WOL Honors Rich Hall
Rich Hall and Crew -
WAY OF LIFE "FIRST FAMILY
Richard '79 and Briana Hall -- at the 30 Aug 2014 USAFA WOL Tailgate
It is very difficult to adequately tell the story of what took place over 28-30 Aug 2014 at the Air Force Academy. This article makes an attempt. Know that this is a "you had to be there" story.
Richard Hall, WOL Past-President and current member of the WOL Board of Directors, was overwhelmed by the outpouring of gratitude for his 10 years of WOL service and leadership. Grads took advantage of the top cover provided by festivities surrounding the 2014 WOL Tailgate to surprise Richard with a number of awards and presentations. This was no small task as you would imagine if you know Richard at all. Richard's wife, LaTessa, and kids Bryant and Briana were all in on the planning and helped keep Richard totally in the dark.
First, here is a little history. Grads elected Richard the very first WOL President. That happened at the gathering of African-American USAFA graduates who met at the Academy in the summer of 2003. Those who attended recall just how emotional that event turned out to be. The first USAFA class to have black cadets was the Class of 1963. Two of the first three African-American graduates, Charles Bush and Roger Sims, attended the reunion. Their firsthand accounts of how it was "back when I was a cadet" had all the grads spellbound. Both Charles Bush and Roger Sims have since passed away but their charge was for us to make WOL a special organization.
Richard was the visionary of and guiding force behind "Super Reunions." Both the Inaugural Super Reunion and Super Reunion II were phenomenal events bringing together graduates from all five service academies. The 2014 WOL Tailgate provided a perfect opportunity to say "Thank You". Now you are caught up.
Richard received the WOL Pathfinder Award at a heartwarming event at Doolittle Hall (the AOG building). WOL Board member, James "Doc" Colvin '79, presided with special and touching words from Eric Garvin '81, AOG President and CEO T Thompson '73, WOL Chairman of the Board Carlton "Hap" Hairston '74 and WOL President Jaron Roux '00. The Pathfinder Award, initially presented to the first three African-American graduates, is the organization's most prestigious award. Col Carolyn Benyshek '87, USAF Academy Director of Admissions, presented Richard with a beautifully carved statue of a cadet in parade uniform for his work in support of USAFA Admissions. The USAFA Athletic Department presented Richard an autographed AF Falcon football helmet. WOL Membership Chair, James "Mac" McReynolds '77, gave Richard a beautifully designed WOL polo shirt. The polo boldly displays Richard's name and the WOL logo. You will want your own polo. Stay tuned.
The weekend was full of action and surprises. Richard, LaTessa, Bryant and Briana also attended the pre-game pep rally as special guests of Col. Stacey Hawkins '91 and his wife Natalie. Col. Hawkins is the Commander, 10th Air Base Wing, USAFA. Both Col. Hawkins and Richard grew up in Bastrop, Louisiana - a small "country" town in north Louisiana. Needless to say, the commander's table was the party table. Col. Hawkins treated Richard like a big brother and the Hall family loved it.
The last two years have been a challenge for Richard and his family. Medical challenges have put Richard and his family to the test. They remain faithful and know that God has prepared Richard for this journey. The WOL tribute weekend - as it turned out - made the Hall Crew realize the WOL family is there for them. The Hall Crew loves WOL right back.