RIVERDALE -- Hanging in a hallway of the Pentagon is a picture of Bob Ramos, 86, dressed in his U.S. Air Force blues -- the uniform he wore during a long and distinguished career.
The photograph is part of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Agency's Pioneers in Blue program.
Master Sgt. (Ret.) Norberto Ramos, is among 39 Air Force veterans, including medal recipients, historic figures and mentors, recognized in the program's second year for their contributions to the service.
The first year recognized astronaut Buzz Aldrin and pilot Chuck Yeager.
Ramos, a veteran of three wars, feels honored that someone of such humble beginnings is recognized at the national headquarters of the United State military.
"A Mexicano, with no education to speak of, from grass roots, a cotton picker, delivered papers way back, to have this displayed at the Pentagon, what else can I say?" Ramos said.
During World War II, Ramos was drafted into the Army. After the war, he felt he had no direction, trying to work, trying to go to school.
He received a recall during the Korean War and joined the Air Force, spending the rest of his military career in the Air Command, where he also served in support of the Vietnam war before retiring in 1970.
A tall man, the octogenarian still maintains his excellent military posture.
Through his years in the service, he spent much of his free time serving the community.
While stationed in Japan during the 1960s, he and other soldiers worked to help local youths who lived in the area surrounding the base.
He also helped establish credit unions, helped the Parent Teacher Association and taught Sunday School.
He said his wife eventually had to reel him in and made sure he spent more time with his own children, so they wouldn't suffer because he was busy serving others.
He retired in Utah after serving several years at Hill Air Force Base.
"Because I received Air Force retirement, I thought I should pay some of that back by volunteering," Ramos said.
In July, he will celebrate 25 years as a volunteer at the base pharmacy.
After he retired, he went to work for the state in the Department of Veteran Affairs.
"I had to get involved because of all the problems veterans face after they leave military service," Ramos said. "Depression, homelessness, the social evils of society -- and it's constant."
Because he had no budget, he approached local business leaders for help, focusing on finding employment for returning veterans.
Utah Department of Veteran Affairs Executive Director Terry Schow said he submitted Ramos' name to Pioneers in Blue. Schow came across an application through his work with the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce's military affairs committee.
"What can I say, I'm president of the Bob Ramos fan club," Schow said.
Aside from working in veteran affairs, Ramos also has volunteered to improve the lives of veterans.
Ramos worked on the veterans memorial in Riverdale, and when it came time to build the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home, Ramos contacted legislators and even made a personal donation, sponsoring a room in the home.
Every week, Ramos goes to the home to have lunch and speak with veterans, to see how they are doing and offer to help in anyway he can.
"He's not a boastful man, but he's a windbeneath-your-wings kind of guy, always there and supporting," Schow said. "So many of these guys just go about quietly doing their work. They don't advertise."
Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo is in charge of Pioneers in Blue, which he hopes will be a yearly event.
He and other members of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Agency are working on the third volume of Pioneers in Blue, which will be presented on Sept. 18, the U.S. Air Force's birthday.
Ricardo said the program has a dual purpose. Along with recognizing the contributions of veterans toward improving the Air Force, it is also a training tool for public affairs personnel.
"We're always about helping our airmen get better at what they do," Ricardo said, "We're all trying to do each other's work."
Active duty or retired military service members can nominate an Air Force veteran for the program. All nominations must include Active Duty Discharge Duty Form 214.
To make a nomination, contact Ricardo at firstname.lastname@example.orgââ.