West Cascade Peace Corps Association
About Us

ReConnections - April 2006

A monthly newsletter of The West Cascade Peace Corps Association in Oregon's Southern Willamette Valley

April 2006


April 2, Sunday 5:30 PM

Regular monthly meeting. Home of Beth Hunt, 2650 Cresta de Ruta, Eugene, Phone 342-7351.

April 12, Tuesday, 9-11 PM

Food for Lane County Fundraiser cleanup crew. Call Shannon or Michael if you can volunteer

April 19, 6 PM

Pub Night at the Vet's Club 1626 Willamette St, Eugene, Call Wayne if questions, 343-6596. Hoist a beer and a burger and toast peace. Celebrate the 45th Anniv. again and again.

May 9, Tuesday 6-8 PM

NOM (nomination) Party. Send new Peace Corps Volunteers off to service. Native American Long House on Campus. 1639 Columbia, near Law School. Potluck - give the new Volunteers tastes to remember.

June 4, Sunday, 5:30 PM

Regular monthly meeting at home of Howard Schuman, 3386 Chaucer Way, Eugene, 683-1663.

July 9, Sunday 2:30 PM

Barbeque at home of Wayne and Rolly Thompson, Fox Hollow Farms, 30781 Fox Hollow Rd, Eugne, continuing Celebration of 45th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. Enjoy the vista and pet a lamb.

August 4-6

RPCV Regional Campout
Dworshak Park, Orofino, Idaho
Meet other fellow RPCVs.
Have fun & commune with nature.

September 10, Sunday, 5:30 PM

Regular monthly meeting

Date to be Announced

Eugene Celebration. March in the parade and sit in West Cascade booth.

RPCVs and
Friends of the Peace Corps Join us!

Directions to 2560 Cresta de Ruta:

East on 18th to Agate
Right on Agate to 21st Street
Left on 21st to Fairmont
Right on Fairmont and follow to:
Stop sign, turn right on Spring Blvd
Wind up hill on Spring to stop sign at 5-way intersection
Turn extreme left on Madrona Dr., go up hill with a turn right
Right on Highland, past Woodland to Cresta de Ruta
Right turn to 2650 Cresta de Ruta
Watch for a bright yellow fire hydrant left of the driveway

Park only on the right side of the road. Call 342-7351 if you get lost.Contact other RPCVs to carpool or notify Beryl at 687-7095 to get a ride.

It's time . . .

Next Potluck meeting of West Cascade Peace Corps Association is: April 2, Sunday, 5:30 PM at the home of Beth Hunt (Chile). She and her husband John Allcott live at 2560 Cresta de Ruta in the beautiful hills of Eugene. Phone is 342-7351.

The program will center on the crisis in Darfur with the speakers Paul Jeffrey, Bill Roy and Roz Slovic - of the Lane County Darfur Coalition. They have recently returned from Darfur and can give a true picture of the situation there.

Set aside that date and join us for an informative and lively discussion on what can be done to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Bring along a potluck dish to share and enjoy the food and company of some of the best folks in the area.

Campus Recruiter

Sarah Schrock
Peace Corps Campus Representative
220 Hendricks Hall

Winter Office Hours
Mon/Wed 9:00-12:00
Thurs 10:00-12:00

West Cascade Peace Corps Association Board

President: Beryl Brinkman, Afghanistan (1967-69)
Phone 687-7095, brinkman@bigplanet.com
Vice President: Wayne Thompson, Peru (1964-66)
Phone 343-6596, wayne@foxhollowfiber.com
Treasurer: Lori Matthew, Benin (1994-96)
Phone 485-3622, pobeoueme@yahoo.com
Co-Secretaries: Shannon Micheel, Dominican Rep. (95-97) & Michael Kresko (Russia/Seychelles (95-97)
mjkresko@hotmail.com, smicheel@gmail.com

Board Members at Large
Moriah Hart, Moldova, (1999-2001)
Maggie Keenan, Philippines, (1987-90)
Phone 687-8454, Maggie@elaw.org
James Cloutier, Kenya, (1965-66)
Phone 342-3797, cloutierjames@yahoo.com
John Michael McLean, Thailand,(72-75)
Phone 687-2505 mclea@earthlink.net
Campus Recruiter: Sarah Schrock, Kenya (2000-02)
Phone 346-6026, pcorps@uoregon.edu
Past President: Pennie Moblo, Tonga (1971-73)
Phone 343-6443, penniem@aol.com

Newsletter: Beryl Brinkman, James Cloutiier, Marsha Partlow

Minutes from Board Meeting

By Michael Kresko, Co-Secretary

Held at the home of Beryl Brinkman on Sunday, March 19 at 10:30 AM. Beryl and Lori provided a tasty breakfast.

