Pikes Peak Lodge prepares for Innkeeper Award, upcoming events

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Already selected as number one in Air Force Space Command, the 21st Services Squadron's Pikes Peak Lodge will now compete against other major commands for the Air Force Innkeeper Award.

The Air Force Innkeeper Award program was created in 1981 and is managed by the Air Force Services Agency Lodging Branch. The award is presented annually to recognize the lodging operation that provides the most outstanding hotel-type lodging and customer service to the Air Force traveler.

From July 17 - 22, a team of three evaluators representing the Services Agency will visit and witness our professional lodging operation and staff. They will also come equipped with a 30-page checklist, covering things like front desk operations, housekeeping and customer service, to evaluate our ability to provide support to travelers. Similar to the recent Air Force Curtis E. LeMay evaluation, the Innkeeper Award's purpose is to encourage innkeepers to improve their management and operation of lodging facilities.

I had the pleasure of visiting our lodging operation July 3, an AFSPC family day, where I found a full management and support staff continuing daily operations. As I entered the lobby, I was met by Master Sgt. Manny Perez. I was pleased with the sheer professionalism and dedication he displayed. Sergeant Perez left an inherent confidence in my mind that he had firm control over his organization and the staff was prepared and devoted to winning. I thank the entire lodging team for committing to excellence; things continue to reach an exceedingly exceptional rate, and you should be proud.

Under the management of Joey Sanchez, the Pikes Peak Lodge general manager, the lodging team has re-doubled its efforts in providing unsurpassed installation support and superior service. To name only a few of the most recent improvements, her leadership was responsible for wireless internet installation in the lobby, flat-screen television upgrades in all visiting quarters and installation of low-flow shower heads that save an estimated 1 million gallons of water per year. Overall, there have been $1.3 million worth of upgrades in the last three years alone. Thanks again, Joey, for the continued support. We continue to rely on your team for all the VIP visits and special events.

Speaking of special events, this month's deployed families' picnic, an evening dedicated to supporting families that are separated due to deployments abroad, will be highlighted by a "Concert in the Park" 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. July 11 at the Peterson Parade Field. The concert is open to the entire Team Peterson family, while the picnic is intended for the deployed families and brought to you by the Peterson and Schriever Diamond councils.

Another important upcoming event is the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. From July 9 - 12, the 68th annual rodeo returns to the Norris-Penrose Event Center Arena and on July 12, the rodeo will host an AFSPC night.

Why do I consider this an important event? For 60 years, the rodeo has been committed to both serving and honoring the area's military. In fact, Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo has donated more than $1.5 million to a multitude of special interest programs, such as the Peterson "Caring Through Sharing" program, a program for families facing hard times and in need of assistance. We owe a debt of gratitude for their faithful support to the military community each year, and I hope to see you at one of the many events happening this week.