The Patriotic Draftman

True Stories from the 20th Century at Pacificorp

By J. Charles Cheek[1]

© May 2004

The Patriotic Draftsman

Hundreds of Vietnam Peace Marchers were parading south on SW 6th Avenue in downtown Portland. The leader was carrying an American Flag held upside down. The local media was filming the whole procession and interviewing participants and observers. Suddenly, someone darted out from the sidewalk, wrestled the flag away from the parade leader then proceeded to chew his butt and lecture him on patriotism. It was Bud Romans, one of the draftsmen that reported to me.

The media rushed in and interviewed Bud extensively. Of course the interview was the lead story on the evening television news and identified Bud as a Pacific Power & Light Company employee. The VP of Engineering, Jack Stiles, wanted Romans fired for dragging the company name into the political quagmire of the Vietnam War. The word came down through two levels of supervision that I could have the honor of telling him he was fired. I was not pleased to be selected for the task.

I jumped the two level of supervision, went straight to the VP’s office and asked for a private talk. I convinced him that firing Romans would only make it worse as Romans would go directly to the media and tell them he had been fired for being a patriotic American. The VP reluctantly agreed then called me up the next day and thanked me for intervening. “I got caught up in the emotion of it,” said Stiles.

Romans quit a few months later and became a successful charter fishing boat captain on the Oregon Coast.

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[1] Mr. Cheek has written dozens short stories under the general headings of True Stores from the 20th Century at Pacificorp and Digressions of J. Charles. He is also the author of the novel Stay Safe, Buddy – A Story of Humor and Horror during the Korean War,300 pages, Publish America ISBN # 159286631X

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