Remembering Calhoun

(11/26/2004)

Dear Bob,

I am sometimes teased about sitting down at my desk at Naval Special Warfare Operational Support Team and the first things I do is get on the computer and read the Times West Virginian and Hur Herald online.

But now the Senior Chief Petty Officer (from Boston, MA) has the Hurherald on his favorites.

The fall pictures of Calhoun make me homesick to the point that I usually schedule a week long trip out of the Hampton Roads area and back to West Virginia. There's nothing great about being tunnel locked. And, your website reminds when it's time for the Molasses Festival. Yes, I still try to make the Molasses Festival. I thought I would get to the Wood Festival once in a while but it seems the first of the month is taken by "operational commitments."

From 1985 - 1988, I was the Itinerant Instrumental Music Teacher in Calhoun County. It was a challenge establishing the elementary instrumental music program and curriculum; but, it was a highlight of my life.

It is funny how fate plays into life's patterns and how I wound up in Calhoun. It is funny that Ron Blankenship and Bob Bonar interviewed me at an interview seminar when I was a Senior at Glenville State.

More than that, It is funny that Major Blankenship signed my oath of enlistment into the Naval Reserve when I was recruited to the Parkersburg Navy Reserve Center.

And fate stepped in when the Board cut mileage pay for the itinerant position and the Navy Detailer called Calhoun High School the next morning to offer an instructor's position in Jacksonville, FL.

At that time I was driving to Pleasant Hill and Brooksville on Monday and Wednesday; driving to Minnora and Arnoldsburg on Tuesday and Thursday; and, at the High School and Board Office on Friday. It was a heck of a schedule but working with all of the Principals and especially Jack Downs, Charlie Miller and Gordon Allen was memorable.

The greatest pain of leaving Calhoun County was leaving the students. Before moving the family to Jacksonville I went with the band to the Wirt County game. Jack and Charlie dedicated the halftime show to me and whether the kids did everything perfect or not, it was something that has stayed with me to this day.

In my military career, I have had the responsibility of working and directing many different types of operations. Even though I have not been commissioned or even senior enlisted, I have been in some unique positions.

When the times get tough with long nights at the office or assignments piled high, I stop and think of teaching in West Virginia. It is not in a bad light but I realize that with training just about anyone can do the job that I do in the military.

They sometimes complain about the situation, but when I see them they are still in there fighting the good fight. And they will be there doing what they can until they retire.

This e-mail is an opportunity to thank you for keeping the website up and keeping those of us outside the area informed. Most people thank us for serving our country, but we couldn't keep focused on the mission at hand if not for the folks at home.

When the days get tough, we have to be reminded ultimately why we chose to do this job. And it's a break in the rat race, to find out that Calhoun County still has a Band that is performing, the football team had a pretty good season.

Thanks again,

Dave "Mickey" McDonald