Members Present: Jim Beyer, Beryl Brinkman, Lori Matthew, Maggie Keenan, Michael Kresko, Penny Moblo, Wayne Thompson and Univ. of Oregon PC recruiter - Sarah Schrock.

(Members not present: Shannon Micheel - skiing, John McLean, James Cloutier)

Upcoming Events and Activities

The next RPCV meeting will be at the home of Beth Hunt (Chile) in the south hills on April 2. Car-pooling may be necessary due to limited parking. Wayne will put a meeting notice with contact number only in the Register Guard.

Chef's Night Out date is now Tuesday, April 11. Only a few more people are needed.

The Univ. of Oregon PC nomination (NOM) party will be held Tuesday, May 9 at the Univ. of Oregon's Longhouse. The West Cascade PCA will be joining in the celebration in order to mark the 45th anniversary of the US Peace Corps. This will be a potluck dinner. Sarah needs someone with a food card so food can be served at the event. Dorothy, Wayne and Lori formed a committee to assist Sarah with the event. Beryl will get addresses for invitations. Lori will stamp and mail. It was suggested that people be seated by regions.

Dorothy is to look into getting RPCV's fresh from Albania to speak at the June 4th general meeting.

BBQ to be held at Wayne and Rolly Thompson's place on July 8th from 2pm to 5pm. Each WCPCA member invites RPCV non-member.

The situation in Darfur needs more publicity. Wayne will look into setting up a meeting.

The third Wednesday of every month is now designated "pub night" for local RPCV's at the Vet's Club on Willamette at 6:30.


Beryl will be printing out labels for the directory. We are making some progress with our website. Vern sent a CD Rom. Elizabeth Wartluft offered help. We do hope to post newsletters and activity schedule on the website.

Funds/ Projects:

$6585.53 in the bank + $2000 in the Micro-enterprise/ Calvert fund

The account is accruing some charges for transactions due to lack of activity. Lori will look into this.

$299.30 was approved to support Eugene PCV Latham Wood's project in Anelcauhat, Aneityum, Vanuatu to provide 30 scientific calculators for Teruja Junior High School.

Activity Ideas

Survey RPCV population for their current interests and projects in order increase intercommunication and participation in WPCA

Lori mentioned that the 1st Wednesday of every month- Cajun Zydeco Dance at the World Cafe ­ 6 PM dinner and 7 PM dancing.

We should get more connected with local, active peace groups in the city- Wayne will contact Peace Works.

It was suggested by Wayne that WCPCA put on a symposium - "Peace as Policy" with speakers, dinner and music to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Peace Corps. Hosted in coordination with other local peace activist groups as a fundraiser for development program in a country to be determined.

45th Anniversary Peace Corps
Peace Corps still a shining light

By Gordon Radley

FORTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, on March 1, 1961, President Kennedy officially established the Peace Corps. He had first mentioned the idea of a "Peace Corps" during a campaign speech on the steps of the University of Michigan student union.

When he arrived, hours late, it was 2 a.m. and freezing cold. He was met by 10,000 students, chanting his name. Enthused by this welcome, in unprepared remarks, Kennedy challenged the assembled students to an undertaking of service: "How many of you are willing to spend several years of your life in Africa or Latin America or Asia working for the United States and for freedom?"

Within days, 800 students had signed up to serve. My sister was among the assembled students who heard Kennedy's challenge that freezing night in Ann Arbor. She was a sophomore and when she graduated in 1963, she became a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia.

In May 1961, soon after Kennedy established the Peace Corps, my brother was one of the first Americans selected to train for the Peace Corps. He was the first person to give his life in Peace Corps service. Along with another volunteer and 37 Colombians, he was killed in a plane crash in the Colombian Andes on Easter Sunday 1962.

Upon his death, Kennedy said: "It was the men and women like him who established the Peace Corps, demonstrated that it could work and stilled the critics who thought our nation was too soft." In 1968, when I graduated from college, I became a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi, Central Africa.

