I was a "Sem" at AGO from '73-its closing.
The time I spent at A.G.O. was a memory in my life I will cherish for
quite some time. I first became involved with AGO as a counselor at
Camp Villa Marie just after I entered the seminary. After the Orphanage
closed I was used by the sisters to check up on foster home placements.
I left the seminary not long after the fire and just as it closed. I was there long enough to see many of the kids I had go to foster homes and other institutions. I had an especially hard time coping with the fire and knew then that I just wasn't priest material. As I said earlier, the nuns would be in contact with me to check on foster placements and what I saw convinced me that for many if not most, AGO was a far better option.
After I left the seminary, I attended Western Ill University where I got a teaching degree in Special Ed. My first job was in Quincy, IL where I met my future wife. Shortly after we were married I took a job with the Boy Scouts of America and was transferred to Ironton, Ohio (right where Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky meet on the Ohio River). We have since lived here 31 years. I left the scouts after a year and began teaching in a rural school district for 28 years. I guess because of my AGO experience, we raised a few kids, put one through college. To be honest, if AGO had not closed I would still have been there. I have to say it was the most influential experience of my life.
I left teaching a few years after they discovered I had a genetic eventually terminal disease called Alpha-1 which destroys lung and liver. My breathing went down to the point where I could no longer get through the day. I now work as a director for the COPD Foundation running the patient information line which is staffed by fellow COPD patients from around the country.
Several years ago I published a story about a time at AGO. I am attaching it with this letter. I am not sure how it would be received by the "homekids" but I will leave it up to you. There were many memories, both good and bad. This story was one of them.
By the way, my AGO name was "howie" Don't know how they came up with it, but they did.
Thanks for putting up the site and including me in your special community.. When you read the story you will understand why I think of AGO at Christmas. I didn't know if it would dredge up bad memories for some. I hope this is not the case.
I am have a few pictures from that time which I am attaching. Hope you find them useful.
From Bill Clark
Mike Pinski, Howie, Dan Pinski
John McNamera (Mac): 2nd row - 1st kid
Steve McNamera: - Bottom Row - between the "D&S" in KIDS
Frank Cozie & Jimmy Goeth - Top row - 1st & 2nd kids
Mike Pinski: Top row - 5th from the left - between "only & one"
Patrick McCann: ? Top row - betweem the letters "U & O" in Flouride
John Kirby: Bottom row - above the "O" in TO
Click here to read Bill's > > >
1973 - "A.G.O. Kids" - posing for Toothpaste Ad.