Profile in Citizenship

1
The Volunteer Who Went on to Become the Solicitor General of the United States — Drew Day (Honduras)
2
The Volunteer Who Initiated Critical National Discussions — Charles Murray (Thailand)
3
The Volunteer Who is One of the Most Thought-provoking Analysts of Our Time — George Packer (Togo)
4
The Volunteer Who Lived Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Dennis Grubb (Colombia)
5
The Volunteer Who Became the Co-founder and CEO of Netflix — Reed Hastings (Swaziland)
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The Volunteer Who as a Superior Court Judge Threw Out California’s Lethal Injection Procedure — Faye Hooker D’Opal (Colombia)
7
The Volunteer Who Built a Railroad to the Sky — Jay Hersch (Colombia)
8
The Volunteer Who Was Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize — Chic Dambach (Colombia)
9
The Volunteer Who Was at the Epicenter of Contemporary National Events — Ben Bradlee, Jr. (Afghanistan)
10
The Volunteer Exemplar for the Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Pat Wand (Colombia)
11
The Volunteer Who Became “One of the Most Influential Observers of American Politics”*— Chris Matthews (Swaziland)
12
The Volunteer Who Was a Pioneer in the Peaceful and Practical Uses of Outer Space — T. Stephen Cheston (Colombia)
13
The Volunteer who became the founding Director of the National Afro-American Museum and Culture Center — Dr. John Fleming (Malawi)
14
The Volunteer who was Chairman of the Chicago Bears — Mike McCaskey (Ethiopia)
15
The Volunteer Who Had a Life-changing Lunch in Thailand — Paul Strasburg (Thailand)

The Volunteer Who Went on to Become the Solicitor General of the United States — Drew Day (Honduras)

   by Jeremiah Norris  (Colombia, 1963-65) • After graduation from Hamilton College cum laude in 1963, with an A. B. in English literature, Drew S. Days III, inspired by the civil rights leaders of that time, then went on to earn a law degree from Yale in 1966. He briefly practiced law in Chicago before serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras from 1967 to 1969. Returning to the U. S. in 1969, Drew became the first assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York City. He worked there for eight years, litigating a range of civil rights cases. He was admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, and in the states of Illinois and New York. In 1977, then-President Jimmy Carter nominated Drew to serve as the Assistant General for Civil Rights in the Department of Justice. His tenure was . . .

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The Volunteer Who Initiated Critical National Discussions — Charles Murray (Thailand)

by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Charles Murray served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Thailand, beginning in 1965, then stayed abroad for six years. He credits his time in Peace Corps with his lifelong interest in Asia. His tenure with the Peace Corps ended in 1968. Recalling his time in Thailand, in 2014 Charles noted that his worldview was fundamentally shaped by his time there. He went on to comment: . . . most of what you read in my books I learned in Thai villages. I was struck first by the enormous discrepancy between what Bangkok thought was important to the villagers and what the villagers wanted out of government. Secondly, when the government change agent showed up, the village went to hell in terms of its internal governance. His work in Peace Corps and subsequent research in Thailand for research firms associated with the U. S. Government led . . .

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The Volunteer Who is One of the Most Thought-provoking Analysts of Our Time — George Packer (Togo)

 by Jeremiah Norris  (Colombia, 1963-65)   Since serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, 1982-83, George Packer went on to write for The Atlantic Monthly where he wrote the article “We Are Living in a Failed State,” and two books: Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, and Last Best Hope: America in Decline and Renewal, both reviewed below. Taken together, the overriding themes constituted a refrain to Mark Twain’s famous comment: “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century George Packer has a thoroughly beguiling style of writing in which the reader is being told a story rather than reading one, as with the opening line in Moby Dick: “Call me Ishmael.” With George in Our Man “you have heard that he [Holbrooke] is a monstrous egotist. It’s true. It’s even worse . . .