When I mention Peace Corps these days, the inevitable response is: "Is that still around? I hear nothing about it." Yes, Virginia, there is a Peace Corps. Since 1961 more than 182,000 Americans have served in 138 countries. Today, there are 7,810 volunteers serving in 75 countries; nearly 60 percent are women. It remains as successful and effective as ever, but is it thriving as it should? The budget of the Peace Corps is under $320 million, which is less than the budget for the military's marching bands. It is so small as to be a "rounding error" in the budget for the State Department.

President Bush has been on record as wanting to expand Peace Corps. In Congress, there are as many Republican as Democrats that are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. It remains a favorite on the Hill because it is so successful and cost-effective. Yet, in this era of fiscal belt tightening, each year Congress cuts the president's requested budget for the Peace Corps.

Now, more than ever, when America's primary outreach to the world is militarism, capitalism or globalization, we need to celebrate, honor and expand that part of the American zeitgeist that is represented by Peace Corps service. Peace Corps volunteers are not misguided or naive idealists.

They are not serving because of some missionary impulse to "do good." They have volunteered to go overseas because they are willing to live and work alongside others very different from themselves and because they know they will learn as much as they will help.

As anyone who has ever served in the Peace Corps will tell you, it is "the hardest job you'll ever love." Peace Corps volunteers serve quietly, without fanfare and with little recognition by our country. There are no parades for returning volunteers and there are no flag-draped coffins for the volunteers who have given their lives in Peace Corps service. While our leaders champion our democratic ideals, it is our Peace Corps volunteers who are "walking the walk" and showing the rest of the world that Americans can live and work alongside others, quietly, humbly and with an open heart.

When this year's budget comes up for approval, it is time for Congress to recognize the Peace Corps as the national priority it has become and give it the funding it needs and deserves.

Gordon Radley of Sausalito is a former president of Lucasfilm Ltd. He works with public and private companies in the entertainment and new media industries. Marin Independent Journal (San Rafael, CA)

(c) 2006 Marin Independent Journal. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

Ashland Volunteer gets the boot

From the March 2, 2006
Ashland, Oregon Daily Tidings
Editorial 2006

Strange saga with Peace Corps begs explanation

If there is a better way to prove those completely distrustful of the present administration correct, it is hard to fathom right now. Because the Peace Corps' decision to rescind an offer to send Ashland's Derek Volkart to Morocco smacks, on the surface anyway, of every allegation of autocratic dictatorial control made by folks since the stolen election of 2000.

Isn't this still America, where freedom of speech and the right of every voter to hold elected officials accountable serve as twin foundations to the tenets of our democracy? Have American leaders become so concerned about propaganda that a single Peace Corps volunteer, critical of the present Bush administration is a threat to our country's image? One would expect such tactics from behind the Iron Curtain of the 1970s, not America circa 2006.

Thomas Jefferson, the man who believed upheaval (he used the word "revolution") is necessary to keep democracy on track, is surely rolling over in his grave. Are we really to believe that one outspoken critic from Ashland is enough of a threat to warrant being removed from his Peace Corps assignment, just days before he is to leave for a two-year volunteer hitch overseas?

We know this is not as clear-cut as it seems on the surface. Many Peace Corps veterans will say you don't allow yourself to be quoted offering harsh criticism of American policy. Since our story ran, they have been critical of Mr. Volkart's comments. Peace Corps guidelines are quite specific about conduct while on assignment, but at least from the scant information we have gotten from the Peace Corps officials so far, the matter is less clear when it comes to actions prior to starting an assignment. Still, some would argue that Mr. Volkart was trying to stir the pot and got the comeuppance he was vying for.

Even so, the inconsistency of the official Peace Corps position is troubling at best, and knee-jerk extremism at worst. Mr. Volkart is deemed unfit to serve in Morocco, but instead offered another assignment on the Pacific Islands? If he's unfit, he's unfit. Are we less concerned about how Pacific Islanders view America than we are Moroccans?

Perhaps more of this story exists and the Peace Corps has a better explanation than what they are giving us to report. But, until we see such evidence, the entire strange saga smacks of a systemic problem throughout all things federal right now. This type of leadership has implications for all Americans...

We want to know more about this episode in the hope it tells us a little more about just how things are run back in Washington, D.C. The Ashland Daily Tidings has issued a request for all internal and external Peace Corps communication pertaining to the service, or lack thereof, of Derek Volkart. We want to see for ourselves why a critic of the Bush administration is not fit to proudly serve the United States of America on a mission of peace and environmental advocacy overseas.

