SGM Big Bear High School Education Foundation
Home : Newsletter
Mini-Grants for Educators
Scholarships For Graduates
Events and Fundraisers
Board & Committees
Ways to Become Involved
Contact The Foundation
After School Programs
SGM Big Bear High School Education Foundation Alumni Newsletter
September 5, 2005

Well, It has only been a couple of weeks since our last SGM/Big Bear High School Newsletter but so much is going on and I have had some great e-mail so here goes:

Received the following e mail from Don Gifford:
Hello Big Bear Family,
Wanted to let you know that Coach Jack Oksnee is seriously ill with Parkinson's disease, and can't move. He is in a health facility near his home in La Quinta. He would enjoy hearing from you. Norma reads to him, it really cheers them up. Send your encouragement to the following address:

Jack Oksnee
45-420 Desert Eagle Court
La Quinta, CA 92253
Thanks, Coach Don Gifford

Feel free to call me (909) 792-9588 or Pam/Scott
Ed's noted: I would image that more than a few of you received drivers education or was coached by Mr. Oxsnee. None of you will forget the "strip tease" cheers he did for homecoming for many, many years. Take a moment to write a note to the address above and let Jack know how much he meant to you.

Hi Al,

I hope that this note finds you well. My bohemian spirit still seems to define me. I am teaching in Park City, math to 6th and 7th graders, but my passion is to write. I love writing and receive kudos on a regular basis. I spent June in California with my daughter and my parents including a jaunt down Highway one with a respite at Hearst Castle and Solvang (a pilgrimage to the movie "Sideways"). I want to attempt to spearhead some sort of reunion, it's been 40 years -and I don't feel a day over 30ish. Could you put something in your newsletter? Perhaps big and bold...Looking for members of the Class of '66. They can email me I'll be in Big Bear to see my nephews play in the fall, but I'd love to see my classmates. I see Marilynn regularly (college roomy reunions) but I've lost touch of everyone else, must be a 60s thing. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Dianne (Sanchez) Vance class of 1963.

Roxanne Carroll, class of 1981 sent the following e-mail to Neal (my son).
Hi Neal. It's Roxanne Dowell (Carroll). I graduated with you and I saw you and your family at the 20-year reunion. You were so nice to me, which I so appreciated......I was just such a wallflower at BBHS, it wasn't even funny. Anyway, some e-mail popped up reminding me about the 25-year reunion, which I can't make, due to us preparing to move......(military).....again. Anyway, no real reason for this email. Just wanted to say hi.

I'm retired now, but my husband is a Chief Master Sergeant and still serving. But here's a link to a neat story that ran last year. Right before I retired.

Roxanne's e-mail was linked to a wonderful story about Roxanne serving in Iraq. Neal asked Roxanne if she would mind sharing the story with the alumni newsletter. Here is her response:

Oh, Neal.....I'd be honored. Actually, I've gotten plenty of publicity, local newscasts picked up the story, Kansas City Star and local Wichita papers ran it, and even Guideposts earlier this spring. I've gotten far more credit, quite frankly, than I deserve. The real heroes are the doctors....not me.

But, having said that, I suppose deep in my heart, it still remains one of the most touching and wonderful things that's ever happened to me. I believe God put me there at that time for a reason....and I played a very small role, truth be told. But, the family was dirt poor, had no hopes, and everyone said she'd never walk again. And Dr. Poffenbarger changed her life.

Wow.....your organization and funding of scholarships....that's truly amazing. It's very admirable that you're so involved in education and our youth. A chip off the old' block, one might say. ha ha

I have three children, from 17 to 6. We live in Kansas but are "hot" for an assignment. Please use the article as you see fit. Again, take care............

Best Regards, Roxanne
Take time to read this news article.
July 27, 2004

SOUTHWEST ASIA - While deployed in Southwest Asia, Tech. Sgt. Roxanne Dowell, 22nd Communications Squadron, seized the opportunity to help a family in need. Diyar, the youngest daughter in the family, was shot three times and partially paralyzed until the McConnell sergeant located help for her after hearing her grandmother pleading for help.

