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In honor of Veteran's Day, the Spectrum staff and board want to honor Senior Meals client Carl Dudley, and ALL the brave men and women who have served our country.  Whether in the past, the present or the future, during times of war and peace, all of us at Spectrum Community Services salute and thank all of the veterans who have served! 

Carl Dudley turned down a scholarship to Morehouse College awarded to him by Martin Luther King, Jr. and others in 1961. He had aspirations of becoming a famous jazz saxophonist and singer, following in the footsteps of his musical family members, and against his mother’s wishes. Instead Carl found himself outside a recruitment office one afternoon in 1962. Most of the doors were locked as the officers took their lunch break. When Carl returned an hour later, two branches of the armed services were open and with the flip of a coin, Carl enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

Like many other young men and women, Carl was ready to start his own life and wanted to move away from home. Carl left New Jersey, where he was born and raised, and went on to complete his basic training in Texas. After a few other stops, including Niagara Falls, where Carl was responsible for tracking and reporting the status of missiles and warheads directly to the Pentagon, he spent the next several years deployed in Southeast Asia.  

Carl served as a Staff Sergeant E5 until 1975, but decided to stay in Thailand as a civilian, eventually landing a job with 3M Thailand Limited. Carl’s love of music and performing never left him and he found many opportunities to sing in some of the largest and most popular nightclubs in Thailand. 

When an opportunity to be transferred by 3M back to the United States came up, Carl was lucky enough to avoid the cold winters he remembered as a child and landed in Riverside, California.  As Carl’s job responsibilities grew, he found himself being sent to San Francisco to participate in a conference.  It was at this conference, where he met his future bride-to-be, Lucy. Carl and Lucy were working late one evening, and after looking at the time on his watch, Carl invited Lucy out for dinner.  Lucy suggested a restaurant close to her apartment in S.F. and to Carl’s surprise; it turned out to be a Thai restaurant. As he began to converse with the restaurant staff, speaking fluent Thai, Lucy took notice. Carl spent the evening regaling Lucy with tales of his time overseas and must have made a very good impression because they have been together ever since.  

As Carl got older, spending 4-5 days a week on the road got to be tiresome and he decided a career change was in order.  Carl spent the next several years working his way up through the Kaiser Permanente Healthcare System and was promoted from security manager, to supervisor, and eventually personnel director, until he retired in 2013.

Carl picks up lunch several times a week for himself and his wife from the San Leandro Senior Center, one of Spectrum’s Senior Meals distribution sites. They are both grateful for the healthy meals and the help that they say the program affords them as an older, retired couple.  Carl had wonderful things to say about his interactions with Spectrum’s staff and volunteers.  He made a point to mention how nice and friendly everyone is, especially San Leandro site coordinator, Diane. 

Carl gave his service to our country.  Give him and other veteran clients the gift of a meal today.  $10 provides 1 nutritious meal.  Click HERE to make your gift today.