(Update: Peace Corps has reassigned Volkert to Paraguay)

Speaker from Panama

E-LAW U.S. invites you to an evening with Kuna Indian lawyer Hector Huertas of Panama on Wednesday, April 26 at the Many Nations Longhouse (1630 Columbia St., behind the law school) on the U of O Campus.

Hector will speak about his life's work to empower indigenous communities in his country and his efforts at the United Nations to expand indigenous rights to land, traditional knowledge, and culture for all native peoples.

The time of this event will be announced soon. Please mark your calendars! For more information, call E-LAW U.S. Education Director Carolyn Sykora (Fiji '84 - '87) at 687-8454, ext. 14. and visit www.elaw.org.

Book by RPCV soon available

Best selling RPCV writer John Coyne has written a new novel: The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan that draws on Coyne's passion and knowledge of the game of golf, and his life long fascination with Hall of Fame golf professional Ben Hogan. The novel is published by St. Martins/Thomas Dunne books and will be out this spring.

Filled with dazzling description of hole-by-hole match play drama, laced with stories from that golden age of the sport, and glimpses of a secret love affair in the bedrooms of the vast clubhouse, The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan is a novel of friendship, great golf, and lost love.

Returning as an honored guest to the exclusive country club where he caddied as a boy, Jack Handley remembers the summer of 1946 when he carried Ben Hogan's bag in the last Chicago Open. Now a respected historian, he recounts, to the assembled sons and daughters of members he once knew, the dramatic match played between the mysterious and charismatic Hogan and the young pro he idealized, and of the love affair between the young home pro and the daughter of the club's president.

At the end of this magical summer, the club pro will win and lose at golf and love, and Coyne's young caddie will learn lessons for life taught to him by one of golf's finest gentlemen and players of the game, Ben Hogan.

John Coyne, editor of Living on the Edge, fiction by Peace Corps Writers, served as a secondary school English teacher in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 1962 to 1964 with the first group of PCV's to that country. After his tour he became an Associate Peace Corps Director (APCD) in Ethiopia.

West Cascade welcomes new and renewing members

David Berger, Jamaica, 92-94
Beryl Brinkman, 67-69
Mary Cheriel, Philippines, 64-65
Paul Day, India, 65-67
Dale Dow, Guatemala, 84-86
Vern Delk, Guatemala, 84-86
Robert Gundelach, Malaysia, 69-71
Julia Harvey, Tonga, 90-92
Mike Helm, Uganda, 67-69
Jack Honey, Russia, 00-02
Freeman Hudson, Brazil, 64-66
Elizabeth Hunt, Chile, 67-69
Larry Irvin, Uganda, 66-68
Jackson Kellogg, Kyrgystan, 01-03
Sarah Klinghamer, Turkey/Czech, 64-66, 91-93
Rebekah Lambert, Albania, 03-05
Richard Leach, Lesotho, 99-01
Jennie Lind, Jamaica, 92-94
Gail Lundeen, Lesotho, 99-02
Dolly Marshall, Ecudor, 82-84
Lori Matthew, Benin, 94-96
John McLean, Thailand, 72-75
Robert Merrigan, Liberia, 69-71
Bill Mitchell, Ethiopia, 65-67
Penny Moblo, Tonga, 71-93
Michael Mooser, Columbia, 68-70
John Moriarty, Chile, 91-94
Jerry & Vivian Nash, Dominican Republic, 89-91
Don Nordin, India, 67-69
Josh Priollaud, Kyrgyrstan, 03-05
Sylvia Shaw, Lithuania, 99-00
Dorothy Soper, Ghana, 63-95
Artis Mary Spriggs, Afghanistan, 67-69
Heather Sutter, Burkina Faso, 03-05
Marsha & Ed Swartz, Uganda, 64-66
Ellen Syversen, Niger, 89-91
Rolly & Wayne Thompson, Peru, 64-66
Pat Wand, Colombia, 63-65
Elizabeth Wartluft, Morocco, 89-90
Ann Marie Watkins,Jamaica, 94-96
Michael Wells, Western Samoa, 67-69
Donald Wertheimer, Chile, 65-67

Join us at the next Pub Night, April 19 at The Vet's Club, 1626 Willamette St, Eugene. 6 PM. We will do this each third Wednesday of the month.