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AMCNS) What began as a typical deployment to Southwest Asia turned into the TDY of a lifetime for one McConnell NCO.

Tech. Sgt. Roxanne Dowell, 22nd Communications Squadron information manager, played a pivotal role in securing rehabilitative surgery for an injured Iraqi child while deployed to Tallil AB, Iraq, located near Nasiriyah.

Through her persistent efforts, she was able to find a surgeon who would remove a bullet from a young girl's back. The bullet was causing partial paralysis from the waist down.

The girl, Diyar (pronounced "De are") age 4, was shot three times by unknown assailants as her family was traveling in their car. Diyar's brother was shot in the face, and her older sister was also slightly wounded. Her parents were uninjured in the attack.

South Korean surgeons operated on Diyar and were able to remove two of the bullets, but couldn't remove the third because it was lodged in her spinal column, leaving her partially paralyzed. Around this same time, half way through her tour, Sergeant Dowell wondered if there were any volunteer opportunities that she could take part in during the remainder of her deployment. One of her co-workers told her about an opportunity to volunteer at the Korean clinic.

The clinic, which was located on base, was operated by the South Koreans, who provided humanitarian care to the Iraqi people. Sergeant Dowell said that the clinic would send a bus into the local community, pick up anyone who needed medical care most of whom were children - and bring them back to the clinic, then return them after treatment.

Sergeant Dowell vividly remembers the first time she saw Diyar. "When I walked in the clinic, I was struck by what I saw young children badly injured," she said. "I remembered walking to the room; I saw this 4-year-old lying in her bed with her back to me. Her grandmother was crying. I asked, through a translator, what happened. The answer was that she had been shot."

Sergeant Dowell visited Diyar and her family almost every day for two weeks getting to know the girl and her family, and vise-versa. One day, she went to the clinic for a normal visit and the translators met her at the entrance and said they were going to release Diyar.

"Diyar's grandmother was crying and through a translator saying please help, please see what you can do," said Sergeant Dowell. "I told her grandmother that I would see what I could do, I would try." "I was overcome and sad because it was probably the last time I was going to see her," she added. Sergeant Dowell drove away from the clinic, upset and in tears. But 10 minutes after she left the clinic, she said she heard a two-minute report on Armed Forces Network about a doctor named Dr. Eaman Algobory, an Iraqi physician who arranged for free airlift and medical care for injured Iraqi children. "I thought I have to try to contact her," said Sergeant Dowell.

"I made several phone calls, and I was finally able to track down the person who did the story." Sergeant Dowell said. "Then, through a series of e-mails, I was able to get the information on how to contact Dr. Algobory. Once I got her number and called her, and during the course of our conversation, I got her e-mail address. I then sent her the pictures of Diyar, along with the x-ray and all the other medical information I could get my hands on. I asked if she thought there was anyone anywhere that could help this little girl. She replied she would see what she could do." A week later, Sergeant Dowell received an e-mail from an Army Dr. (Lt. Col.) Jeff Poffenbarger, a neurosurgeon with the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.

"In the e-mail, Dr. Poffenbarger said that if I could get Diyar to Baghdad, he would be glad to see her and he thought he could help her," she said.

On her last day in Iraq, Sergeant Dowell made her final trip the clinic. Diyar had already been released, but the translators at the clinic were relaying messages to and from the family to Sergeant Dowell.

She gave Diyar's family some money, Dr Algobory's phone number, and tried to work out an agreeable place and time to meet Dr. Algobory. She also ensured that Dr. Poffenbarger knew when and where to expect Diyar so he could evaluate her. Doctor Algobory met the family and helped them through the check-in process at the 31st Combat Support Hospital.

"The day I left Baghdad was a bittersweet day, because as I was leaving, I knew Diyar was on her way into Baghdad to see Dr Poffenbarger," said Sergeant Dowell.

Dr. Poffenbarger operated on Diyar July 6 and by July 8 she was able to stand at the edge of her bed. He said she was recovering very well and she would walk again.

When asked how she felt knowing that the little girl she saw lying in the hospital is now going to have a normal life again, Sergeant Dowell responded that she was so very grateful to those who helped.