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The Volunteer Who Lived Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Dennis Grubb (Colombia)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) Dennis Grubb was an Eagle Scout when he joined the Peace Corps as a Volunteer in 1961, going on to write the first chapter of its history. He was the youngest Volunteer in one of the first groups ever to be sent abroad, serving in Colombia. He worked in a rural village at the 8,700 elevation of the Andean mountains, a place with no running water or sewers, scant access to electricity, and few paved roads. Illiteracy, malnutrition, dysentery, and TB were rampant. Along with Peace Corps colleagues, Dennis formed a liaison between his village and government officials and secured assistance to build the first cooperative food store, a small medical center, three schools, roads, and a water supply pipeline. Dennis worked with Colombians at all levels, from farmers to national officials to achieve his overall goal which was to convince the community that . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became the Co-founder and CEO of Netflix — Reed Hastings (Swaziland)

A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)   In Reed Hastings gap year before college he sold vacuum cleaners door to door, then went on to graduate from Bowdoin College with a degree in Mathematics. He spent his college summers in a Marine Corps training program, including a stint at the Officers Candidate School in the summer of 1981. He was never commissioned, choosing instead to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. He went to teach math at a high school of 800 in rural Swaziland, Africa, from 1983-85.  Reed credits part of his entrepreneurial spirit to his time in Peace Corps, remarking that “Once you have hitch-hiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn’t seem too intimidating”. After returning from Peace Corps, Reed went on to attend Stanford University, earning a Master’s in Computer Science. His first job was at Adaptive Technology where . . .

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The Volunteer Who as a Superior Court Judge Threw Out California’s Lethal Injection Procedure — Faye Hooker D’Opal (Colombia)

  Faye Hooker D’Opal earned a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College in Arkansas and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from New College of California, San Francisco. Faye commented that a motivating factor in deciding to earn a law degree was based on her earlier experience of racial discrimination while growing up in rural Arkansas. This is where her legacy of community service began where she participated in the historic efforts to desegregate Little Rock’s public schools. Peace Corps In 1963–65, she became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, one among the first women to serve in that capacity. In her first year, she worked in health/community development programs, based in a local health center serving an area of 9,000 people. Its primary goal was to develop an extensive program in preventive medicine. Faye also participated in various development activities in four other nearby communities. She and her colleagues were successful in . . .

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The Volunteer Who Built a Railroad to the Sky — Jay Hersch (Colombia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)   Back story: Imagine the improbable After serving in Colombia, 1964-66, RPCV Jay Hersch buys a farm in the Western Highlands of Virginia, starts a successful business, then fulfills a long-held dream: he lays down a road bed for 155 feet of track, builds a replica of an existing Train Station, finds a surplus caboose and coal car — and from dream to reality, creates a railroad on his property! Jay’s published book, Phantomrail: The Railroad that Never Was, available on Amazon, tells the complete story.   Since his boyhood days in Chicago, Jay remembers waiting with his grandfather at the end of the Kenzie Avenue line, fascinated as he watched rail workers push the streetcar around the turnstile until it was headed back toward downtown. He also recalled counting the cars as the freight trains rumbled past and last . . .

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The Volunteer Who Was Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize — Chic Dambach (Colombia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65)   How does one write about the career of Charles “Chic” Dambach –and still do justice to it in 1.5 pages! Let me try, though my effort may prove to be a poor candle in bringing it to light. Chic, to his global friends and associates, began his journey after graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1967, which he attended on a football scholarship as an outstanding college prospect. According to a review of his memoir Exhaust the Limits, the Life and Times of a Global Peacebuilder by another Volunteer, Bob Arias, Chic came upon racism on the playing fields of his school — and met it head on. It just wasn’t another game for Chic, fighting racist attitudes was his first challenge and he reached out to make a difference, an attitude that infused his professional life thereafter. Chic . . .

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The Volunteer Who Was at the Epicenter of Contemporary National Events — Ben Bradlee, Jr. (Afghanistan)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–65) • BEN BRADLEE, JR.* WAS A copy boy at the Boston Globe during summers before graduating from Colby College in Maine with a major in Political Science. He then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan from 1970 to 1972, where he reported for an English-language newspaper in Kabul. Returning home, Ben went into a journalistic career which placed him at the center of several national events, beginning by working for several years at the Riverside Press in California. He then spent most of his journalistic career at the Boston Globe. There he was successively State House reporter, investigative reporter, national correspondent, political editor, and metropolitan editor. In 1993, he was promoted to Assistant Managing Editor responsible for investigations and projects. In that role, Ben edited the Globe’s reportage that uncovered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston’s repeated cover-ups of . . .

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The Volunteer Exemplar for the Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal — Pat Wand (Colombia)

  by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) • Patricia A. Wand, Pat to her hosts of friends and associates across planet earth, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia from 1963 to 1965 after graduating cum laude in history from Seattle University’s Honors Program. As a rural community development and health education volunteer she taught nutrition, sewing, knitting, and public health and worked with local juntas to build three schools and a bridge. In 1969, she was on Peace Corps staff in the Eastern Caribbean. Thereafter, writing about and detailing her professional career at home and abroad is an exhausting task—as Pat somehow discovered how to get more than 24 hours out of a work day and seven days out of a week! In Pat’s own words, this is how she described her Peace Corps experience. A half century ago, service as a Peace Corps Volunteer introduced me to a . . .

