December 23, 2004: Headlines: Speaking Out: Vail Trail: Rom Boyd says: I have great respect for our American men and women who are overseas as military personnel Ė but there is nothing more satisfying than remembering, as our soldiers fight wars in the Middle East, that we also have a different breed of soldier abroad: the soldier of Peace.

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Speaking Out: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Speaking Out (1 of 5) : Peace Corps: Speaking Out: December 23, 2004: Headlines: Speaking Out: Vail Trail: Rom Boyd says: I have great respect for our American men and women who are overseas as military personnel Ė but there is nothing more satisfying than remembering, as our soldiers fight wars in the Middle East, that we also have a different breed of soldier abroad: the soldier of Peace.

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-43-253.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.43.253) on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 5:06 pm: Edit Post

Tom Boyd says: I have great respect for our American men and women who are overseas as military personnel Ė but there is nothing more satisfying than remembering, as our soldiers fight wars in the Middle East, that we also have a different breed of soldier abroad: the soldier of Peace.

Tom Boyd says: I have great respect for our American men and women who are overseas as military personnel Ė but there is nothing more satisfying than remembering, as our soldiers fight wars in the Middle East, that we also have a different breed of soldier abroad: the soldier of Peace.

Tom Boyd says: I have great respect for our American men and women who are overseas as military personnel Ė but there is nothing more satisfying than remembering, as our soldiers fight wars in the Middle East, that we also have a different breed of soldier abroad: the soldier of Peace.

Raise a glass to the peaceful warrior
Tom Boyd - 12/23/04
Tom Boyd

For the past month or so Iíve been corresponding with Vail locals who are abroad this winter, working to make a better world through the Peace Corps.

Even in a digital world, which comes replete with email, cell phones and satellites in orbit, these folks were surprisingly hard to get a hold of. Many of them must travel miles to reach phones and electricity. They are surrounded by millions of people who speak no English, who share very different customs, and who are usually submersed in poverty, or illness, or both.

I have great respect for our American men and women who are overseas as military personnel Ė but there is nothing more satisfying than remembering, as our soldiers fight wars in the Middle East, that we also have a different breed of soldier abroad: the soldier of Peace.

It makes me proud of America.

It also makes me proud of our valley. With four born-and-bred locals participating in Peace Corps, and another with close ties to the town, itís clear we are producing people of compassion and courage in our community.

The commitment to Peace Corps is a daunting one. Picture the past two years of your life, strip away everything youíve experienced (every electric-lighted night, every trip in a car, every moment in a restaurant), and replace it with the Spartan life found in Zambia, or Guyana, or Senegal, or any other place where people live in conditions only our most distant ancestors experienced.

During the holidays, life in the Peace Corps can be especially difficult. While their American families are gathered around a massive turkey, fresh cranberries, green vegetables, fine china, red wine and stacks of dessert, a Peace Corps volunteer is most likely huddled in a dark, grass-thatched hut, surrounded by dirt, snakes, weird spiders and people who have never heard of Christmas Ė and couldnít understand such a holiday if they tried.

Perhaps, if a volunteer is lucky, she can raise a cup of palm wine to her distant American relatives.

As for me, Iím able to raise a cup of wine with my relatives virtually any time I wish. The Boyd family hasnít wandered far Ė my brother, sister, and myself are all still here in the valley, where we see mom and dad on a regular basis.

Hereís another fact that may shock you: I still live in the home where I grew up.

Yep, thatís correct: I live with my mother.

Well, technically thatís not true Ė I live in the apartment downstairs, with my own door and everything (as if that makes a difference).

Itís not exactly the kind of adventure Iíd find if I joined the Peace Corps Ö but itís got its moments.

I catch a lot of flack for living at home (and Iíll probably get more now that Iím writing it here in this column), but I say go ahead, laugh all you want. First of all, in a town like this, it isnít easy to survive without finding a good deal on rent.

But thatís not really why Iím there.

The real reason is because I know a secret Ė and so do the many other locals who have stayed around, stayed in contact with their families, and settled down to a life where grandma and grandpa are only a short trip away.

The secret is this: Family rules.

Especially now, during the holidays, I couldnít be happier with the choices Iíve made. Iíve seen the world, traveled outside our borders many times, and will probably do so again. But in the meantime, here at Base Camp Vail, Iím able to spend time with my family, look out for my mom, go hunting with dad and my brother (though not as much as Iíd like), and have a quick lunch with my sister on any given day.

And Iíve got a niece and nephew, Rilee and Kienan, who I canít help but put into my Christmas column every year (if you havenít been sledding with a three-year-old lately, give it a shot: thereís really nothing better in the world than playing in the snow with the next generation of your family).

All these family moments make me even more proud of our ambassadors overseas. They give up so much in order to do what they feel is right for the people of our planet. In the meantime, they gather important lessons from abroad, which, thankfully, they can share with us in turn.

This year, when the Boyd family gets together, weíll raise a glass to our valleyís warriors of peace, who do so much to make us proud. Take care of yourselves, and Merry Christmas. VT

Tom Boyd can be reached at tboyd@vailtrail.com.






When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Changing of the Guard Date: December 15 2004 No: 330 Changing of the Guard
With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.

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Story Source: Vail Trail

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Speaking Out

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