Several months ago, Lou Mellini approached the Independent and shared a crazy idea.
Mellini, longtime general manager of local radio stalwarts KILO-FM 94.3 and KRXP-FM 103.9, wanted to spend a week in Afghanistan. That's right, Afghanistan. Not as a tourist, either, but visiting Fort Carson's 1st Brigade Combat Team around and inside the war zone.
For years, Mellini has been a devoted civic leader, helping and serving organizations as diverse as the Southern Colorado AIDS Project and the Colorado Springs Sports Corp. He also has been a big supporter of the military, enough that he already was an honorary member of the 1st BCT. So when the invitation came, it didn't matter to Mellini that he was, uh, beyond 60 and — though in decent shape — not quite "Army strong."
He waded through the necessary paperwork, and two weeks ago he took the trip. After returning, wiped out from 20 hours of airports and traveling across the Atlantic, he still couldn't stop talking when he called to say he was back on American soil. He was overflowing with stories and impressions, which he since has shared with Indy reporter Chet Hardin. (See the story here.)
Having known Mellini for three decades, I wasn't so shocked. He hasn't remained so successful for so long in the unusual Colorado Springs radio market by being low-key and fearful of taking risks.
But he'll have a hard time ever topping this. What's next, Lou?