April 16, 2008 - Does Anyone Have a Job for Tom Allee??
What: Retirement reception for Tom Allee
Where: Loews Hotel
When: April 16, 2008
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Event Coordinator: Pat Lee
Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress
Honoree Tom Allee, left, Medal of Honor recipient George Sakato, Tom's son James, and Medal of Honor recipient Drew Dix
You've heard of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon; the concept should have been named "the six degrees of Tom Allee." It seems that everyone and their cousin has worked with, become friends with, is related to or has been touched by Tom Allee in some way, if the reception for him at Loew's Denver Wednesday evening was any indication.
Of course the myriad of acquaintances has as much to do with Tom's brilliance as an airline executive and his energy in supporting so many causes as it does pure coincidence. Although Tom got his share of ribbing from the likes of Jeff Potter and Neal Meehan (former airline CEOs in their own rite) and business leaders across the state, it was evident that Tom will be sorely missed. He will still be instrumental in supporting causes like the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention, for which he was largely responsible in bringing to Denver in 2008. Medal of Honor recipient Drew Dix was in attendance to express thanks to Tom, and told the crowd, "most people seem to get replaced fairly easily when they retire. But Tom, you might have some satisfaction in knowing that maybe Frontier should have kept you around a little longer."
There were several well-deserved toasts for Tom, and former CEO of Frontier Jeff Potter couldn't resist some jabs at his old friend Tom. "We worked together in Houston for Continental, and car-pooled to work every day. Tom is a Colorado man, so being in Houston brought out a new vocabulary, which I found out later was consistent with most airline employees."
"Despite the fact that I have just learned 'Dancing with the Stars' is his new favorite TV show, I have the utmost respect for Tom," Potter continued. "He's the most patriotic man I've ever met."
Tom was presented with several awards, accolades and jibes, including his former boss Neal Meehan describing why he picked the wolf to put on the model plane they gave him ("oldest animal in the fleet, likes to breed in high altitudes....") First Lady Jeannie Ritter was on hand, reminding everyone that in another chapter in her life she was once a flight attendant working for Neal Meehan. Tom Clark of Denver Metro Chamber put out a plea to find a new job for Tom, and Terry Sullivan spoke for the Colorado Springs contingent. Tourism guru Janie McCullough presented Tom with a Michael Garmin statue; Bob Litchard, retired from University of Colorado, brought him a special Buffs helmet; Bill Holen read a special letter from Congressman Ed Perlmutter; Nick De Calzo, who will be co-chairing the Medal of Honor Society convention with Tom, read a letter from Governor Ritter; Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Drew Dix presented Tom with a flag that flew over the United States Capitol in his honor at the request of Congressman Tom Tancredo; and Sharon Magness Blake and Ernie Blake presented Tom with a collage of pictures from his tenure on the planning committee for Western Fantasy. ("Can we make the horse fly?" was one idea he presented to Sharon.)
The theme that resounded throughout all the speeches and compliments, jokes and jibes, memories and stories was: "What happened to all those free tickets??"
"Even if you subtract all of those tickets, Tom still generated $40 million annually for Frontier through the programs he created," said Jeff Potter. Tom Allee was recruited by Potter in 1995 to come to Frontier, after they both worked for Continental. Tom also did a stint with Rocky Mountain Airways and Winter Park. Originally from Manitou Springs, Tom has been known to joke about Colorado Springs keeping up with Manitou. After taking the podium and returning some of the jibes he received during the evening, Tom said, "After you retire, there's only one event left, and I'm definitely not ready for that." It's obvious that the community and the entire nation has not seen the last of Tom Allee.
Many of the members of the host committee for the Medal of Honor Society convention and the Gold Star family society (family members of those lost in battle) were in attendance, including Medal of Honor recipients Drew Dix and George Sakato; Jane Rund, mother of Lance Cpl. Gregory Rund, who was lost in battle in Fallujah; Sandee Swanson, widow of posthumous Medal of Honor recipient Jon E. Swanson; Stan and Terry Cooper, who lost their son Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Slocum; Dan and Cindy Dietz, who lost their son, Navy SEAL Danny; Katherine Cathey and her son Jimmy--Katherine's husband was 2nd Lt. James Cathey, a marine killed in Iraq and Debbie and Kyle Anderson, who lost their son and brother Christopher in Iraq. For more information about the Congressional Medal of Honor Society convention, log on to: www.medalofhonor2008.org.