RPCV Response Volunteer Killed in Philippines



The Peace Corps mourns the loss of Alan Hale


WASHINGTON – Peace Corps Response Volunteer Alan Hale, 80, of Bellingham, Wash., died in a bicycling accident in his site in the Philippines on July 11.

Hale arrived in Southern Leyte province in October 2018 and worked with local officials to improve solid waste management. He delivered training to more than 2,000 people with a focus on eliminating trash burning and littering.

Hale was on his second tour as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer Peace Corps as a training officer with Anita Hale in Puerto Rico for three years in the 1960s.

A longtime resident of Bellefontaine, Ohio, Hale was a life member of Kiwanis International and a member of Toastmasters International. He volunteered on many boards, including the Logan County Art League. He was also an avid swimmer who had a great appreciation for nature.

After graduating from Euclid High School in Euclid, Ohio, Hale studied biology as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College. He went on to earn a master’s degree in education at Mankato State University in Minnesota and a law degree at Ohio Northern University.

Hale had successful careers as an attorney, teacher, outdoor experiential leader, and municipal solid waste manager. His understanding of recycling and waste management, along with his desire to improve the environment, led him to become a Peace Corps Response Volunteer.

“I joined the Peace Corps to fulfill a 50-year dream of serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer,” Hale wrote from his site. “My service in the Philippines means I have not been a porch-sitting retiree, but an active citizen involved in meaningful work.”



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    When, say, in an airport an American soldier walks by and a citizen thanks him for his service, I want to ask: what exactly has the soldier done, what were his sacrifices, and would he have the courage to say no should the President decide it’s time to fight another dirty war.

    By definition, all wars are ugly, leave scars that last for generations, and rarely solve the problem they were meant to mend. The only certainty: there will be innocent victims. When the bombs stop falling, rifles set down, and the newspapers change titillating headlines, that’s when the real suffering starts. Few will care and the seeds of the next war sprout.

    I was reminded of this again when I learned of John Hale’s death this month in the Philippians. He wasn’t killed by a terrorist’s bullet but rather the poverty that made his work dangerous. He was killed in a bicycle accident. He had taught over 2,000 people better waste management skills. Not sexy enough for you? How about this: he was on his third tour and 80 years old.

    Peace Corps volunteers deserve the same respect as our soldiers and maybe more. They change the world through dialogue and good deeds. Are their lives in danger? Of course. Disease stalks, politics interfere, and accidents happen. The day before I arrived for my service in Peru, an earthquake struck, and two female volunteers were crushed to death, found in each other’s arms.

    Thank you, John Hale, for your service. You are why I am proud to be an American. You made the world a better place and our nation proud.

  • I suspect that you have never served in the armed forces or you would remember the oath to “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the officers” assigned. In the event of war, disobedience could be interpreted under 899 Article 99 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice as cowardice in the face of the enemy for which the punishment can be death.

  • If Peace Corps studied peace with the same dedication the military studies war, we would have a more effective Peace Corps.

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