Finding a family for all seasons

During the holidays, the focus on family is on the top of the mind more than at any other time of the year. No one should be without family, nor does anyone need to be if one simply reaches out and nurtures new “family” relationships with neighbors or membership organizations.

One such “family” is the Retired Active Men Inc., also called the RAMs. Seven area groups meet monthly giving retired men an opportunity to network.

“There are no initiation fees or dues,” said outgoing Big Ram Bill Benz of Morro Bay. “We don’t do nothing we don’t want to do.”

The Morro Bay branch meets on the second Tuesday of each month for lunch at the Officers Club at Camp San Luis Obispo. Reservations are a must for the $15 lunch by Phoenix Catering. Guests are hosted the first visit and then offered membership if they enjoy the camaraderie.

Newly elected Big Ram Adrian Hurtado of Cayucos said his goals in 2010 are to continue the fun, reach out to younger retirees (ages 50 to 60) and bring back one-day outings.

Len Soldano of Los Osos said he believes the organization is valuable to new retirees.

“You’re so used to getting up for work and socializing with fellow workers,” he said. RAMs define new friendships and purpose, he said.

Benz continues participation in the organization as program chairman, lining up events for the group.

In December, the RAMs had one of two annual ladies days. Victor Montalban spoke emotionally about his late father, Ricardo Montalban. All were impressed with the actor’s 70-year career and 62-year marriage to Victor’s mother, a sister of Loretta Young.

“His motto was always to be considerate of others,” said the son, clearly missing his father, who died Jan. 9.

Benz has lined up former Marine Si Tenenberg for Jan. 12.

“He will update us on Afghanistan,” he said. “With contacts from the front, he can give us an account on the new rules of engagement. In February, Jim Glinn entertains with some myths on aging, and in March, PG&E’s John Lindsey returns.” Lindsey writes a weekly weather column for The Tribune.

Don Griffith, a former teacher, was the first Big Ram of the group, chartered in September 1994. On the waiting list for the San Luis Obispo branch, he volunteered to help start the new branch to serve Los Osos to Cambria.

If connecting with a new “family” is on your New Year’s resolution list, the RAMs are dedicated to making new friends and “preserving the dignity and happiness of retired men.” If it feels like a family fit, call Hurtado at 995-3738.

Reach Judy Salamacha at 801-1422 or jsalamacha@yahoo.com.