November 18, 2005: Headlines: COS - Zambia: Obituaries: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Peace Corps: Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Peace Corps Trainee Wyatt Ammon

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Zambia: Peace Corps Zambia : The Peace Corps in Zambia: November 18, 2005: Headlines: COS - Zambia: Obituaries: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Peace Corps: Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Peace Corps Trainee Wyatt Ammon

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Friday, November 18, 2005 - 6:33 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Peace Corps Trainee Wyatt Ammon

Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Peace Corps Trainee Wyatt Ammon

"Though Wyatt just completed his training and had not had the opportunity to begin his work as a volunteer, it is clear that he was a leader who represented the ideals of the Peace Corps. We greatly mourn his loss to the Peace Corps family," said Director Vasquez.

Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Peace Corps Trainee Wyatt Ammon

Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Trainee Wyatt Ammon

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 18, 2005 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced today with deep sadness the death of Wyatt Ammon, a 24-year-old Peace Corps trainee who was scheduled to be sworn-in as a volunteer today in Zambia. Wyatt died as a result of injuries sustained in a fall.

"Though Wyatt just completed his training and had not had the opportunity to begin his work as a volunteer, it is clear that he was a leader who represented the ideals of the Peace Corps. We greatly mourn his loss to the Peace Corps family," said Director Vasquez.

Wyatt began his Peace Corps training on September 6 and was quickly adapting to the Zambian language and culture. A leader among his training class, Wyatt was chosen by his peers to deliver an appreciation speech to a delegation of Zambian officials in the local language of Lunda during the upcoming swearing-in ceremony.

Wyatt was a dedicated trainee who was very motivated to expand his knowledge and understanding of other cultures. In his aspiration statement Wyatt wrote, "I don't want to work for money or prestige, I want to work for change and satisfaction."

A Dell Rapids, S.D., resident, Wyatt was a 2004 graduate of Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. An excellent student, he spent one semester at Universiteit van Amsterdam in a study abroad program at the International School for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Wyatt is survived by his parents and three sisters. Peace Corps/Zambia is planning a memorial service in his honor for volunteers and staff.

The Peace Corps' staff is deeply saddened by Wyatt's death. Director Vasquez said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ammon family, especially as we enter into the holiday season."

When this story was posted in November 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Peace Corps at highest Census in 30 years Date: October 22 2005 No: 745 Peace Corps at highest Census in 30 years
Congratulations to the Peace Corps for the highest number of volunteers in 30 years with 7,810 volunteers serving in 71 posts across the globe. Of course, the President's proposal to double the Peace Corps to 15,000 volunteers made in his State of the Union Address in 2002 is now a long forgotten dream. With deficits in federal spending stretching far off into the future, any substantive increase in the number of volunteers will have to wait for new approaches to funding and for a new administration. Choose your candidate and start working for him or her now.

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Military Option sparks concerns Date: September 13 2005 No: 731 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. Read the results of our poll among RPCVs. Latest: Congressman John Kline introduces legislation to alter the program to remove the Peace Corps as an option for completing an individual’s military enlistment requirement.

Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger Date: October 22 2005 No: 738 Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger
When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger. Latest: Read the ongoing dialog on the subject.

'Celebration of Service' a major success Date: October 10 2005 No: 730 'Celebration of Service' a major success
The Peace Corps Fund's 'Celebration of Service' on September 29 in New York City was a major success raising approximately $100,000 for third goal activities. In the photo are Maureen Orth (Colombia); John Coyne (Ethiopia) Co-founder of the Peace Corps Fund; Caroline Kennedy; Barbara Anne Ferris (Morocco) Co-founder; Former Senator Harris Wofford, member of the Advisory Board. Read the story here.

PC apologizes for the "Kasama incident" Date: October 13 2005 No: 737 PC apologizes for the "Kasama incident"
The District Commissioner for the Kasama District in Zambia issued a statement banning Peace Corps activities for ‘grave’ social misconduct and unruly behavior for an incident that occurred on September 24 involving 13 PCVs. Peace Corps said that some of the information put out about the incident was "inflammatory and false." On October 12, Country Director Davy Morris met with community leaders and apologized for the incident. All PCVs involved have been reprimanded, three are returning home, and a ban in the district has since been lifted.

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Report of PCV Misconduct in Zambia 7 Oct
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Kinky Friedman could be the next governor of Texas 5 Oct
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Doyle and Green in dead heat for Wisconsin Governor 5 Oct
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Russell Carollo wins journalism prize for "The Toll of War" 4 Oct
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Carl Pope writes: Preparing for Global Warming 3 Oct
Director Vasquez Meets with Volunteers in Gulf Coast 3 Oct
John McCain's call to service 3 Oct
Joshua Berman wins Lowell Thomas Travel Writing Award 2 Oct
Operation Offset proposes freeze in Peace Corps Funding 1 Oct

Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina Date: September 12 2005 No: 729 Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina
First and foremost, Give. Then volunteer with the Crisis Corps. Carol Bellamy says "In situations such as this one, money is needed the most" and added that Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans is comparable to last year's tsunami. Thailand RPCV Thomas Tighe's Direct Relief International has committed an initial $250,000 in cash to assist hurricane victims. Mayor Tom Murphy (RPCV Paraguay) says Pittsburgh is ready to embrace refugees from devastated areas. Brazil RPCV Robert Backus is among the first Vermont doctors to volunteer to travel to Louisiana to treat victims. Latest: FEMA requests RPCVs to assist in recovery efforts through the Crisis Corps and the Peace Corps hopes to send 400 RPCVs to the Gulf Coast for short term assignments to assist victims with their applications for federal aid.