"I don't think I did anything special but did what anyone else would have done I said I would try and that is what I did, try," said Sergeant Dowell. "As a mother of a four-year-old, I would like to think that someone would have tried to help my daughter, and that is all I was thinking I would want someone to help my daughter. Miraculously, so many people were willing to help."

Sergeant Dowell gives credit to the Korean doctors, Dr. Algobory, Dr. Poffenbarger and the translators, one of whom offered his car to personally transport Diyar and her family to Baghdad, as being the real heroes of this story. She said that everyone was so helpful through out the process and no one hesitated to do what they could.

Sergeant Dowell has received several e-mails from Dr. Poffenbarger about Diyar's progress. Dr. Poffenbarger says that Diyar is recovering better than expected; she will make a full recovery and learn to walk again.

Received a newsy response to our August e-mail from Bill Crawford, a high school student and member of the Community Youth Group. I asked if I could use his note and he responded yes. Enjoy!!!!

Received the following e-mail following the August newsletter. I wrote and asked Bill if I could send his e-mail out in the September newsletter and he said yes. Here is Bill Crawford's e-mail.
Hi Dr. Al,

Tom Monroe forwarded me the latest copy of the newsletter you are putting out for alumni, was unaware that such a thing existed. Sorry to say that I read through the whole thing and, except for yours, did not recognize a single name. Been away too long. When possible, it would be nice to have the year of graduation along with people's names.

I do have fond memories of Big Bear. Not only of the High School, but also of you. I believe it was about when we started at Bear Valley Community Church that you took on the responsibility for the High School group (around '72 or '73). For at least 2 of those years I believe that I somehow got myself elected president of that group and I remember spending lots of time with you planning activities. I also remember going out with you on, I believe, Monday evenings when someone new had shown up the evening before and we would find where they lived and let them know we were glad they came. You were and incredibly dedicated man of God and definitely left a lasting mark on my life.

You probably don't recall, but I did not leave BBHS with the best of grades (1976). I dropped out of college shortly thereafter and bummed around for a while, but eventually did go back to school around 1980. I think the last time I saw you was around 1982, in the book store at Pine Summit, one day when I stopped in after driving up to go skiing.

I did graduate from Point Loma in 1985, and barely missed out on graduating with honors (3.4 GPA when I needed a 3.5),a big change from when I graduated from High School. My official degree is Computer Science, but almost had enough credits for degrees also in Math and Physics. Actually meant to graduate with a degree in Physics (like Dad), but I found Computer Science to be extremely easy and that was the first subject for which I got the prerequisites out of the way so that is the one I got. Went to work for TRW in San Diego. Meet my wife there, she was recently divorced at the time with a young son. Lived in the San Diego area until 1997, when Chris (my step son) was going into High School. With all the drugs, gangs, and other problems in the San Diego area, we wanted to see if we could get him a better High School Experience. So we loaded up the vehicles, started up Interstate 5 and did not stop until we got within 10 miles of the Canada border. We now live in Ferndale, Washington. Was a great move and we believe a good one for Chris. We love it up here and would not think about leaving. But an interesting turn of events in that Chris ended up back in San Diego. He is a corpsman in the Navy and is currently serving out at Camp Pendleton (the Marines don't have medical personnel, so Navy Corpsmen are deployed with the marines). And he loves it down there, is into surfing and all that type stuff. He did do 2 tours in Iraq and by the grace of God came through without any physical damage. But we do pray for what he went through mentally, on this second tour they lost about 10 guys from their 28 man platoon and, him being the corpsman, he faced life and death in ways that I can not even start to imagine. It saddens me to think that is something he will carry with him for the rest of his life. Although, 3 years ago, he asked to be placed with the Marines, he has now asked to be transferred to a position that will keep him in San Diego. And it looks like he is going to get it. Probably working out at North Island NAS (Coronado Island).

