Not too many people in Ponca City know that I served as a Peace Corps volunteer for three years almost 40 years ago. I am certainly proud to be one of the 195,000 Americans who served in the Peace Corps and I remember to this day watching John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in 1961 and his famous words "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country" that inspired me and thousands of others to spend two years living and working overseas to meet the three goals of the Peace Corps.
There is a saying that there is no such thing as an ex-Peace Corps volunteer - once you volunteer, you are a volunteer for life and I know that I consider the time I spend running my web site at Peace Corps Online a continuation of my service as a volunteer. My web site gets over 500,000 visitors every month so I think I may be doing some good spreading the word about what the Peace Corps is doing and about the continuing service of volunteers.
It was particularly pleasant experience once my wife and I arrived in Baltimore to interview Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, DC last week. It takes a lot of work to prepare for an interview with the Director and I have spent almost the last week doing the interview, transcribing the interview, laying out the story, and publishing it and there is some real breaking news in my interview so I am glad to get it out to the returned volunteer community.
Another nice thing happened last week. I knew my wife and I were going to be on the East coast so after Obama was elected over a month ago I called up Congressman Frank Lucas' office about the possibility of getting tickets for the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and I just heard back that my wife and I will be receiving tickets. We are really looking forward to that. It kind of brings things full circle for me. JFK's inaugural address in 1960 started the wheels turning that changed my life and sent me out into the world as a Peace Corps volunteer, and now 47 years later, I am interviewing the Director of the Peace Corps and getting ready to attend the inauguration of a man who has promised to double the size of the Peace Corps and increase the commitment to service and volunteerism across the nation.
Anyway, read my interview with Ron Tschetter, the director of the United States Peace Corps on my web site, Peace Corps Online.