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Frank A. Snapp
Class of 1963
Autobiography 9/2000

ďAge does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and health.  Some men are born old, and some never grow so.Ē                                                            - Tryon Edwards

Hello, old friends,

     Itís been a wild ride to this point, and letís hope it continues for us all for a long, long time. Too many of us havenít made it this far.
     There are times I yearn for Page.  The lake.  The canyons.  The grandeur and majestic views.  The solitude.  You could find true solitude Ė with nothing but the whisper of the wind to break the silence Ė just by walking over the first ridge out of town.   Iíll bet the solitude is not as easy to find anymore but the wind still blows.  What a place to have visited during those years.
     In actuality, I suppose Iím not yearning for the place so much as I am that time of my life.   George Bernard Shaw said it best, ďWhat a crime to waste it (youth) on children.Ē   They donít know what they have.
     I left Page for Arizona State the fall of í63 and Tempe became my home base for the next twenty-two years.  I was there when I received my mission call.  I was there when I was drafted.  I returned there after Viet Nam and marriage.  I used a home there as an anchor while I traveled across the country doing what most construction ďtravelersĒ do Ė seeking the next ďbig one.Ē  And I was there when the realization finally came that this work was a young-manís game and Iíd reached the point to move on.
     The mission call was to Northern Britain.  The events of those years formed the basis of a deep and abiding faith that has sustained me throughout the years.  Thirty-five years later, I still ponder my acts of omission and commission during those years.  But I believe more than ever!  I am attending the temple and praying for a just and loving God.
      I returned Stateside just long enough to get in one semester as ASU and then LBJ beckoned. Seven months later I was standing in the middle of a village in central Viet Nam looking down a piss-tube, wondering what the hell that was?  You had to be there.  No man, who has never smelled the reek of JP4 ignited on human waste, can understand.  Or watched the dance of automatic weapons fire as it bounced off concertina wire into a shower a transfixing fireworks.  Or walked through a hospital ward viewing the destruction, not feeling the pain of the wounded and dying, but being grateful it was them and not you.  Viet Nam robbed many of us of our youth Ė and humanity.
     ďAnd through some mooned Valhalla there will pass battalions and battalions, scarred from hell; The unreturning army that was youth; The legions who have suffered and are dust.Ē                                                        - Siegfried Sassoon in Prelude: The Troops
     My life will not be complete until I make my pilgrimage to the ďWall,Ē but there is still much I canít face even now.
     During the early years, in between construction jobs, Iíd return to Tempe and pick up a semester or two at ASU.  They got so tired of seeing me keep coming back that in the mid Ď70ís they actually hired me to teach.  My major had originally been journalism but somewhere in the mix that changed to Mass Communications.  For a couple semesters I taught an upper division class in television production while trying to finish my degree.  Never did finish the degree, but my resume says I was a college instructor. (Faculty Associate was the official title.)
     The construction jobs include Bullardís Bar Dam (Northern California); Grand Coulee Dam (third-phase powerhouse); Gilboa Dam (Upstate New York powerhouse and pumped storage facility); coal-fired power plants in Gillette, Wyoming and Sutherland, Nebraska; a cement processing plant in the Dominican Republic; and Palo Verde (the nuclear facility west of Phoenix).  My experience goes all the way from working with my tools to Superintendent.
     I was at Palo Verde when my father died in Missouri.  We took him home to Idaho to be buried in the family plot.  Iíd been at the nuclear plant for six years, working six - sometimes seven - days a week; ten-twelve hours a day; never having a vacation.  I loved the work but it was killing me.  My wife and two sons (JR & Drew) stayed in Idaho that summer after we buried my father and we made the decision that it was time for a change.  We bought a place in Nampa - outside Boise.  It took me a year to finish up a Palo Verde and sell the house in Tempe before I could join the family in Idaho Ė but it was well worth the move.  In spite of the challenges that lay ahead.
     I had expected to take a good, long rest once I settled, but an anticipated year-long break stretched to two, then three, when Idaho passed a right-to-work law that effectively killed the unions.  I could have gone back on the road, but thatís not why I moved back to Idaho.  I finally used my math skills and took a job with Idaho Vocational Rehabilitation in their fiscal section.  I became a bureaucrat!  And a bean counter!  I moved into human resources shortly after that and found I really enjoy it.  Iíve been doing their personnel and payroll work for thirteen years.
     Vocational Rehabilitation is a unique agency with a mission to put the disabled back into the workplace.  We take referrals from Social Security, insurance companies, our state industrial commission, the courts, and even relatives; or we take clients directly off the street as long as they have some disability and are willing to work.  Statistics tell us that every dollar we spend putting these people into the workplace through training and adaptation is repaid to the treasury within three years through the taxes the client pays for the wage they earn.  No other government agency can say it pays for itself.
     As the employment issue settled, several significant events began in my life.  The first, to support my sons in their efforts, I became active in the Boy Scouts of America.  I was able to participate as an adult leader as they both went on to become Eagle Scouts.
     The other series of events was as tragic as it was dramatic.  My life changed significantly.  It started with a house fire that destroyed the Nampa house.  I rebuilt with insurance money and savings but the insurance company defaulted leaving us penniless.  We lost the house to debt and filed bankruptcy.  About this time the IRS decided that since I had gone from making an exceptional wage in construction in Arizona to making nothing for over three years in Idaho that they needed to take a closer look.  They ordered a ten year audit.  But guess what?  I had no records since they had been lost in the fire.   Try explaining that to the IRS.  Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a ďkinder, gentler IRS.Ē  Years later they still terrorize me.   The pressures caused my marriage to collapse and my doctor informed me that I had stress-onset diabetes and hypertension.
     There is an old Chinese proverb that says,  ďA gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.Ē  I certainly not claiming to be perfected, but Iíve been challenged more than most and Iíve survived.  I have started anew with thankfulness for the things I still enjoy and empathy for the frailties of my fellow man.  Itís not ďThere, but for the grace of God, go I.Ē  Itís ďIíve been there and by the grace of God I made it through.Ē
     Iím remarried to a cute little Swedish woman and live in Ontario, Oregon.  Itís a quick hour freeway commute to work.  Partly because I commute, Iím an Employee Transportation Coordinator for state employees.  I work with Boise businesses and government entities to provide planning and alternative transportation for the area.  Iíve been very active in human resources and am past -president of the State Human Resources Association.  I am a founding member of the Governorís 1% Club which recognizes Idaho state employees for their work with United Way.  Iíve presented before the Governor, the legislature and community leaders.  Little do they know that not so long ago I was homeless and had no idea where I was going to find my next meal.
     My sons are grown and off making their own lives, but I have remained active in Boy Scouts. Currently I serve as the District Commissioner in the 7 Rivers District, Ore-Ida Council.  I serve as the 11-year-old Scout leader for Troop 426 in Ontario.  I am Wood Badge trained and have served on Wood Badge staff.  I have been on staff at University of Scouting and Train the Trainer as well as numerous other training.  I received my Silver Beaver in the Spring of 2001.  Only other Scouters will recognize these activities; but they represent a life-long commitment to the Boy Scouts.  What Scouting did for my sons I want every boy to have the opportunity to enjoy.
     My life is certainly different than I imagined it would be ten years ago.  No early retirement or exotic vacations, but Iím happy.  Iím serving Ö and living Ö and loving Ö to the best of my ability.  My personal credo is summed up in the quotation Mrs. Meek had us memorize so long ago.  ďSo live, that when thy summons comes to join that enumerable caravan where each shall take his chamber in the silent hall of death, go not like the quarry slave at night, scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave like one who wraps the drapery of his couch around him and lies down to pleasant dreams.Ē  Little did she know the effect she would have.
     I will miss you all this special weekend.  You will all be in my memories and prayers. Enjoy and remember.

Your friend and fellow classmate,

Frank A. Snapp
1488 NW 2 Ave
Ontario, OR  97914

September 2001

     The last year has brought exceptional changes.  I was able to renew some great friendships with old friends after the reunion.  One old friend especially brought great joy to this tired soul.  Thank you Marilyn for helping me believe again.  I am in your debt forever.  I do know and I believe!
     Msg Frank A. Snapp, Jr. (known to family as JR) is stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky but is scheduled for redeployment within the next six months.  He has three children, Brian, who is headed for Auburn University this fall; Matt, a highschooler, and 4-year-old Lauren Elizabeth who is the WNBA's great white hope - tall, lean and sharp as a tack.
     Second son, R.Drew, is working for Safeway corporation in the Seattle area as a store manager.  He's not married and does get back to Idaho a couple times a year.

fsnapp@fmtc.com
http://franksnapp.tripod.com/htdocs