Lori and I are very active in our church. It is one of the local Mega-churches (Christ the King in Bellingham) with up to 4,000 attending on a weekend. Lori is their director of Accounting at the church, a more than full time job. I work for a company called Alpha Technologies. We build equipment for the cable TV industry. We make what are known as broadband powering devices, which are the devices that keep the juice going to all the equipment on the telephone poles and running down to your house. We have the vast majority of the domestic market, so chances are that within a mile or 2 of you there is a big gray box on a telephone pole with the Alpha logo on it that is running software in it that I wrote. I am in charge of designing the self-diagnostic systems that detect when the equipment is having problems and sends a signal back to the main office before there is an actual failure.

Both my Brother (Sam)and Father (Sam)are also up here, you may remember them. Brother Sam moved up here first, and is now a politician (sits on the County Council, kind of the equivalent of a County Supervisor). My brother played piano back in youth group, you may remember him. Mom was up here but passed away 3 years ago. Dad remarried about a year ago and seems to have a new lease on life.

Please do add me to your distribution list. It will be fun to hear from you whenever you do publish.

- Bill Crawford


This next e-mail is long but the class of 1985 is going to have a wonderful reunion. Enjoy!!!!

Wow, it's been a busy month! And we've got just about 1 1/2 months to go until the reunion! We've got several new classmate registrations or contact. Welcome Sharon Chamness, Jenny Boucher, James Glass and Jeff Davis! For those of you who have not yet posted your bio, this is a great way for old friends to get back in touch with you. And don't forget about that guestbook....what a kick! The BBHS Class of 1985 discounted rate of $119/night at the Northwoods Resorts will expire on 9/7/05. After that, rooms will go up to $139-$149/night. So, be sure and get your room reserved today and save $40-$60 on your two night stay. If you are looking for a special weekend getaway with a little more romance and privacy, check out the Alpenhorn Bed and Breakfast. The Alpenhorn is one of our generous sponsors and is offering a 10% discount for the reunion weekend.

Event ticket purchases must be made online at by Wednesday, 9/14/05. If you need to make arrangements to send a check, please contact me ASAP at

The deadline for ordering your reunion merchandise is 9/9/05. You don't want to miss out on getting your baseball caps, t-shirts and sweatshirts adorned with our own reunion logo. Remember, buy all three items and save $10.Great to wear at the family picnic!

Don't forget about those raffle tickets! Tickets are only $5.00 and there are some great prizes. Click on for a complete listing of what we've collected so far.

Important information about event ticket purchases! Event ticket purchases must be made online at by Wednesday, 9/14/05. If you need to make arrangements to send a check, please contact me at Event tickets purchased after 9/14/05 will incur an additional charge.

Have you purchased your reunion merchandise yet? Time is passing quickly. If you want your merchandise delivered at the reunion, you need to order quickly to save paying for shipping. The baseball caps, t-shirts and sweatshirts are awesome, high quality and priced affordability. Buy all three in a set and save $10.

Be sure to purchase your raffle tickets! Take a look at the list of awesome prizes we have so far:
  • Bear Mountain Resort - (2) 2005/2006 Lift Tickets and (2) rounds of golf w/cart WOW!
  • Adam's Titanium Driver - $300 value
  • Alpine Slide/Magic Mountain - $300 in tickets
  • Alpenhorn Bed and Breakfast - 1 night stay/$220 value
  • Tommy Lasorda Autographed Baseball
  • Butcher's Block - $60 Coleman Ice Chest
  • Captain's Anchorage - $50 Gift Certificate
  • La Montana - $50 Gift Certificate
  • Riffenburgh Lumber - $50 Belt Sander
  • Community Market - $50 Gift Certificate
  • Maggio's Pizza - $25 Gift Certificate
  • 2 Free Pizzas and Soda from Village Pizza
A special thanks to Danny Enger and Sean Jacques for working so hard at getting raffle prizes and sponsors! Also to the Enger family for their generosity in providing the Moon Bounce at the family picnic on Sunday!

Calling for photos! We would love to have some photos for the site and program. Please send your favorites to me in jpeg, gif, pdf to They can be from the past, present or the 10-year reunion.

I received a second e-mail form Annette Nueske and some of the information is new, so hear goes:

We have arranged to have a reserved area at La Montana on Friday, 9/30/05 for a pre-reunion mixer. Those who attended the 10-year will agree that one evening is just not enough time to get caught up. So let's enjoy a weekend of fun and memories. Kick off will be at La Montana on Friday at 7:00PM. Enjoy happy hour prices, good friends and maybe a game or two of horseshoes!

