Stories• Two Peace Corps Volunteers Return to Panama (March 2002)
I was Ohio-born and raised -- born in Toledo, grew up there and in Lima, and went
to Miami University in Oxford.
In 1964, after college, I joined the Peace Corps went to Panama.
I was a Community Development Volunteer in the Barriada San Jose,
a new community outside of David in Chiriqui Province.
After Peace Corps I taught Spanish in Detroit and then took a job
with the U.S. Agency for International Development in South Vietnam.
I was in the Mekong Delta town of Ben Tre in Kien Hoa Province from 1967
to 1969. Ben Tre became famous as the town "we had to destroy it to save it."
I was there, it wasn't destroyed.
(Beth Buffam went to my Ben Tre in 2002 to deliver soccer
balls to a teen soccer team: www.arlingtonsoccer.com/bentre.html.)
After Vietnam, I got a masters at the University of Pittsburgh and
then rejoined USAID and went to Liberia. (Panama, Vietnam, Liberia --
who makes these choices?) I returned to the U.S. in 1972 deciding that
living overseas life was interesting but life was here. My wife Barbara
and I married in 1980 and are raising two children in Arlington, Virginia.
Our son is at the University of Richmond and our daughter is in her last
year of high school.
Bud Keith and I were both in Panama at the same, but never met.
We met 20 years later in Arlington, Virginia, when we formed the alumni
group for Peace Corps Panama volunteers.
Late in 2001, after years of talking about a trip to Panama, our
wives convinced us to make a trip in March 2002 -- 36 years after I
finished as a volunteer in Panama.