Peace Corp Afganistan Group 17 poses in Valle Crucis during its reunion in October.

Peace Corp Afganistan Group 17 poses in Valle Crucis during its reunion in October. From left to right in the front row is Lou Tomaino, Laurie Church, Pam Hunte and Denise Daley; (second row) Richard Thornton, Colin Church, Stephen Thewlis), David Daly, Richard Bodman and Hongyuan Bodman; (third row) Don Brannon, Joan Brannon and Jeffrey LaRiche.

Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Afghanistan from 1969-71 gathered for three days in October in the Mission House of the Valle Crucis Conference Center to reconnect and relive their shared experiences on the fiftieth anniversary of their service.

On Aug. 15, 1969, youth were pouring into Woodstock, a small town one hundred miles north of NYC for an epic, peaceful music festival while seventeen volunteers-in-training were due to be boarding a plane at JFK bound for Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Kabul-bound young people had just completed two months of training in the Colorado mountains and had been granted a brief return home to say good-bye to friends and families before leaving for two years.

Despite the sadness around the current status of the country that the volunteers called home for two years, the reunion participants shared history and left with wonderful memories.

Local highlights that contributed to the gathering were the beauty and hospitality of the High Country; a trip to Mast General Store and lunch at F.A.R.M. Cafe; visiting the Brannons’ Nothing Flat Farm in Vilas; sharing photos and artifacts from Afghanistan; and most of all sharing stories.

Peace Corps Afghanistan Group 17 is looking forward with hope for the country of Afghanistan and to the next reunion. Members are already talking about possibly returning to the High Country next year.

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