DENVER -- The passing of John Glenn is a personal loss for a Colorado astronaut.
When Glenn made his return to space in 1998, he wasn't alone. Astronaut Steven Lindsey was at the controls.
"He's one of those people that treats everybody the same no matter who they are. Despite all of his accomplishments and everything, he's very, I hate to say this, down to earth," said Lindsey.
Lindsey remembers the preparation, the launch, and the moments above the earth.
"I observed John the first time he looked out the window. I wanted to do that because it had been 36 years."
Glenn was always a hero to Lindsey because of his long list of accomplishments both in space and as a senator. Yet his admiration for Glenn grew because of his character.
"My youngest daughter, he would call her for several years after flight -- every year on her birthday," he said. "He would do things like that."
Their friendship extended beyond their time in orbit.
Lindsey remembers visiting Glenn at the U.S. Capitol.
“He starts walking, he's 77 at the time and I can't keep up with him he's walking so fast. We're going up those stairs, he's running up those stairs," he said. "He was so strong and so tough. I always kind of thought he's going to outlive me!"
Few of us ever get to meet our heroes. Lindsey did, and was fortunate to know his friend John Glenn was truly the real deal.
"It's sad, but I look back on his life and think, 'Wow, if I could live a life that, that would be pretty awesome," Lindsey said.