The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

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Story Source: Peace Corps

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Zambia; Obituaries; Safety and Security of Volunteers


By former Vol ( - on Monday, November 21, 2005 - 8:32 pm: Edit Post

What was the cause of death?

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 11:49 am: Edit Post

Dear former Vol:

The Peace Corps will be completing an investigation of the accident and will have an official report later on. For the moment this is what we know from accounts by friends and collegues.

SF Smith reports on his blog that the death was due to an accidental fall from the 4th floor window of a hotel: "It was relatively innocent, just horsing around in a hotel when he slipped and fell out a window." Read more at:

Brett Pearson in Zambia reports on his blog that: "Unfortunately, my good friend Wyatt suffered an accident in the early hours of Friday morning that resulted in his untimely death." Read more at:

Marissa reports in her blog that: "he and some of his buddies were joking around in the hotel where they were staying and he accidentally lost his balance and fell out of a fourth- or fifth-story window. They said he didn't suffer at all and died almost instantly." Read more at:

Ned in Zambia reports on his blog that: "Early this morning, around 1:40AM, one of our best-loved trainees, Wyatt, fell out of a fourth-story window and died." Read more at:

Further discussion of the accident is available on the LiveJournal Peace Corps blog at

Additional eulogies are available at:

His family has put together a web site where friends and family can leave their thoughts and remembrances at: His family is starting a scholarship fund in his name..

It is a terrible tragedy when the world loses a young man in the prime of his life with so much ahead and Peace Corps Volunteers and Returned Volunteers mourn the loss of one of theirs. There are no words to describe a loss like this but John Donne said this:

"Death be not proud, though some have called thee"

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.

Best Regards,


By former Vol ( - on Friday, November 25, 2005 - 8:29 am: Edit Post

Safety and security has become a huge concern in the Peace Corps community. I will not go into the blame or isolate details of this incident or others. Former volunteers and staff are so sensitive about the subject, they always have to justify there position, even if it means the death of a volunteer.

Since 1996, 31 volunteers have been killed in either murder or terrorist attacks, died due to car, motorcycle, or safety related incidences and death related to health issues. The number of deaths is too high. According to the Dayton Daily News who many volunteers and former volunteers believe to be accurate reporting, a 125% increase has occured vs other decades.

Former volunteers who have gone through these issues and not perished in service are often treated different than 2 year return volunteers, often they are not heard in the Peace Corps community. Why? because of volunteers who served there full term or staff who never served have influence in the National Peace Corps association to sway us from good and fair policy at Peace Corps. There have been hearings and they would not let former volunteers who have gone through safety issues and not been treated well by the administration testify. The staff members are former volunteers working on the International Relations committee and Foreign Relations committee in the Senate. They choose the panelist.

In doing so, we have to listen to Kevin Quiqley speak about return volunteer issues. I am sure he is doing good in other areas, but safety and security or attrition rates of volunteers have not been their strong point. They don't advocate on behalf of volunteers who have been through these issues. Even Walter Poiriers father said his family had no where to turn and the NPCA did not help.

There are thousands of former volunteers whose close of service report is not correct. Thousands of former volunteers have not been provided counsel in their service and post service needs. Many of these folks have service realted injuries or have gone through safety issues Peace Corps denied happened. Well, they did and the Peace Community must pay their debt back to these former volunteers. The debt is recognition it may have happened during the past decades. Secondly, volunteers, family of volunteers and former volunteer need a congressional mandated counsel, just like General counsel at Peace Corps so we have no conflict of interest.

Over 2,900 volunteers have been victims of violence. What has Peace Corps done for these volunteers? The Dayton Daily News was able to report about these people. Why can't the actual victims have a voice in Congress and with Peace Corps? What poll has been done by the GAO over the decades on Attrition, Safety and Health which are a true reflection of what the agency is doing for these former volunteer? All recommendations by the GAO in these area have been relatively turned down over the years by every admnistration and the internal bureaucracy.

Discrimination in Peace Corps employment, in Federal Service and Federal Service has occured in many incidences with the agency its realtionship with USAID and State Department Medical Services. These Folks above who served and not been provided with the right counsel and been discriminated against because of their service record must be paid back. Not with FECA either. When a crime is committed like fraud and abuse it must be investigated and these victims must be paid pack for lost opportunity. FECA is a method by which they can bribe the volunteer from not suing them when Gross Negligence has occured.

FECA has become a method in which Peace Corps uses to get rid of problems instead of acknowledging real story such as wrongful separations, wrongful death and medical malpractice, (remember they won't let you choose your own doctor, they use their contractors to fire you; and also they are not registered as a hospital either).

It is morally unacceptable.

Peace Corps is corrupt in covering up these cases. Perhaps, this is why so many volunteer have had these issues because the agency hasn't come clean and continues the fear of reprisal to those who report their true experiences in service. Maybe, the reason they have bad policy is because the folks who have really experienced these issues are being discriminated against in Federal service.

If you want to fight injustice abroad and poverty you must be fair to those who really served their country and Peace Corps.

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