Sharon Kelso's ears were burning last Thursday evening. It seemed that everybody was talking about her. Kelso didn't need to worry; what they were saying was spoken with admiration, devotion and nostalgia as they gathered for a retirement extravaganza at Fort Belvoir Officers' Club.
Marie Canny, Mary Agee, Ken Disselkoen, Mary Jane Masciola and others, spoke from the heart, remembering Kelso's tenacity and her ability to change the world around her. One of Kelso's daughters, Tracy Wolanan, gave a heartfelt speech, but added a little humor when she said that she and her sisters used to pronounce UCM — 'ugh-kum,' because it took their mother away from them so much. All the girls, Tracy, Carrie Kelso and Bonnie Kelso, attended the event and no longer begrudge that time that their mother gave to the community.
MOUNT VERNON District Supervisor Gerald Hyland, who was told at the last minute that he was supposed to "roast" Kelso, decided to revise his thoughts and spoke fondly of the work that they had done together. Although he couldn't resist a few digs, like recalling the time Kelso told reporters that "they [at UCM] taught Gerry everything he knew" after he was elected as supervisor. He also used the magnifying glass that he "won" in an auction of Kelso's office paraphernalia to make a point.
"When would you have ever used this? You never read the fine print, you just always saw the larger picture," Hyland said.
Even Elvis made an appearance, and Kelso herself said her goodbyes to her friends and family.
The Kelsos are moving to Las Vegas.