Monday, January 08, 2007

The Webb Quartet

"Sure, Jim. We're all on board the Jim Train. You call the tune, we'll play the fiddle!"
From left, Chap! Petersen, Greg Galligan, Don McEachin, and Janet Oleszek. Not pictured, but said to be the groups bow stringer and rosin supplier, Jim Webb.

HT/Badrose for the graphics work. (She has a Mac, I can't figure out Photoshop, what can I say?)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thought you might be interested in what Sen Webb is doing:

Webb enlists comrade for new Senate duties
Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Michael "Mac" McGarvey is Sen. Jim Webb's legislative assistant for veterans affairs. McGarvey and Webb have been close friends since the Vietnam War.
WASHINGTON -- Michael "Mac" McGarvey was 18 and a radioman for Jim Webb's Marine Corps rifle platoon in Vietnam when McGarvey's right arm was sliced off.

"The day the piece of shrapnel ripped his arm away just below the shoulder, a clean swipe like a hot knife that left the arm itself intact at his feet, I cried," Webb wrote later.

Fast-forward to the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 4, 2007. Webb, 60, raised his hand to take the oath as a senator from Virginia. McGarvey, 56, and close friend to the man he calls "Skipper" Webb, watched it on TV.

This time, it was the proud McGarvey's turn to get emotional.

"I had tears in my eyes," said McGarvey, a striking presence with a shaved head, mustache and goatee, suspenders and one empty white shirtsleeve.

McGarvey is in Washington now to serve as Webb's legislative assistant for veterans affairs.

He's part of a Senate staff that will total 35 to 40 aides, with a mix of experience, that Virginia's new Democratic senator is putting his stamp on shaping.

Last year, McGarvey was Webb's campaign driver. He operated a camouflaged campaign Jeep and later a motor home and traveled roughly 30,000 miles.

Before that, McGarvey enjoyed the unpaid role of what he calls "sort of an impresario" at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville. He met and greeted folks there and loved the music and atmosphere close by Ryman Auditorium, for years the home of the Grand Ole Opry.

Between 1985 and 2001, McGarvey worked in the Veterans Administration, which eventually became the Department of Veterans Affairs. With only a high school equivalency diploma, he rose to head a prosthetic and sensory aids service at Nashville's Veterans Affairs center. That unit handled about 35,000 patient disabilities per year.

In 1992, Webb went with a group to Vietnam on a humanitarian trip to deliver prosthetic aid to people who had lost limbs in the war.

"Mac was the guy I brought with me," Webb, a former Navy secretary, said last week.

"Particularly on the medical side, he really understands the VA system," Webb said. McGarvey is empathetic and well-respected among veterans' groups, he said.

And he ran "the No. 1 honky-tonk in Nashville, Tennessee," Webb added. "You have to know how to work with people if you're running Tootsie's."

At Webb's temporary office, McGarvey stretched out his left hand to greet a visitor warmly. He seized an opening in an interview and joked about being "short-handed," deflecting any unease. And he acknowledged that he wasn't thrilled at first with the idea of moving to Washington, but Webb won.

"He gave me that Jim Webb look, and said, 'Mac, I need you up here.' Jim's the closest friend I have ever had in my life. There's very little I wouldn't do for him," McGarvey said.

McGarvey had been planning to retire to his native southern Illinois and build a house. He's set that aside now to work for fellow veterans.

"It will allow me the opportunity to look at ways of possibly making life better for not only the veterans, but for VA employees," McGarvey said.

Webb is assigned to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. He wrote about McGarvey in 1982 in a Parade magazine story headlined, "When a One-Armed Man Is Not a Loser."

McGarvey "was my radio operator, which in a Marine rifle platoon is tantamount to shadowhood, alter ego, little brother," Webb wrote. "McGarvey was the fifth radio operator I had lost in three months."

After McGarvey was wounded, Webb wrote, the Marine looked at him, shook his head and said, "Knock that stuff off, Lieutenant. It's only an arm."

Within a week after McGarvey was taken away in a medevac helicopter, he wrote the platoon a letter. Webb continued, "He went to a tattoo shop and had a ring of blue dashes inked around what remained of his arm. Just above it was inscribed 'CUT ALONG DOTTED LINE.'"

McGarvey was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Webb's article detailed the trials of Vietnam veterans and a fellow disabled vet's successful efforts to help get McGarvey a job at a Harley Davidson dealership in Nashville. When it was published, McGarvey was running the parts department.

Paul Reagan, Webb's chief of staff, said Webb has looked to hire a mix of people with Senate experience and expertise on certain issues.

Reagan worked for a number of Virginia congressmen and as a top aide to then-Gov. Mark R. Warner.

As legislative director, Webb hired Michael Sozan, who grew up in Clifton. With degrees from the College of William and Mary and George Washington University law school, he was legislative counsel for Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

Webb also sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee. For his top military adviser, he picked retired Navy Capt. Gordon I. Peterson, a naval aviator with more than 500 combat missions during the Vietnam War.

Peterson attended the Naval Academy with Webb. He was director of congressional and public affairs for the Naval Sea Systems Command and deputy chief of information for the Navy Department.

Louise F. Ware, Webb's state director, managed the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation under then-Gov. Warner and is a longtime Democratic activist.

Conaway B. Haskins III, deputy state director, has worked as senior program officer for the Cameron Foundation, a nonprofit group in the Petersburg area. He also has been a blogger.

Webb has opened regional offices in Richmond and Roanoke and plans offices also in Hampton Roads and in Southwest Virginia, possibly in Castlewood.