Rocky Versace will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic resistance of the enemy in Vietnam, a resistance and overt contempt that finally resulted in his murder. President Bush signed the enabling law on 28 Dec 2001, and we got the great news from Rocky's brother, Steve. He said, "This is the culmination of three years of very hard work on the part of many people: the Friends of Rocky Versace, the Special Forces Command, and the Class of 1959. To all of you who have worked so hard, God bless and the sincere thanks from a grateful family." The award ceremony will be at the White House on a date to be announced.
Versace Display Case: Faber, Besson and Welch.
Steve Versace plans to put Rocky's MOH in the memorabilia display case at the Captain Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center in Alexandria. The accompanying photo was taken by John Gurr as Mike Faber, de facto leader of the Friends of Rocky Versace, showed the case to Dick Welch and Frank Besson. Our class funded the display case, which was dedicated last 11 November; and dedication of the plaza and memorial is scheduled for 6 July 2002. The centerpiece of the plaza will be an eight foot statue of Rocky with two Vietnamese children. Rocky loved and did a lot for the kids in his District, and he had planned to return to Vietnam as a Maryknoll missionary. The man had a big heart.
Versace Plaza Under Construction: Welch, Faber, Gurr and Besson.
Howard & Eileen Stiles,
faithful contributors to our class notes, are still in Raymond, ME, and are
retired except for their tireless efforts to get the skiers among us together
(and some other things). If you are
a skier, and not on the ’59 skiers list, please contact them by email at email@example.com.
Next issue they promise notes and photos from the 23 Feb to 2 Mar class
ski trip for this year. But they
are into much more meaningful and rewarding outdoor stuff.
For 13 seasons Howard has been involved with Maine Handicapped Skiing,
and he is now working with a 14-year-old developmentally delayed young man; and
both he and Eileen are now helping with a new summer program of canoe and kayak
lessons and trips. In addition,
they are currently hosting an 11-year-old foster child who needs some stability
awaiting adoption. The class
admires you folks.
The Stileses had a wonderful
Elderhostel (!) trip to the Yucatan in November, and they enjoyed biking, hiking
and kayaking. Monk & Betsy Hilliard visited last summer, and they did some
sailing and some golf. And Eileen
recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Nursing
Practice by the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing Alumni
Association. Big congrats!
Tom & Karen Seybold are
fully retired in Reisterstown, MD, and enjoy traveling as much as the recent
lousy stock market will support. They’ve
recently done some national parks out West and some skiing in New England and
Canada. They have a small vacation
home in the Poconos they acquired in 1968, when Tom taught mechanics at WP, and
that has been one of his passionate interests for the last 33+ years.
He tries to stay healthy by playing tennis and working out.
Their third and youngest son, Matt, married last June.
Now all the kids are married, and they and the other two sons and all
five grandchildren are in the immediate area.
We are lucky, says Tom, and the rest of us agree.
Hugh & Pat Servis are in
Colorado Springs, and Hugh says he is “semi-retired,” a term I’ve heard
described as the period in which you work harder for less money. In Hugh’s case, he is doing surgery on “committed”
patients and convicts for the State of Colorado.
He had a minor heart attack two years ago, but he says he’s doing fine.
Pat is a volunteer for the Colorado Springs Visitor and Convention
Bureau. Eldest daughter is in
veterinary school at Colorado State, and the youngest is a social worker.
Hugh’s passionate interests are fly fishing (he saw Carl
Weaver in a fly fishing shop a year ago), skiing, camping, and flying.
He has a 1978 Rockwell single engine Commander.
This is a carryover, he says, from his years as an Army aviator.
Art Siciliano says he is retired from Pacific Bell and enjoying it. He and Denise live in Thousand Oaks, CA, and Art predictably likes good wine and drinks it responsibly, of course, he says. He is currently studying piano, a lifelong wish; and while he plays like a nine year old, he is loving it.
The usual suspects had an Army Navy Game party, this year at Powell & Joanne Hutton's house and backyard in Arlington, VA. The accompanying photo shows Powell passing the Beat Navy Apron to Frank Besson, who with Elaine will host next year's bash at their acreage west of Washington where they grow grapes and make wine. The picture is courtesy of Bill Turpin (that's why he's not in it) and includes Fitzgerald, Moellering, Weekley and McNerney. Wives were there, too.
John & Nancy Shock are in Little Rock, AR, where John is still working full time and planning to continue for a few more years. He is currently Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, director of the Jones Eye Institute, and Professor and Chairman of the Ophthalmology Department. He was recently elected president of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, the group consisting of academic chairs in opthalmology in the U.S. and Canada. He and his son have what John calls a small manufacturing business, and John enjoys golf. He and Nancy love to travel, and they were planning a trip to Australia and New Zealand in April. And I thought I was busy.
The Class Committee met at Frank Campbell's office in Springfield, VA, on 16 January, and much business was discussed that you will receive by other means. I was able to get the few pictures that accompany this piece, but I was unable to stay for drinks and dinner at Clyde's afterwards. Everyone had a great evening of business and fellowship.
Pete Dawkins will be the speaker for the Bicentennial Founder's Day Dinner this year at West Point in Washington Hall. Further, he is one of six to receive this year's Distinguished Graduate Award. Congratulations, Pete. We are used to saying that, aren't we?