719 S. Alfred St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
I hope this set of notes finds all of you well.
I received an email from Katherine Wise, the editor of this esteemed publication, letting me know that she had found an article about our Brother Rat, Doug Dillon, in the Washington Post. Doug was featured because he had just received the 2004 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award for Loudoun County, for the exceptional work he does at Harper Park Middle School. He spent last year deployed in Afghanistan, but kept teaching his students by sending photos and details about his experiences. Today he is back in the classroom using creative ways to keep his students interested and engaged.
I had a quick note from Luis del Valle, who is back in Miami these days. He said that he’d been in touch with Todd Belckiki who now lives in Stuart, FL. One of my fondest stories about Todd is when he was on stage at the Seville Quarter in Pensacola lip-synching to REM’s “I am, I am, I am Superman, and I can do anything” (although someone had the band change the lyrics to mention Todd by name). Oh, those were the days.
Andy “Screw” Conville and I have had a few chats on Instant Messenger, as he’s telling me what it’s like to have a 4th child in the house. Jordan Elizabeth was born in February ’04, and is keeping the whole household quite busy.
I’ve gotten a few emails and a picture from Mark Hennigan who is a company commander in Kuwait right now. He’s serving with MAJ Dave Barker ’88, and he shot me an email address for Glen Barr who has been doing work there as a contractor.
Recently I ran into Garrett Peck who lives less than a block from my office. Garrett has been working as a consultant for MCI for the last couple of years, and was writing his 3rd screenplay when I bumped into him. He was getting ready to start looking for a production house for his work. I’ve been thinking about a second career, so maybe I should start positioning myself for an on-screen role down the road.
Steve Vasquez shot me a note from Ft. Lauderdale, where his home-based business is flourishing. He’s engaged and his fiancée is finishing up medical school. Steve stopped by Andy Sewell’s business in Alpharetta and caught up with what was new there. He said that it looked like Andy and his brother were keeping pretty busy, as their father has retired and is letting them run things these days.
At long last, I received an update from my roommate Chris Dixon. He is in Iraq and here are some excerpts from his email to me:
“I just ran into Maj. John Piedmont '89 the other day. He's a Marine Corps Reservist, activated in support of the Marine Corps Historical Division, serving as a Field Historian. He collects oral interviews soon after events occur to save for the USMC record. Some years down the road some historian will do the detailed research to write the official USMC history.
I'm here with our Brother Rat Maj. Todd Eckloff who is the XO for 1st Recon Battalion. I'm the XO of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines. Our S-2A is Lt Jack Dempsey '01.
Prior to leaving Camp Lejeune, which seems ages ago, I ran into Maj. Matt St Clair '89 and Lt. Col. Steve Neary '88. Both are serving with the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism) in Camp Lejeune. Lt. Col. Neary is due to command a Battalion sometime soon. Being a small world and smaller Marine Corps, Matt St Clair is now the Task Force Commander out in Kabul, Afghanistan, which is the job I had prior to coming to Iraq. I deployed there December 2002 to May 2003. A couple of cycles of Task Forces later and now Matt is there.
Speaking of a small world, while preparing in California for Iraq, I met an Army Special Forces Major. We were talking and he mentioned his Operations Officer's name, Maj Rob Greenway. Apparently, Rob is a hard-charging Green Beret. Of course, I didn't miss the chance to pass on a few Echo Company Rat Line stories about Rob to his Commanding Officer over a few beers in Camp Pendleton. I'm sure Rob will attempt to kill me somewhere down the road.
Hopefully at some point I will be able to catch my breath and spend some time hanging out with my wife, Erin and our two kids, Brendan (age 9) and Kailey (age 8) who are still at Camp Lejeune, NC. My brother-in-law and Brother Rat Kevin Cavanaugh has recently transitioned from his Superintendent's job at some high falutin' golf course in Florida to a new business involving golf courses. He's very successful and we occasionally get to see each other (when I'm home). He lives there with his wife, Melanie and their kids.”
Hunter here again. Andy Kvasnicka was in touch this week. He works with the Virginia State Corporation Commission during the week, and is a volunteer cop with Prince George County on weekends. He sent me a photo of his 4 year-old, Bain, who loves riding his motorcycle. Andy let me know that Tom Cotman is living in Hampton, and that Rodney Edwards is currently at Quantico. He runs into Mark Cunningham, Chinh Vu, and Pat O'Leary in downtown Richmond sometimes (I’m glad to know that O’Leary escaped from Northern Virginia!).
I’ve chatted with Kevin Handford a few times recently, and he sent me an update. He’s been married for six years to Jennifer, and they have two daughters, Gabriella and Brianna - both age 2 and 1/2. Gabby is their birth daughter and Brianna was adopted from China when she was 14 months old. Coincidentally, the girls are only 3 weeks apart in age. The Handford’s live in Warrenton, VA, where they own an asset management firm dealing with high net-worth individuals. Hopefully someday Kevin will have a good contingent of clients from the class of ’90.
Charles Plageman sent me a note that he’s broken from the corporate world and bought a sign company in Ashland, VA last summer. He’s said that it’s a lot of fun and very fulfilling. Charles and his wife Jill and have two girls (Livvy - 5 1/2 and Susanna 3 1/2), who like to go to VMI, but some serious discussion will occur if either chooses to matriculate. Charles keeps up with a number of folks in his area. He sees or talks to Buddy Garbett almost daily, and was getting together with Sam Stocks shortly after he emailed me. He let me know that Paul Holland recently moved to Alpharetta, GA for his job.
I just had a long chat with Greg Hatchett, who’s been living up in Bowie, MD since 1995. It was great to catch up with Greg, and discuss the challenges of balancing time for work, family, and yourself. He and his wife have 2 kids (Maya - 6, and Justin - 4), who keep them both pretty busy. Greg’s working at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the Materials Office, helping figure out how to manage both US and foreign nuclear materials around the world. How’s that for another VMI guy helping to make the world a better place? Greg let me know that Garrett Thompson was deployed to Kuwait back in January of ’04 for a year, and that his wife Tracey is helping to keep their business going down in Roanoke.
And just under the wire for making this set of Class Notes, I received an email from Paul Hartigan that his wife, Lois, gave birth to Kelly Ann a few weeks early. The Hartigan family could not be happier.
Thanks for your support gents, hope to hear from you soon!
R. Hunter Trumbo ‘90
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Last Updated: October 22, 2009
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