Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Heavener goes international

Not long ago, I wrote a blog about the friends I had seen while I was in Vietnam. Well, there are Heavenerites all over the world.

From merry old England to South America to the Tonga and places in between.

Roger Cagle, a classmate of mine in the class of 1965, is in London, where he is Executive VP Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer of SOCO International plc (whew, that’s a mouthful, even if I am typing it). Roger has over 30 years experience in the oil and gas industry and previously worked in Houston.

That’s where I visited him once when I was in Houston. He lived in the Kingwood area, and also now has a home in California at Pismo Beach, about 70 miles north of Santa Barbara.

Needless to say, Roger is doing quite well for himself.

Another of my classmates, David Hinds, plans to move to Chile, South America as a missionary. He and his wife Linda have accepted a 36-month assignment with the SBC International Missions Board working as a Church Planting team among the Maupuche Indians of Southern Chile.

They are reporting to the International Learning Center in Rockville, VA, near Richmond, VA, on August 4 for eight weeks of Field Personnel Orientation. From there, they go to language school in Guatemala for six months. They are looking at being on the field in Chile about April 2009.

Duane Mead, class of ’63, has lived one of the most interesting lives of anyone in Heavener. He has been in Tonga for years and years, first going for the Peace Corps, and then staying to live there. For the last 20 years he has lived in Vava’u, the main island in the northern islands of the Kingdom of Tonga. Tonga is directly south of Hawaii, about 1500 miles north of New Zealand.

Duane felt an obligation to join the military during the Vietnam war but couldn’t get in due to a shoulder injury he suffered playing football for the Heavener Wolves. He joined the Peace Corps and with a degree in marine biology, was sent to Samoa, in the south Pacific. His job was to travel to many, many islands to teach the islanders how to fish effectively outside the reefs.

Long story short, Duane is now a fishing guide. Tuff life, huh?

Really, he takes people out to fish on his boat -- the Dora Malia (named after his mother and daughter). Not just any fish, either. For the really, really big fish (see photo above), such as marlin, yellowfin and mahi-mahi. You only hear about people catching those kind of fish on ESPN’s Sports Center, or something.

Sport fishing, it’s not quite like fishing for a big bass or a big catfish.

There are other Heavenerites, too.

Allen Rockwell, class of ’69, is in the oil business, too, as an engineer for Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia.

And Stanley Caldwell, class of ’77, is a school administrator in Germany. Stanley graduated from Talihina but got his start in Heavener schools. Stanley has been living overseas for over 20 years in such places as Okinawa, and Yokosuka, both in Japan, and Alconbury, near Cambridge in the UK, about an hour from London. All teaching has been for the DoDDS (Department of Defense Dependents Schools). He said recently in an email that "the greatest part of my job is getting to work with the children of military families".

He recently moved to Ramstein (Germany) as principal of the intermediate school. He said , “I’m sort of amazed sometimes that I have lived out of the U.S. for 23 years, but I’m still an Okie at heart.”

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