The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

Local retiree shares his personal history

Most Saturday mornings you can find 73-year-old Jerry Medford at the Woodmen Hills Clubhouse exchanging ideas and suggestions with other active community members and representatives of the various districts responsible for the needs of the community of Woodmen Hills. Medford brings to the table his experiences of many years in government, military and community service.Medford was born in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina in 1931. His family was poor, a bad situation made worse when his mother died in her early thirties when Medford was just three years old. Medford’s dad struggled to raise the family until Medford was nine, when his father stepped in front of a car and was killed. The Salvation Army, an organization for which Medford still has much respect, stepped in to help and placed him in an orphanage in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Because of the Great Depression, the orphanage was full of kids. Medford remembers children being left on the doorstep because their parents couldn’t afford to feed them any more. Medford stayed there five years until he asked his grandmother to take him in, which she did.After graduation from high school, Medford joined the Air Force. He served from June 1948 to June 1952 and was stationed in Guam at Anderson Air Force Base when the Korean War started.When his tour of duty was over, Medford took a room at Miss Hacker’s boarding house in Houston. The cook at Miss Hacker’s had a young daughter named Betty, who had all the qualities Medford wanted in a wife, and they soon fell in love and married. Medford was 21 and was attending college on the G.I. Bill. Betty was 17 and had just graduated from high school.Medford says, “The G.I. Bill created the middle class. People like me could never have gotten an education without it.” He attended the University of Houston and earned a bachelor’s of science in criminology. He then applied for a job as a federal special agent, passed the test and was hired by the U.S. Customs Service.Medford worked on the Texas/Mexico border enforcing federal drug smuggling laws. He often traveled to Mexico, sometimes to places where no phone was available. The Medfords say maintaining their marriage during that time was not an easy task.In July 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was formed, and Medford was transferred from his position as senior resident agent, U.S. Customs, into the DEA.After his stint with the DEA, Medford transferred back to U.S. Customs, where he worked his way up to regional director. Medford was in charge of five states for the Federal Interdiction Program, and was responsible for the effort to stop the smuggling of narcotics through the Gulf Coast.At age 50, Medford retired. He and Betty stayed in the New Orleans area until 1992. While there, he served as executive director of the Coast Crime Commission, which included business people, community leaders, church leaders and retirees, mostly from law enforcement.In 1992, the Medfords moved to the Phoenix area, where Medford served on the Sun City West Retirement Community Homeowners’ Association Board. Then, in 2001, they moved to their favorite vacation spot – Colorado.Since moving to Colorado, Medford has remained active regarding community concerns, first in Pagosa Springs and now in Woodmen Hills. On life here in the Pikes Peak area, Medford says, “We see a real bright future – for the kids, for the schools, for the families.”In the meantime, Medford stays busy. He walks with Betty for a half-hour each day, and they enjoy camping, fishing, golfing and landscaping their yard. Eleven years ago, they traveled Europe for a month in celebration of their 40th anniversary. Medford even skied from the top of Wolf Creek at the age of 70, but he laughingly says it was the biggest mistake he ever made, and it took weeks to heal from the falls.More on Jerry Medford:On childhood memories: Most of them are unpleasant. There were 65 kids in the orphanage, which just managed to keep them all fed and clothed. The kids became very close and defended one another at school. Nobody picked on an orphanage kid because they had 64 brothers and sisters who fought for them.On favorite books or authors: I like to read, but I don’t read fiction. I like history, particularly about WWII, how leaders come to power and current events. I get up between 5:30 and 6 a.m. in the morning and read the whole newspaper.On what’s needed to be a true leader: Listen to people.On his heroes: I have many heroes. I went into the service when Truman was president. He was a strong leader. He made many hard decisions that weren’t popular, but he stuck to them. Also General (Curtis) LeMay, who headed the 19th Bomb Squadron during WWII then later headed Strategic Air Command. (Medford served in SAC at Carswell Air Force Base during the days of the B-36.)On things he might like to be involved in: I was appointed by the Archuleta County Commissioners (in Pagosa Springs) to serve on the county fair board. I enjoyed working with the kids and their animal projects. Archuleta County is full of people involved with their community and that makes it worthwhile.On the possibility of Falcon becoming incorporated: If you incorporate, you have the cost of a police department, mayor, city buildings, things required by law – on top of the county taxes we already pay. We’re getting everything we need now from the districts – fire, sewer, lighting, water, etc. – and they’re doing a great job. Qualified people run them, and we need to support them. If Falcon gets real big it may be necessary, but it’s not necessary now.On living in Falcon: Falcon has a homey feeling. We feel comfortable here. If I saw anything that I thought needed change, I’d talk to the people in charge about it. Communication is the key.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers