We attended a midnight mass there and it was unforgettable."

Rob said the enormity of the Vatican was overwhelming.

"On television, you have no sense of the enormous size of the Vatican," he said. "The podium where the Pope stands is probably 40 to 50 feet in height. It was very impressive."

Rob had more opportunities to see the "country" than Kim because he played on the Air Force base soccer team.

Rob played on a state championship soccer team in high school and modestly agreed that he is still a pretty good playmaker. He was one of the players chosen to play on the Air Force tournament team that included participants from three European regions.

"We traveled all over Germany to play and we finished second in the tournament," he said. "We felt good about the finish."

And, Rob also felt good about the second place finish of the high school team he coached.

"We had a small base school and we played some good teams, including the kids from the embassy and we weren’t going to beat those guys," he said, laughing. "They had kids from Rome, South Africa, Greece and they could play soccer."

When Rob’s overseas tour was completed, he was assigned to the Air Force Base In Pensacola and it was good to be back in the land of fast food and shopping malls once again.

"We had to readjust to city life and that wasn’t hard to do," Kim said. "It was so nice to go out for an afternoon of shopping. I had really missed that for four and a half years."

Rob explained that in Italy, people are up before sunup opening their shops for business. At noon they take a siesta that lasts until about 5 p.m. and then, they open their shops back up until around 9 p.m.

"That makes for a long afternoon," Kim said, adding that she didn’t know what kind of afternoons she would experience in their new home, Troy.

Although Troy wasn’t Albuquerque, Venice or even Pensacola, the small city did have its share of fast food restaurants and was in close proximity to large shopping malls. And it had something even better than that – friendly folks.

"We have been so happy here," Kim said. "We never felt like strangers because we were never treated like strangers. We were welcomed with open arms and readily accepted. Here, when you meet someone in your car, they actually wave to you. I really like that."

Rob said he and his family will miss Troy and hope to come back and visit when they have an opportunity. And, no matter where their military career takes them or how far, the Peltzers will always carry with them fond memories of their home away from home – Troy, Alabama.