Tim's September 2020 Checkpoints Class News Article

HELLO ’68!! For those who remember being sideways with the Commandant and having to spend a few weekends in your room with confinements, these health-related lockdowns are like confinements on steroids! As with the overwhelming majority of the country, I am ready to enjoy the spices of life, such as restaurants, movies, travel, sightseeing, shopping, live sports, and haircuts from my barber rather than untrained family members. Let's hope we can soon find some light at the end of this COVID-19 tunnel and get back to making the most of our precious golden years.

"To Infinity and Beyond!" Photo of Dick Covey from 30 Years Ago in his Astronaut Attire.

With the return of U.S. space vehicle launches from American soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle program ended, I asked our classmate Dick Covey about his thoughts on the May 30th SpaceX launch. Dick's wrote: "SpaceX's successful launch of the Crew Dragon will usher in America's next age of human access to space and space exploration. Within a year, Boeing should also begin launching American astronauts to the International Space Station, and, hopefully, within several years NASA will launch the next generation exploration vehicle, Orion, aboard the new Space Launch System that will be capable of returning Americans to the moon. We will see men and women on the moon, again, in our lifetimes, and it will be just as exciting as it was 50 years ago!" If you are interested in finding out more about Dick's last space shuttle mission (STS-38), insert Dick's name and STS-38 in your internet browser and enjoy reading about the history of this very important mission directly following the devastating loss of Challenger.

In the absence of current correspondence, I am reaching back to the virtual bounty of cards, letters, and photos from over the Christmas and New Year holidays to provide you with the "kind of latest news."

Bob and Thúy Johnston noted that 2019 was a major rebuilding year following the devastating flooding of their home from Hurricane Florence in 2018. Bob wrote, "(We) had the year nobody wanted, but have survived and prospered with the prayers and meaningful help of (family and friends) along the way. Thanks to all for your encouragement, meaningful assistance, patience, and support. Flooding of one's home is not for weak-kneed folks! . . . Nearly all expenses were out-of-pocket until federal loans FINALLY appeared. We lived in FEMA trailer in our own driveway. God blessed us throughout. We were surprised and gratified that a faithful young girl posted a prayer note on our front door that read, 'This home has been prayed for by Allie Johnson, Florence Presbyterian Church.'" Our prayers continue for Bob and Thúy for brighter and better days ahead.

"Pat and Rusty McBride at Home in Utah."

The next greeting is a "Mulligan" about Pat and Rusty McBride from my last column with a photo of them this time! Again, they wrote: "All is well in St. George, Utah as we continue to enjoy the northern reaches of the Mojave Desert. Traveling to cooler climes during the warm summer months of July and August is a must, but we love it here during the remainder of the year."

Another card and newsletter came from Jim and Carolyn Terry, who wrote, "Greetings from the Southwest! Time continues to fly, and again we look forward to hearing from friends near and far. . . . Jim continues to paint and is active in the New Mexico Watercolor Society. He was thrilled to get a watercolor painting accepted into the New Mexico Masterworks Exhibition in the spring (of 2019). The painting is called Andenes Havn, Norge and is based on a photo he took in northern Norway during an A-10 deployment from Alaska in 1984." Jim stays active with Daedalians, Quiet
Birdmen (a pilots' social organization), and monthly breakfasts with fellow USAFA grads in Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, Carolyn enjoys time with family and friends and is still playing mahjong once a week with her Jazzercise friends. She became an associate member of the Blue Star Mother's Organization and relaxes at home with reading, cross stitching, doing puzzles, and scrap booking.

Benny Veteto checked in with the following news: "Greetings to family and friends from the hills and lakes of Arkansas! You may have noticed the absence of a Christmas card last year. That was entirely the fault of the main Christmas card guy, Benny! I had an operation just before the holiday and did not feel like doing the effort. I'm up to par now, more-or-less, so we'll see if I get off my duff and get these things out." Jeanne and Benny motored over to North Carolina for a couple of months last summer to visit son, Jim, and attend the middle school graduation of grandson, Ian, Jim's still teaching at Western Carolina, writes articles, runs the farm, and manages a non-profit. Son, Steve, remains in Athens, Georgia and runs the renovation department that he set up for a local construction company.

"Ed and Karen Eberhart Back Home, Again, in Colorado"

Ed and Karen Eberhart sent their last Christmas card from Virginia and are now happily residing at 2882 Treeline View in Colorado Springs.

The next holiday greeting came from Maurice and Antonia Ecung, who wrote: "2019 has been a good year for us. It started off with the celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary in January, hosted by our daughters, Dr. Melanie Antonia (MD) (USAFA'01) and Major Allison Marie (USAFA '03). Renewed vows were exchanged in the Los Angeles' La Plaza Church. Then, led by a Mariachi band, we promenaded through vendors and tourist, down Historic Olvera Street, to the El Paseo Inn for the reception. We were blessed with dozens of friends and family in attendance (including USAFA '68 buddies, Tom and Kathi Taverney and Bill Brockett with his friend, Linda)." Other events included a sad visit to Buzz Glade's funeral at USAFA in May and a mini-family reunion in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Maurice remains active in the Porterville, California Rotary Club (with 24 years of perfect attendance), is on the Advisory Board of the Porterville Military Academy, and still writes, composes, and performs. His company, Success Valley Productions, has been able to do video documentaries on several famous entertainment industry professionals and historically significant individuals. Antonia is active with the American Association of University Women and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Porterville Military Academy.

Please pray for our nation. Remember our heritage as Americans, "Out of many, one." Please pray for classmates and family members who are suffering from disease or the loss of loved ones. We also need to pray for all who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. May God bless us all!

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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