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Life can be affected in so many unexpected ways

July 11, 2010
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

You just never know how things are going to affect you.

For example, in the June 27 Lifestyle section, we told about Paul M. Habhab and the fact he had been inducted into the United States Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame.

A Fort Dodge native and son of the late Anver and Betty Habhab, he is married to the former Linda Russell, also a Fort Dodge native. Her name had been left off the notice, and her mother, Bonnie, kept getting calls asking what had happened to Linda.

Well, she's just fine, folks, and living in Texas with her husband.

When Camp Lakota closed a while back, it was more than the end of a Girl Scout camp. It was the end of life as young Grace Kiefer knew it.

A student at Sutheast Webster-Grand, she lived at the camp, which was run by her mother, Angie Kiefer.

"My family lived at Camp Lakota for nine years," Grace wrote. "My siblings and I grew up there. Once we found out we were moving, it was as if our earth was shattering; we knew nothing else but our lives on those camp grounds."

That included swimming, riding horses and exploring.

"You can extinguish that last fire at Camp Lakota," she wrote, "but you can't extinguish the memories that have been created over the years."

Memories for former Fort Dodger Paul Lochray, 57, are a mixed bag of pleasure and pain. It's a life laid out in his fourth book, "Nature Boy: Reflections on a Life," an autobiographical account of how his Catholic faith and his belief in getting an education allowed him to overcome many hardships in his life.

He calls the 436-page book "an inspirational work to help those who grew up in similar circumstances to overcome the difficulties in their lives."

Lochray, the son of the late Robert and Rita Lochray and a 1970 graduate of St. Edmond High School, is a member of both the Iowa Bar and the Colorado Bar, having earned his law degree at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

"We faced hardships in our lives," he said. "We grew up in poverty. Sometimes we went without food, and that was also very hard. I went through some difficult times with my father. He had paranoid schizophrenia, and was, at times, very cruel. He could hurt people. Physical harm and emotional harm."

"The book focuses on the ability to forgive those who have wronged you in your life," Lochray said. "I did that with my father. He was in the nursing home, supposedly in a coma. I went in and forgave him for everything he did to me and said to me, and one of his eyes opened and a tear ran out, so I know he comprehended. If you don't forgive those who have wronged you, you can't get on with your life. You can't move forward."

What a wonderful premise for a book.

Lochray can be reached at 453 Arden Circle, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 or by phone at (303) 346-2814.

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

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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