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The Volunteer Who Became “One of the Most Influential Observers of American Politics”*— Chris Matthews (Swaziland)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris — Colombia, 1963-65 •   Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968–70) recently published a book entitled: This Country: My Life in Politics and History (2021) As one reviewer commented: Chris “shares the many stories that show us the greatness of our nation and her people.” And another stating: “. . . a must read for all, no matter where you self-identify on the current political spectrum.”. So, who is this former Volunteer that was so instrumental in green-lighting Peace Corps’ 3rd Goal while providing ‘friend and foe’ alike some great insights into the cultural values that have informed his public commentary and world view”? After graduating from Holy Cross College in Massachusetts, Chris pursued a Ph. D. in Economics at the University of North Carolina. Then, after completing his graduate studies, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland. There his two years of service as a . . .

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The Volunteer Who Was a Pioneer in the Peaceful and Practical Uses of Outer Space — T. Stephen Cheston (Colombia)

A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris — Colombia, 1963-65 • Following his graduation from Clark University in 1963, T. Stephen Cheston, Steve to his friends, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia through 1965 where he developed agricultural cooperatives. He worked in a small village with often illiterate campesinos. But with his superb command of Spanish since childhood when he lived in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico where his father worked for U. S. Steel, Steve’s easy and outgoing personality led him to use his Volunteer time for the accomplishment of mutual goals in a productive manner. After his return from Colombia, he began graduate studies at Georgetown University in 1966, while concurrently working as a volunteer in the Senate Office of Robert F. Kennedy. In 1972, he was awarded a Ph. D. in Russian and Latin American History. In the period from 1972 to 1983, he held consecutive posts . . .

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The Volunteer who became the founding Director of the National Afro-American Museum and Culture Center — Dr. John Fleming (Malawi)

  A Profile in Citizenship — Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65) Dr. John Fleming graduated from Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, in 1966 and attended the University of Kentucky, then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi from 1967 to 1969. While a volunteer, he attended the University of Malawi. Returning home, he attended Howard University graduating with a Ph. D. in American history in 1974. Prior to Peace Corps service, Dr. Fleming had wanted to become a missionary and thought that his Peace Corps experience would prepare him for work in Africa. Dr. Fleming was greatly disappointed to learn how missionaries of various religious persuasion treated Africans — and of how he as an African American, received the same treatment from them. Such treatment changed his mind about being a missionary. He recalled one incident when he was traveling to a friend’s village. He arrived late one evening when it . . .

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The Volunteer who was Chairman of the Chicago Bears — Mike McCaskey (Ethiopia)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–64)   In an article published in the Chicago Tribune on May 26, 2020, John Coyne recalls how he met Mike McCaskey — not at Soldier Field but rather in Fiche (fee CHĀ), Ethiopia, a small village perched high on the escarpment above the Blue Nile river, far from the shores of Lake Michigan. Mike was a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to teach in an elementary school. He would live for two years in a tin-roofed, whitewashed house made of dirt and dung and teach in a two-room school. Those two years, he later told John, gave Mike an entirely new perspective on the world, one in which he was profoundly grateful. After Mike’s Volunteer days were over, he went on and earned a doctorate, spending the next decade teaching at UCLA and Harvard Business School. Then, as John explained, his . . .

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The Volunteer Who Had a Life-changing Lunch in Thailand — Paul Strasburg (Thailand)

  A Profile in Citizenship by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963–64) A back story to that luncheon Paul Strasburg graduated magna cum laude in History from Stanford University in 1964. He then went on to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand from 1964 to 1966. Upon returning home, he attended Yale Law School before moving on to Princeton University where he earned an MPA in 1969. Afterwards, Paul worked for the Ford Foundation in New York City as a Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean where he monitored grants in Education, Agriculture, and Rural Development, initiating the Foundation’s first program of grants in human nutrition. From 1974 to 1979, he worked with the Vera Institute of Justice in NYC, establishing a job development program for ex-addicts and ex-offenders. He also directed Vera’s Paris office, coordinating research in conjunction with the French Ministry of Justice and was awarded the . . .

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