Fortunate son

May 21, 2014

Randy Harrison emerged from the Vietnam War unscathed, but with a new appreciation for life

By David Hayes Randy Harrison hugs his dog Burfoot inside his Squak Mountain home. Over his shoulder is a print commemorating one of Harrison’s missions that went wrong yet garnered a Congressional Medal of Honor for helicopter pilot James Fleming, who evacuated Harrison’s squad under heavy fire from North Vietnamese.

By David Hayes
Randy Harrison hugs his dog Burfoot inside his Squak Mountain home. Over his shoulder is a print commemorating one of Harrison’s missions that went wrong yet garnered a Congressional Medal of Honor for helicopter pilot James Fleming, who evacuated Harrison’s squad under heavy fire from North Vietnamese.

Randy Harrison is fascinated by history.

The well-read, 69-year-old Squak Mountain resident is especially interested in Homer’s “The Iliad.”

“Everybody knows about Achilles, Ajax, Agamemnon and Paris. All the characters you hear about,” Harrison said. “Every now and then, if you read Homer, there’s one guy mentioned, one soldier who did something, not the big characters.

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Earned privilege

March 11, 2014

In a life of milestones, local author meets another with self-published book

Sitting in a ray of sunshine in his “hooray for me” room in his Cougar Mountain home, Randy Harrison paused while discussing his book “West From Yesterday.”

From the window seat in the room (a Southern nickname for a room full of mementos from one’s life), the first-time author said he had shared the manuscript with family and friends before self-publishing it through Amazon.com. They’d realized the tale of Tucker, a post-Civil War-era plantation owner who journeys West in a bout of self-discovery, sounded a lot like someone they knew.

By David Hayes Randy Harrison, author of ‘West from Yesterday’ stands in his Cougar Mountain home’s ‘hooray-for-me’ room where he’s planning his next project — teaching himself to play guitar.

By David Hayes
Randy Harrison, author of ‘West from Yesterday’ stands in his Cougar Mountain home’s ‘hooray-for-me’ room where he’s planning his next project — teaching himself to play guitar.

“They said they found a lot of me in Tucker,” Harrison said. “I realized both me and Tucker were from a Virginia family, had come from a life of privilege only by birth. And we both felt a sense of obligation that we had to earn what comes from that gift of privilege.”

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