Life lessons: Mom vs. the Marines

September 9, 2014

Vietnam veteran credits his mother for actions that helped him earn a Bronze Star

By Greg Farrar Ron Preston poses with Asha, his 8-month-old black Labrador shelter rescue dog, on a woodpile of felled trees at his Preston home.

By Greg Farrar
Ron Preston poses with Asha, his 8-month-old black Labrador shelter rescue dog, on a woodpile of felled trees at his Preston home.

The same determination Ron Musgrave learned as a U.S. Marine that led to a Bronze Star for his actions in Vietnam are evident in the business he has nurtured for more than 45 years.

Musgrave was barely old enough to buy a drink in the States when his outfit was sent to Hill 689 in June 1967. The young Marine had been trained to fire a 3.5-inch bazooka as part of a weapons platoon.

The bazooka he carried was an updated version of the 2.5 bazooka used against German Panzers tanks during World War II. Musgrave was often ordered to use the anti-tank rocket launcher to flush enemy snipers out of the spider holes they had dug into the ground of the moist tropical jungle.

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Passionate for the past

June 3, 2014

History Day competitors make it to nationals

Contributed Liberty High School students (from left) Sally Rim, Lauryn Hepp and Carlyn Schmidgall accept an award for their project about the Vietnam draft at the regional History Day competition. The trio qualified for the national competition held at the University of Maryland in June.

Contributed
Liberty High School students (from left) Sally Rim, Lauryn Hepp and Carlyn Schmidgall accept an award for their project about the Vietnam draft at the regional History Day competition. The trio qualified for the national competition held at the University of Maryland in June.

 

Liberty High School student Lorrin Johnson is almost at a loss for words when asked to describe her love of history.

It’s not because she can’t find the words, it’s just that she has so many things to say about her favorite subject, it’s hard to whittle them down to a few coherent sentences.

“Don’t get me started,” she joked. “I’ve gone on rants about it before.”

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Police chief retires after 39-year career

March 18, 2014

By Greg Farrar Paul Ayers, Issaquah’s police chief for the last seven years, pauses in his office for a portrait.

By Greg Farrar
Paul Ayers, Issaquah’s police chief for the last seven years, pauses in his office for a portrait.

After 39 years in law enforcement — seven in Issaquah — Chief Paul Ayers is ready to take it easy.

Though it started out as a ride-along after serving his tours of duty in Vietnam, police work became a decorated career for Ayers almost four decades ago. He will serve his last day April 15.

“Literally, my first day riding along was a huge eye-opener for me,” Ayers said. “What people know about law enforcement is what they read in the paper and what they see on TV. When you’re at street level and see those things happen, it really makes you realize this job is a lot more.”

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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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Dentist gives veterans reason to smile: free dental care

February 11, 2014

Where to begin talking about what Rory Dunn has been through since he was wounded that day in Fallujah? His best friend, who bled out next to him? His traumatic brain injury that has altered his personality? His forehead held together by a plastic prosthetic?

It’s hard to know where to begin, so Issaquah’s Dr. Theresa Cheng concerns herself with what she knows best as a dentist: his teeth.

By Chris Joseph Taylor/Seattle Times  Dr. Theresa Cheng, a periodontist, prepares to perform surgery.

By Chris Joseph Taylor/Seattle Times
Dr. Theresa Cheng, a periodontist, prepares to perform surgery.

In the nine years since his unarmored Humvee in Iraq was hit by explosives on his 22nd birthday, Dunn has been making a long, hard recovery. His mother, Cynthia Lefever, has been by his side the whole time — sleeping next to her then-comatose son at Walter Reed Army National Military Medical Center and later traveling the country to advocate for veteran care.

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