Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Contact Us | Home RSS

Fathers have reason to be proud, no matter the date

June 20, 2010
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Father's Day just makes a person think.

Most people spend the day honoring their fathers, but sometimes fathers have things to be thankful for, too, things to think about and talk about. All men do.

For instance, there's Doug Vinnes, of Garland, Texas, a 1965 graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High. He spent one year at Iowa State University in Ames, then transferred to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to study elementary education. He wanted to be a teacher.

He graduated after fall semester in 1969, "and I got my draft notice along with my graduation notice," he said. "I was drafted before commencement."

Fast forward 40 years.

"I just never even thought about it," he said. "Then I read a newspaper article about Texas giving diplomas to anyone who went to war instead of commencement. It got me to thinking, why not go through commencement? So I contacted Northern Arizona, and they called and said how would you like to go through commencement? They called again and asked if I would be a standard bearer for the college of education, then they called again and asked if I would be an honoree at the commencement, a representative of alumni veterans."

So, last December he walked across the stage and officially picked up his diploma 40 years after earning it. No family could get away to go with him, so when he sits back to relax today, this will be a solitary memory.

Vinnes and his wife, Linda, live in Garland and have two children between them. His mother, Margaret Louise Vinnes still lives in Dodge, but his father, Marvin, died in 2007. It doesn't matter if anyone was there to see him; they're still proud of him.

In Pomeroy, Bob Schossow has something to be proud of, too. Back in early March when his shop burned, it was his neighbor, John Hudgens Jr., who saved his life by rolling him out of the shop. Both suffered injuries that seem minor now compared to what might have been.

On Aug. 13 at the Iowa State Fair, Hudgens will receive a Governor's Lifesaving with Valor Award, an award to recognize people who have performed a courageous act in an attempt to save someone's life.

Well, that fits, for sure.

"He richely deserves it," Schossow said. "It wasn't just a task of getting me away from the burning shop. Even after we were in the building next to it, he got me behind a Chevrolet Suburban and covered me with two large pieces of plywood, fearing that the LP tank would blow up and come through the wall. That shows serious thinking under fire."

No pun intended.

Anyway, as Vinnes got his diploma, Hudgens will receive a lifesaving award. Both after the fact, both deserving.

That gives anyone something to think about. That and Monday, the first day of summer, the day when all days start getting shorter. Can Christmas be far behind?

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



I am looking for: