College of the Desert served as a guiding light that helped me as a student complete a long sought after life goal.
After 43 years, graduating on May 27, 2016, from College of the Desert was a highlight in my life.
I was born in Long Beach and have lived there as well as Lakewood, Needles, Garden Grove and Indio. During my high school senior year, I was the youngest on-air DJ in the Coachella Valley for a local rock radio station (KREO, 1400am), in Indio. I joined the USAF eight days after high school graduation in 1968, and was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1972.
When I was discharged from the Air Force, money was scarce so I attended COD to get paid as a veteran and returned to work at KREO. I took a second job at Master Computer Company in Coachella operating the computer system. I was fired from there because I did not have sufficient knowledge of RPG programming. So, in the spring of 1973, I began my studies at COD majoring in electronic technology. Some of the classes I took at COD were EMT, and computer programming (Fortran and RPG). I stopped attending COD in 1975, to enter the work force.
Over the years I held various jobs such as: a certified paramedic for an ambulance company, part-time county firefighter/engineer, audio/sound technician, construction superintendent, computer programmer, copier technician, and a county deputy coroner. I was contracted by Libbot Pool Service of Palm Springs to develop software to manage their pool service company.
I also worked for Allied Communications Inc. (ACI), an audio company in Cathedral City. While I was a student at COD, in the ‘70’s, I actually worked for ACI for years. The owner had asked Dr. Sheneman for a student from the electronics class to intern and possibly go full time. This was a great experience. While there, I got to work with and know Glenn King who is currently the Director of Network Services & Telecommunications at COD. Meeting Bob Hope and Vice-President Gerald Ford was a plus.
I was hired as a deputy coroner and began that career in 1988, at the age of 38. Eventually, the department began to move in the direction of computerization. Once again, in 1997 there was no cost-effective software available to run the department. Utilizing the programming classes I had taken at COD, and my self-taught Basic Language and Alpha Software Xbasic, I was assigned to write a complete software package that would track coroner cases for the entire county, from Riverside to Indio to Blythe. The current Director of the COD Public Safety Academy, Neal Lingle, was my supervisor at the time the software was developed. If not for my COD programming classes, this would not have happened. I retired in 2010.
Before I retired, my sergeant was, and still is, the president of a non-profit western reenactment group called Gunfighters for Hire. When I was getting ready to retire, I was asked to join the group and subsequently requested to be the media officer, since I was computer literate, could take pictures, and could also develop websites.
Having obtained some 60+ units already at COD from 1973 to 1975, I thought it would benefit the organization if I went back to COD to actually learn something about being a media officer. I started back in the spring of 2013 and changed my major to journalism. Most of my classes were dedicated to that major.
I really enjoyed the TV/Film Production classes with Prof. Michael Gladych. His style of teaching replicates the real world of filmmaking. I can’t thank him enough. I was also involved with The Chaparral newspaper during my last two semesters as production manager, and will continue for the fall 2016 semester.
Although my journalism degree has been earned, my journey will probably still continue. As a “senior citizen”, I really enjoyed the learning process and seeing how it has changed over the last 40 years.
It is never too late to get an education. Persistence does pay off. Embrace it and enjoy it.