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Recollections of Reggie

I feel fortunate to have been part of the HVO "family" during Reggie's tenure. His love of HVO and the spirit of aloha with which he treated members of its staff and their families went far to make the HVO experience so special and memorable. Reggie was wholly dedicated to the success of HVO and the morale of its staff. Reggie put in lots of "all-nighters" during the early days of the Pu'u 'O'o eruption, and he often stuck his neck out pretty far to make the necessary logistic support for eruption studies available. He was fun to know and be around. It's a pleasure to recall the occasional HVO luau, great HVO picnics at Namakani Paio, and numerous impromptu TGIFs in Reggie's office.

Reggie's concern about and support of staff and their family members went way beyond what one ever expects to find in a government agency--even the USGS. I can think of several major contributions Reggie made to my family in Hawaii--all initiated by Reggie and a consequence of his concerned interest in HVO folks, his outgoing personality, and his Island-wide connections:

  • He helped my stepson, David, find a welcome part-time job (just right for a UHH student) at the USGS-WRD office in Hilo.
  • In 1984, when Rita and I decided to move from the National Park to Hilo, Reggie connected us with a neighbor who needed a house-sitter for two years and whose home we thoroughly enjoyed.
  • He also connected us with a couple who were long-term Hilo residents but who, like us, came from the Southwest, and who, like Rita, spoke Spanish as well as English. They became close friends during our several happy years in Hilo.

Reggie loved a spectacle, whether it was provided by tourists on the overlook outside the old HVO building (now the Jaggar Museum) or by Pele in the caldera, and he loved to party. In the late 1980s (1986?), there was a tsunami threat one day to Hilo, and residents were evacuated from the low-lying parts of Hilo. When I drove down from Humuula Saddle at the end of the day, every viewpoint on the approach to Hilo was lined with cars, and the local residents were out in force along the roadsides, drinking beer, partying, and watching for the tsunami (which never materialized). But the best and most imaginative tsunami party of all was on my own street?on Reggie's roof?where he and some cronies were sitting in chairs astride the roof peak, watching for the arrival of the tsunami.

Reg, You sure enriched our years at HVO!

Edward W. Wolfe
USGS Scientist Emeritus

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Updated: 5 Mar 1999