Tim's June 2016Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! Living in the National Capital Region, I have noticed the prolonged winter chill and snow are lingering well into April. Consequently, one of the regional police departments put out the following all-points bulletin: "Concern for Missing Season: Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department are asking for the public's help to locate Spring. Spring was last seen leaving Maryland last year as Summer arrived. Spring had well-known plans to return to Maryland at this time this year but she has not yet been seen. The Montgomery County Police Department has checked with law enforcement agencies in other parts of the Country who have also not seen Spring this year. Spring is described as the time of year between Winter and Summer. She sometimes goes by the name of Springtime or Vernal Season. She is known to bring warmer temperatures with occasional April showers to help bring May flowers. Anyone with information about Spring's whereabouts is asked to immediately call the Montgomery County Police Department." If you find the missing season, please notify your local authorities.

"Valley of the Sun Mini-Reunion" L-R: Bill McKee, Mike Cryer, Dick Covey, Marty Cole, Pat Russell, Brian O'Hara, Bob Pohlman, Jack  Frost, Mike Langley, and Mark Torreano

'68ERS SEND GREETINGS FROM THE VALLEY OF THE SUN: Speaking of seeking warmer temperatures and finding the whereabouts of spring, Pat Russell wrote about a gathering of the '68 faithful in Phoenix, AZ last March. Apparently, Arizona holds special sway with some of our classmates when temperatures in the northern climes of the US dip below freezing. Pat writes, "Nita & I had a great time. Great to see everyone. Thanks to the Cole's, McCants' and Langley's for putting it together. A special thank you to Jack and Kitty Frost for hosting us overnight. Road trip down and back went very well." Special thanks from your Scribe to Mark Torreano for sending a photo of the '68 crew who joined in the revelry.

        "7th Squadron Mini-Reunion in Naples, FL" L-R: J & Lynn Ferron, Nancie and Michael Freeborn, and Roz and Mike Ellison.

'68ERS SEND GREETINGS FROM NAPLES: In March, Michael and Nancie Freeborn welcomed J and Lynn Ferron from Michigan and Mike and Roz Ellison from Seattle to their home in Naples, FL. A beach day on Marco Island was enjoyed by all. It was a great reunion weekend with many shared memories of USAFA and 7th Squadron. During the warmer months, the Freeborns reside in Lake Geneva, WI, but travel to their second home in Naples, FL when the thermometer readings head south. Michael is in his 44th year of practicing law in Chicago. Nancie retired from Special Ed in 2010. They have nine beautiful grandkids and enjoy traveling, especially with fellow classmates.

SOME 2016 REUNION DATES SET: In addition to serving as the keynote speaker for USAFA's Founders' Day dinner for the greater D.C. area on 23 April, Ed Eberhart and his lovely bride, Karen, will be hosting '68's 2016 East Coast Reunion at their home in Arlington, VA on 18 June. Festivities are scheduled to begin at 6:30PM. For classmates arriving from out-of-town who wish to attend the reunion and need a place to stay for the weekend, please send your lodging requests to me and I will work with our local '68 contingent to put a roof over your head and a bed to sleep on.

The Reese AFB UPT Class of 70-01 will be holding its 47-year reunion in Rapid City, SD from 22-24 September at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn. The itinerary includes visits to Mount Rushmore, Ellsworth AFB, Custer State Park, Spearfish Canyon, Lead, and Deadwood and a banquet on Saturday night. Those '68ers from the Reese UPT Class of 70-01 seeking further information about the reunion should contact Bob Daley or me.

"'68 Gathering to Remember Dan Hites" L-R: Kneeling: Jim Bettcher, Bob Denny, Ed Leonard, Gene Rose, Ben Stevens, and Scribe; Standing: Mike Burgamy, Denny Chrismer, Steve McPhail, Carl Janssen, Garry Dudley, Buzz Glade, Wendy Hites, Roger Moseley, Ted Wierzbanowski, Bud Templin, Doug Wilson, Bill Wood, Geo Roberts, Hank Moorman, Craig Baer, Bill Eckert, Gary Hoffman, Howie Towt, and Neal Starkey. Not pictured: Steve Staley, Skip Balazs, Vince Rusinak, Mike Parkinson, and Hartsel Beckett.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: Our class suffered another rough patch during the winter of 2016 with the death of Dan Hites in February and Ralph "Bobby" Ross in March. We were also saddened to learn recently about the loss of another classmate, Mike Sotak, who died in March of 2015.

Dan Hites died on 12 February 2016 at his home in Monument, CO. His funeral service was held on 22 February in USAFA's Protestant Chapel and was followed by his burial in the Academy's cemetery with his wife, Wendy, family members, friends, and many of his classmates in attendance. Roger and Marty Moseley and Carl Janssen provided much-appreciated assistance and comfort to Wendy during her time of need. Following Dan's burial, Carl and Debbie Janssen hosted a buffet lunch for those attending the funeral. The photo above was taken during that luncheon. Our sincere condolences go out to Wendy; Dan's and Wendy's families and friends; and his classmates who will miss his sharp wit and good sense of humor.

Bobby Ross passed away on 1 March 2016 at his home in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. He was a Falcon Scholar at Culver Military Academy before joining our class at USAFA. His funeral mass was held on 16 March at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Viera, FL and he was buried on 17 March in the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his mother, Mrs. Florence Ross; his brothers, Mike and Grant Ross; his life partner, Linda Kearney; and his nieces and nephews.

Mike Sotak passed away on 25 March 2015 in Council Bluffs, IA. A native of Tamaqua, PA, he spent 24 years in the Air Force. Following his military career, he worked for the State of Nebraska in the probation office. He received a military burial from the Offutt AFB Honor Guard at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Council Bluffs. Our sincere condolences go out to his wife, Jace; son, Michael; daughter, Lara Michelle; step-daughter, Cherie Ross; step-sons, Robert and Chad Cooper; and 16 grandchildren.

Finally, our prayers go out to Geoff Gorsuch, who, after losing his wife Diane to cancer in June 2015, was recently diagnosed as having an aggressive form of prostate cancer and began undergoing "cyber knife" radiation therapy in Denver in March to battle the disease. If you wish to contact Geoff to give him words of comfort and encouragement, his e-mail address is: Geoff@lifecoach.org. I am certain that he would love to hear from you.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: After seven decades on the planet, the actuarial tables indicate we are definitely on the downside of our life's journey. Please take a few moments to reflect on the blessings you have received and reach out to family, friends, and classmates to let them know you appreciate their presence in your lives.

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. Ciao for now. Tim

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