Tim's September 2007 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO '68!! Faithful denizens of Checkpoints Land: Your kind attention is called to NOTAM #2 about our upcoming 40th Reunion from 1-4 October 2008. Reunion headquarters will be the Embassy Suites and we will be playing Navy that weekend. To get the latest information, please check our class website at www.usafa68.org. If you have any questions or suggestions (e.g., class gift, social events, etc.), please forward them to: ablum68@hotmail.com.

East Coast Reunion - May07

"East Coasters Do Practice Reunion" L-R: Kneeling: Paul Flynn, Roger Sorensen, Rick Patterson, Jim Seevers, Bill Drennan, and Scribe. Standing: Charlie Seifert, John Gonda, Warren Lamont, Bruce Gerrity, Tom McDaniel, Ed Eberhart, Dave Prevost, Glenn Zauber, Dennis McLain, Lew Reed, and Bob Johnston.

EAST COAST REUNION: Not wanting to wait until our 40th reunion to practice social skills and test memories about which face goes with which classmate, Ed and Karen Eberhart graciously opened hearth and home to allow East Coast '68ers to get together for a refresher course in who's who. Discussions ranged from politics and the war in Iraq to plans to move to new homes, retirement, and Tom McDaniel's new book. As is our custom, a good time was had by all!

I received an e-mail from Manny Bettencourt saying that is doing physical therapy and exercises that are helping to relieve pain caused by osteoarthritis of the hip. As you may remember, Manny has been plagued by more than his fair share of health issues over the years and to find a treatment that seems to be working is a big deal! Wife, Kim, is working hard and wrestling with her mother's estate. News on the children, is as follows: son, Aria, is currently holding down two jobs and will be attending University of South Carolina in Beaufort in 2008; daughter, Nadia graduated as an honor roll student from high school and will be attending the University of South Carolina in Columbia in the fall; and daughter, Natasha, turned 16 in July, is on the honor roll and will be beginning 11th grade, cheerleading, and getting experience as a newly minted, licensed driver. In their spare time, Manny and family are helping to rebuild their community and church that was devastated by a hurricane storm surge five years ago.

Following the theme of digging out from Mother Nature's wrath, I received a first-time note from Doug Broussard who is living in Slidell, LA and working as an environmental engineer at the Northrop Grumman Ship System's Yard in New Orleans. Doug says that his office stands in front of the construction site of the USS New York (the bow section made from steel recycled from the World Trade Center) which should be launched sometime in 2008. After two years of rebuilding his house and replacing everything that he owned, Doug and wife, Patty, have pretty much recovered from the losses due to Katrina but noted that the eastern portion of New Orleans and the lower Ninth Ward sill look as though they were hit by a B-52 arc light strike. He and Patty both enjoy fishing and boating and welcome any who care to venture into Cajun Country for equal portions of speckled trout and cold beer.

Jim & Marcia Reese

Jim and Marcia Reese Down-Under

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED: After wondering what had become of Jim and Marcia Reese, their belated 2005 Christmas, 2006 Christmas, and 2007 Valentine's Day letter finally arrived. Over the past couple of years Jim and Marcia elected to take full advantage of Jim's airline benefits to see the world. In 2005, they spent a month touring Australia and New Zealand with friends and family. Their sight-seeing in Australia included visits to Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, and Alice Springs in the Outback. After Thanksgiving in 2006, they journeyed to Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India (a city of 16.4 million people) to attend a friend's wedding. Marcia noted that their stint in New Delhi while Jim was in the Air Force did not prepare them for the confusion in Mumbai where it took a concerted effort just to cross the street. As Marcia opined, "traffic lights and stop signs don't count for much, there!" Since their last major correspondence, son, Matt, got married, earned his BA in English, and has moved to Pueblo, CO, where he is a steel worker. Daughter, Katie, is still working in IT world in Sterling, VA and younger daughter, Beka, gave birth to her third child, Sawyer (a girl). All told, Jim and Marcia now have 10 grandchildren. It was great to hear that the Reese family is alive and well!

The Gerhart Family

"The Gerhardt Family in Front of the Mayon Active Volcano near Legazpi Airport in the Philippines" L to R: Clark, Nico, Maria, and Miguel.

As you wind your way along the road less traveled, you might run into another of '68's globe trotters, Clark Gerhardt and family. Forsaking the confines of San Francisco for the open skies of Hailey, ID upon retirement, Clark and wife, Maria, and sons Miguel and Nico appear to be enjoying their freedom. In March, they flew to the Philippines to visit Maria's family and stayed at a beach house for a couple of weeks. The time on the water included "snorkeling, SCUBA diving, swimming with 40-foot whale sharks, and sea kayaking into the nearby bat caves. Regarding the whale sharks, Clark noted, "It was disconcerting at first, but once you realize they won't eat you in the first few minutes, you begin to relax. If swimming with fish the size of submarines can be relaxing!"

For down time, Clark writes it was nice to enjoy the 85 degree, crystal, clear water; time with the extended family; massages; and San Miguel beer. He believed that some of you will remember at least a couple of those items from your time in the Philippines many years ago.

Given a range of retirement options, Clark said he is reverting to his old habits while he is still able: ice climbing in Ouray, CO; rock climbing at Red Rocks near Las Vegas; and hiking/climbing in Peru. While at home, Maria wins volunteer mother of the year with work at both of the boys' schools. Clark has also accepted the mantle of responsibility for his home turf as President of the regional Land Trust.

While pursuing travel plans of my own this summer, I had the opportunity to get together with some of our classmates in the Colorado Springs/Monument area in June. Many thanks go to Garry Dudley and Carl Janssen for setting up the evenings' activities. Photos will be included in the next column.

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 the class website to see photos included in this column in color and in full size. Ciao for now. Tim

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