Ethiopia’s First Peace Corps Staff, Part Seven (Final)

Don Romine

Born in Castleton, Va., Don Romine was raised at the base of the Blue Ridge. He attended Winchester Business College while working summers as a carpenter’s helper in Culpeper. For two and a half years, beginning in January, 1954, he ran a farm in Castleton.

After working as a stock clerk for the Merrill Motor Company in Washington, Va., he joined the government as a clerk for the National Security Council. In March, 1961, he became a statistical clerk for the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. He was enthusiastic enough about the Peace Corps to take a drop of two civil service grades in order to get into the Washington staff, which he did on August 23, 1961. Two months later, he became an administrative aide to Bill Moyers, then Associate Director for Public Affairs. In this role, he was named supervisor of all Peace Corps publications, a job he held from February, 1962, until his departure for Ethiopia.

David Schimmel

Born and raised in Baltimore, David Schimmel won the Maryland inter-scholastic tennis championships in his last year in high school. His tennis abilities left him undecided as to where he wanted to go to college—“Harvard for academics and at the other end of the East Coast, Miami for tennis, so I compromised and went to Duke.”

He was captain of the tennis team in his senior years as well as winner of the most valuable player award for going undefeated in 17 matches.

After taking his degree in political science in 1955, he went to Oxford for a summer of academics and tennis before entering Yale Law School. Before receiving his degree in 1958, he won the National Legal Essay Contest on the subject, “Law and Disarmament,” while allowing law to kill his tennis.

He passed the Maryland bar and entered his father’s firm in Baltimore before he decided to engage in a full range of religious education as an avocation. He entered Hebrew Union College for a year’s study in New York and another on the Los Angeles campus before earning his degree as a Bachelor of Hebrew Letters.

His interest in the Peace Corps was aroused when he helped Senator Hubert Humphrey prepare his first proposals on the subject in 1960, so that when he finally came to the Peace Corps in the Fall 1962, he said he “felt I had already been working for the organization a long time.”

David passed away in May 2018 and an obituary in the Amherst College website stated that he and Harris Wofford “came up with the idea for the Peace Corps, and Humphrey promoted it during the 1960 presidential campaign until John F. Kennedy defeated him in the West Virginia primary, after which Kennedy took the idea as his own.”

That is not true!

The idea for a “peace corps” had been in the air for years before Kennedy’s expressed the concept on the Michigan campus, and named it “Peace Corps” for the first time in his Cow Palace speech days before the election. 

Henry Scott left an academic career in the field of biology to take up his duties in Ethiopia. Born and raised in Saint Louis he spent his graduate and undergraduates days at Stanford University where he received his M.A. in 1951.

His first teaching assignment was at Sequoia Union High School in Redwood City. From there he became an associate professor of biology at San Francisco State Collee until 1961 when he took a leave of absence to complete his doctoral work at Stanford under the sponsorship of a Danforth Foundation Fellowship.

He came into the Peace Corps with the encouragement of Franklin Williams who was the Chief of the Division of Private Organization and the former director of the San Francisco NAACP’s Region Office and a friend of Scott.

As escort officer for 141 Volunteers, Andrew J. Bell landed in Addis Ababa with secondary school teachers, university instructors and health workers, the second group of PCVs to Ethiopia.

Born and raised in Providence, he received his B.A. from Providence College and his M.A. from Boston College—both in economics. He spent two years in the Army Air Force and one year with Crossroads Africa which took him to Nyasaland, Kenya and Rhodesia.

He came to the Peace Corps from the Investment Department of the Industrial National Bank of Providence where he had been working as a financial analyst since 1961.

Bell was stationed in Asmara when Bill Canby, who had opened the Asmara office, went to Addis Ababa to become Deputy Director under Wofford.

End of series on the First Staff to Ethiopia.

Research Document: Who’s Who in the Peace Corps Overseas Administration (1963)

 

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