January 28, 2005
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Teacher pines for deployed alumnus

Dear Editor,

About two weeks ago I got some bad news.

It was news that I never expected to hear, yet, when it came it was not all that surprising. Another group of Oregon National Guardsmen had been activated for service in Iraq. Over the past couple of years, I have seen many Oregonians answer the call and be sent into harm's way, but this time it was different.

This time it was one of my former debaters. This young man’s name is Jonathan Sanford and he will be leaving in the next week or so for training in Texas before his unit is deployed to serve in Kirkuk, Iraq for the next 18 months. To say the least, I am heartbroken and concerned.

I have always supported the troops regardless of my skepticism of the war. However, this deployment now has a real face. As I notified the rest of his former teammates, the sentiment was the same - shock and worry. I can’t tell you what is going through their heads, or if this news has forced them to reevaluate where they stand on the war.

What I can tell you is that this band of brothers/sisters have rallied around one of their own as he prepares to be sent off to fight for the freedoms that allow them to continue to stay here at MHCC and become educated, productive citizens.

Jonathan is not the only one. Three more of my former debaters have chosen the military as their path. Victoria Morton graduated from Army basic training last week. John Wold is currently at Fort Dix, NJ, training for his service with the Army Reserves, and Darren Meaney finished Air Force basic and tech school this past summer and is stationed at the Portland Air Base as a member of the Air National Guard.

As students of Argument, we have debated whether or not the war is just or if the Bush Administration has gotten us into a quagmire. We have even debated whether or not is appropriate to utilize the National Guard in numbers unprecedented for any time in our history.

Right now, all that doesn’t mean a damn thing when people I love, care about and have nurtured in the process of learning may be giving the ultimate sacrifice for me and everyone else.

I pray that Jonathan will come home safe and sound, yet I know he will be changed upon his return. I hope that Victoria, John and Darren won’t be sent over, but the likelihood that they will be is high. So, to all of my “Hoodlums” who are serving in the military, this letter is for you.

Jonathan, Godspeed….and keep your butt and head down!


Shannon Valdivia
Speech Communication instructor

Volume 40, Issue 15