Many of you have now purchased your main event tickets. Thank you! This is the best way for us to know for certain who and how many will be in attendance. This enables us to better prepare and ensure that the weekend is a hit. If you have not purchased your main event tickets, please do so when you get a chance. We'll get you down as a confirmed attendee.

Don't forget to buy those raffle tickets and your reunion merchandise. I cannot stress enough how awesome the baseball caps, t-shirts and sweatshirts will be and we would love to have yours waiting for you at the main event. You can show them off at the family picnic on Sunday.

We've added some more great raffle prizes thanks to the hard work of Danny Enger. Man does this guy have contacts! Bear Mountain Resorts continues to give awesome prizes. Look what else they have offered up:

(2) tickets worth $40.00 each to Dukes of Malibu *restaurant, bar* (2) free tickets to the Palm Springs tram (1) $40.00 coupon for a free bike rental or tour in San Diego.

Visit and go to the "raffle prizes" page to view the entire list of prizes. There is no limit on the number of tickets to purchase. And remember, the proceeds will be split between two great causes; the Steven G. Mihaylo Big Bear Education Foundation ( and the Class of 1985 reunion fund. Proceeds from the merchandise sales will also be split. So open up your heart and your wallet and get your raffle tickets and merchandise today.

We haven't removed anyone from the MIA list lately and we've got a ways to go. Please be sure to pass on the website address ( and my contact information. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you to our sponsors:


Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain

Alpenhorn Bed & Breakfast
Chuck & Robbie Slemaker
Reservations 888-829-6600

Big Bear Mountain Resorts

Daniel R. Enger Construction

Kerst Scenic Photography, Inc.

Wing's Jewelers


Harper PonTell Properties

Knight Plumbing Service

The Little Green House


Bear Valley Bikes

Butcher's Block Building Material

Captain's Anchorage Restaurant

Community Market

La Montana Inc.

Maggios Pizza

Riffenburgh Lumber

Village Pizza
Previous eNews/Newsletters:
- 04/20/2012
- 03/30/2012
- 10/02/2009
- 09/18/2009
- 08/21/2009
- 08/07/2009
- 11/05/2008
- 09/30/2008
- 07/29/2008
- 07/01/2008
- 06/04/2008
- 05/14/2008
- 04/21/2008
- 04/02/2008
- 03/16/2008
- 02/29/2008
- 02/29/2008
- 02/03/2008
- 01/17/2008
- 12/07/2007
- 11/15/2007
- 10/25/2007
- 08/25/2007
- 08/01/2007
- 06/18/2007
- 05/17/2007
- 04/22/2007
- 03/25/2007
- 02/25/2007
- 02/04/2007
- 01/10/2007
- 12/28/2006
- 11/26/2006
- 09/27/2006
- 09/06/2006
- 08/02/2006
- 07/09/2006
- 06/05/2006
- 05/13/2006
- 03/29/2006
- 02/28/2006
- 01/22/2006
- 12/06/2005
- 11/22/2005
- 10/01/2005
- 09/05/2005
- 08/22/2005
- 08/13/2005
- 07/11/2005
- 06/06/2005
- 05/11/2005
- 03/29/2005
- 03/13/2005
- 02/14/2005
- 01/21/2005
- 12/15/2004
- 11/07/2004
- 09/26/2004
- 08/05/2004
- 07/12/2004
- 06/06/2004
- 05/07/2004
- 03/21/2004
- 03/14/2004
- 01/24/2004
- 12/21/2003
- 11/10/2003
- 10/03/2003
- 09/12/2003
- 08/23/2003
- 07/30/2003
- 06/26/2003

- Summer 2002, Volume 1, Issue 2: PDF Version (4.4 MB)
- Fall 2001: PDF Version (3.9 MB)
| Home | About the Foundation | Newsletter | Sponsors |
SGM/BBHS Educational Foundation
Box 1529
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
©2002-2019 SGM Big Bear High School Education Foundation