Secretary retires after nearly 50 years as federal employee Published Oct. 8, 2010 By Staff Sgt. Brian Stives Eighth Air Force Public Affairs BARKSDALE AIR FOR BASE, La. -- Medina Paro never thought about it, but her children did. One day they came up to her and said, "Mom, after 49 years we think it is time to retire" - so she did. After 11 different 608th Air Communications Squadron commanders and 15 Eighth Air Force commanders, Mrs. Paro's last day as a federal employee was Aug. 27. Mrs. Paro began working as a federal employee in June of 1961. In 1977, she became the 2nd Field Maintenance Squadron commander's secretary then was reassigned to the 2nd Organizational Maintenance Squadron. She made her move under Eighth Air Force Headquarters in 1981, when she moved to the 608th ACOMS. "I moved to Eighth Air Force for the promotion," said Mrs. Paro laughing. For the next 29 years, Mrs. Paro was the one constant in Eighth Air Force. "When I first started we were under SAC [Strategic Air Command] and an inspecting headquarters," said Mrs. Paro. "Then we moved under ACC [Air Combat Command] and now we are under Air Force Global Strike Command. I also remember when everybody wore their blue uniforms all week, not just on Mondays." According to the Office of Personnel Management, the average length of service for all federal employees as of December was 13.8 years. Only 3.85 percent of the federal workforce has service of 35 years or more. Mrs. Paro's accomplishment didn't go unnoticed by her colleagues. A retirement celebration in her honor was held Aug. 27 at the Barksdale Club at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. "When Mrs. Paro joined the Eighth Air Force team in 1981 I was just starting my career as a B-52 standardization and evaluation copilot in Michigan. By the time I came to Barksdale for my first assignment in 1995, Mrs. Paro had already been working on base for nearly 20 years," said Maj. Gen. Floyd Carpenter, Eighth Air Force commander. "She is an amazing lady and has served Eighth Air Force, the United States Air Force and her country with great professionalism a deep sense of loyalty. She will truly be missed by everyone here." Mrs. Paro said the men and women who have worked in Eighth Air Force over the years have been the ones to make her stay so long. She said their influence gave her the fortitude to show up for work, even though there were times when she wanted to retire much earlier. "Every year that came around, I was going to quit. And then I never quit," she said. "I guess it's because everyone here has become family to me, I really don't want to leave. I will miss them, the camaraderie and the caring everyone has for each other." Aside from spending more time with her family, Mrs. Paro said she plans to travel more now. "I want to go to Rome," she said with a smile. When asked whether there will be anything she would miss about going to work every day, Mrs. Paro paused for a moment and with tears in her eyes said: "Definitely the people. If they called me and asked if I could come back to work, I would be here Monday morning."