Summary: I enlisted army infantry at 19 to fight in Vietnam. I rose through the ranks to leave active duty as a Captain. I married my wife Jacqueline, a resident of Columbus, Georgia, at the age of 22 and, we can happily say that we have been married for 48 years. We had one boy and one girl. They are both now married and have given us five grandchildren. After leaving active duty both myself and my wife became teachers. I taught for 37 years here in the United States as well as working for 27 years for the Department of Defense School in Panama, Bahrain, Japan and England. I have three degrees and have worked in the classroom, at the school level and at the district level. My experiences are far ranging from have given testimony to a US House Subcommittee on teacher issues, to starting a non-profit for kids working to save the rain forest, and, with my students, writing a small book on the experiences of children in a combat zone. This related to American children living through the U.S. invasion of Panama.
Biography in more detail: I was a military brat and traveled the world both with my parents and with my wife and our children. I enlisted in the army at 19 and went to Officer Candidate School, Ranger School, and Jungle Warfare school and then was deployed to Vietnam serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and commanding the 39th Scout Dogs. I then served in the Army Reserves for the 397th Engineer Battalion. While in the reserves, I served both on the battalion staff and as a Company Commander. Enlisting as a private I rose to the rank of Captain.
My wife and I both became teachers and served our nation’s military families by spending 27 years in the Department of Defense school system teaching in Ft. Benning and four foreign countries: Bahrain (Middle East), Panama, Japan and England. We have two children and four grandchildren with a fifth due in June. While we have lived and traveled over much of the globe, our roots are here in this area. My wife grew up in Columbus, GA and it is there that we met when I was a young officer preparing to deploy to Vietnam. While I was teaching at Ft. Benning, our kids went to high school in the area. When we were looking to retire, we were living in England and could have moved anywhere. After careful consideration we moved back here, close to family to a beautiful place on the Chattahoochee River. A long time ago, I used to be a hog farmer and so no one should be surprised that we also bought a small farm north of Lafayette.
After settling into retired life, we saw around us what a poor job our legislators were doing in serving the people. My entire family was always oriented to community service and so no one who knows me was surprised when I made the decision to run for public office. The people of Alabama are equal to or better than those in other states. The resources of Alabama are equal to or better than those of other states. Despite that, Alabama's government has managed to put it near the bottom of the list when comparing states one to the other. I ask you how is it that our politicians have managed to so poorly meet the needs of it citizens. I plan to work to correct this injustice.
I have three degrees in Education to include a Bachelors, Masters, and Specialist degrees. Our son’s family lives in Japan where he works for the US Navy. Our daughter’s family lives in Panama City Beach, FL where she works as a CPA while her husband is going to school. I am a member of NARFE or the National Active and Retired Federal Employees. I am also a member of the National Education Association-Retired and of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 5228. We are members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Opelika and an interdenominational bible study that meets at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. I have been a businessman, home builder, construction worker, dog trainer, hunter, fisherman, hog farmer, camper, hiker and general outdoors man. During my military service my two highest awards were the CIB (Combat Infantry Badge) and the Bronze Star. In education, I won numerous monetary rewards for excellence. During the invasion to take out General Manual Noriega, my students wrote a book about the invasion from a child’s perspective titled, “Just Cause.” I am currently writing a small religious booklet titled, “What my dog taught me about God.” As you can see, I've tried my hand at many things, in large part because of my genuine interest in people and life.
I have spent my life serving this country and I cannot accept what I see happening in Alabama. We have great people and our people deserve better. My training as an infantry army officer and a commander taught me "Leave No Man Behind." My training as a teacher and the years in the classroom taught me to “Leave no child behind.” The politicians in Alabama have left everyone behind. We are near the bottom in almost every measurable area to include health care, education and economic opportunities. Our state and its people are no different than the people in other states. We are at the bottom compared to other states because our politicians made poor decisions that have hurt rather than helped its people. But this is still a Democracy. If we as a people do not like our representatives we can and should vote them out and get someone in with new ideas and a desire to turn this state around.
I strongly believe our political system has become polluted by too much money, too much lying, too much hate, not enough honesty, not enough dedication to service, not enough looking out for the common good, not enough looking out for our community. President Kennedy once said, “My fellow Americans, ask not your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Too many of our politicians in Washington, D.C. and.Montgomery seem to be asking, “What’s in it for me?” We need change and we need it now.
Editor's Note: Please indulge me. If you have scrolled all the way down to this point, I have squirreled away one of my favorite pictures. This was take after a very tiring two year old's Easter Egg hunt. Life might be tough but you don't want to let go of that Easter bunny.