Tim's June 2011Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! Attention in the Area! Hey you Baby Boomers! Time to stop thinking about yesteryear's fabled times at the stag bar and amble, as you are able, with your new bionic hips and surgically replaced joints to your nearest Social Security office to sign up for Medicare. Can we really be that old?! And our spouses, significant others, children, and grandchildren collectively reply: "You betcha Senior Citizen!" Cue music fade-in with the Four Preps singing, "I was a big man yesterday, but boy you ought to see me now."

Checkpoints Editor Tom Kroboth and Class Scribe

'68 SALUTE TO CHECKPOINTS EDITOR: As many classmates have mentioned over the years, our class column in Checkpoints has been a touchstone for latest class news, accomplishments, and days in the lives of very dear friends. It has provided a kind of glue that has bonded us together virtually, even though we may have been on opposite sides of the globe when we read about each others' exploits. The gentleman at the helm, who massages our individual class columns into coherent articles for this award winning publication, is Tom Kroboth. Tom spent his early years flying KC-135 tankers and has been at USAFA editing this lifeline to all Academy classes during both Mark Torreano's and my tenure as your humble Class Scribes. So, after more than three decades of stellar service, it is my honor to send Tom a very sincere '68 salute and our heartfelt gratitude for a job well done.

As mentioned in my winter column, Ed Eberhart was named one of the two USAFA Distinguished Graduates for 2010. Several of the usual suspects from our gang mustered at our alma mater for the Founders' Day banquet on 1 April and the parade on 2 April. To put the veritable icing-on-the-cake, we executed a successful rejoin at Carl and Debbie Janssen's beautiful home in Monument after the parade to complete an outstanding weekend of festivities filled with tales of '68 lore and legend.

During his banquet acceptance speech, Ed paid tribute to the Academy for the manifold opportunities it afforded him throughout his military and civilian careers and noted he was humbled by the significant recognition and honor. He then expressed sincere gratitude to the Class of 1968 for its faithfulness to our nation and the camaraderie we genuinely share with one another. I believe it is fair to say we could not have been more proud of our stellar classmate and friend!

'68ers At Founders' Day Banquet. L-R: Standing: Gene Rose, Gary Vasek, Al Blumberg, Bill Eckert, Dick Mosbach, Doug Wilson, Pat McBride, Bob Denny, Steve Staley, Bill Maywhort and Tim Davidson; Sitting: Pat Russell, Frank Palermo, Rhip Worrell, Ed Leonard, Ed Eberhart, Steve Polk, Sam Bole, Steve McPhail, Bill Bowman and Tom O'Beirne. Not pictured: Mike "Fitzer" Fitzgerald.

By the time we arrived at Carl and Debbie's abode, those who had been to the parade were easily recognizable by their sunburned faces and noggins. The co-host and sergeant-at-arms, Garry Dudley, greeted us at the door with his effervescent smile and manly handshake. In passing he noted "Torreano does not have a snow balls' chance to beat me in the hand-stand competition at our 45th reunion." (Scribe Note: And from Hawaii you could almost hear a "DeNiro-esque" reply from Mark in his best "Brooklynese," You talkin' to me, Dudley?! )

Another sound bite from our gathering included the very successful January release of a new best-selling book authored by Steve and Connie Staley titled FOCUS on College and Career Success. The book, several years in the making, instructs college students how to succeed in college and their future careers by using tools, audio visual exercises, and techniques that Steve and Connie have honed over their decades of experience in Academia. Congrats to Drs. Staley for their most recent contribution and life-long dedication to educating our nation's college students.

While schmoozing around the living room, your Scribe caught up with Mike Parkinson. Mike and his wife, Marie, retired and moved their Beechcraft Debonair (and themselves) to Colorado Springs in September of 2010.

Mike and Marie were married the day of graduation and have since moved twelve times. They completed second careers as academics after a stint practicing law together in Illinois. Their law practice included family law and both criminal law and prosecution. Their teaching experience ranges from teaching Illinois prison inmates legal research to advising Ph.D. candidates.

Both were on the faculty at Texas Tech, where Marie had a joint appointment teaching government courses for the Political Science Department and communications law for the College of Mass Communications. Mike had a dual appointment as associate dean for graduate studies and associate dean for faculty in the College of Mass Communications.

Since moving to Colorado Springs the Parkinsons have enjoyed connecting with classmates living in the area. Mike is a Founding Director of the Academy Endowment and does volunteer teaching for Cadet seminars. Marie says she is developing the fine art of "doing nothing."

Throughout the two days of get-togethers, Pat Russell and I snapped a slew of photos which may be found in full size and living color at our class website by clicking on "Reunions." Please take a few minutes to check them out!

Mike and Marie Parkinson on Retirement Day 2010

EAST COAST REUNION DATE SET: For those classmates and guests who are in the greater Washington, D.C. area on 14 June, please accept a cordial invitation to attend the 2011 East Coast Reunion at Ed and Karen Eberhart's home at 3444 Roberts Lane in North Arlington, Virginia beginning at 6:30PM. Should out-of-towners need a place to stay, please contact your Scribe for classmate lodging arrangements at your earliest convenience. Finally, RSVPs are requested by Ed and Karen by 7 June for planning purposes.

REESE AFB CLASS OF 70-01 REUNION UPDATE: At last count, 34 of 50 living UPT graduates from Reese's Class of 70-01 and their guests are signed up to attend the upcoming reunion at the San Diego Embassy Suites Downtown Hotel from 13-16 October. If you plan to attend but have not registered your attendance, please contact Bob Daley or me.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: It is my sad duty to note the passing of our classmate Dr. Greg Varhall on 15 April from complications following a trip to the Pacific Rim three weeks earlier with his wife, Brigadier General Linda Urrutia-Varhall. Greg's life was honored and celebrated at the Old Post Chapel, Ft. Meyer, on April 26. He was laid to rest, per his wishes, at the Air Force Academy on 10 May. Our sincere condolences go out to Linda and the Varhall family.

THAT'S A WRAP: Mind the flak; keep 'em flying, and keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and photos coming in to Pat Russell and me. Please go to our Class Website to see photos included in this column in full size by clicking on Scribe's Page. Ciao for now. Tim

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