Article - Office of College Advancement

Ohlone trustee to join troops in Iraq

Yee still plans to seek another four years on college board

By Angela Woodall, Staff writer

Monday, July 3, 2006—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area: The Argus.

Fremont—Ohlone College trustee Garrett Yee was looking forward to spending more time with his wife and children after returning in April from Fort Bliss, Texas, where he was stationed as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. He already had missed his daughter's birthday, Thanksgiving and New Year's.

But what was supposed to be a welcome back celebration this month turned into a farewell party after he received orders to deploy to Iraq.

Still, despite the daily reports about the danger to soldiers and civilians in Iraq, Yee said he is "OK with all this."

"I control what I can. If this is what I have to do, I have to do it. I'm happy to do what I can," he said.

Yee said he hopes this will be the last time he is sent far from his Fremont home and civilian job as a manager at the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California, in San Francisco.

And while campaigning is impractical from a war zone 7,500 miles away, Yee still plans to run for a second term as an Ohlone trustee.

He first was elected in 2002.

If he is re-elected in November, Yee expects to resume his duties on the Ohlone board by the second meeting in January.

While he is away, Yee said he will take a leave of absence from the board because it wouldn't be practical to participate in meetings, or even receive the agendas. Besides, he will be focusing on his duties, which, although still uncertain, may include training U.S. soldiers for deployment.

Fellow trustee Nick Nardolillo said Yee will be sorely missed. He described Yee as level-headed and in touch with the Fremont community.

"Garrett has been a great voice of reason on the board. He looks at issues from all sides and brings things back in to focus when the board gets off track," Nardolillo said. "We wish him the best and that he gets home safe."

Yee said he has known that he could be sent to a war zone since he was commissioned in 1987. The 40-year-old San Jose native began his military career in the ROTC as a student at Santa Clara University.

"My response is that I raised my right hand and took an oath to serve and defend our nation," he said.

"Once the decision is made, you have a choice. You can be good with it or not. I try to look forward to everything and make it a positive experience."

Staff writer Angela Woodall covers Newark and Ohlone College. She can be reached at (510) 353-7004 or at awoodall@angnewspapers.com.

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