Hats off to James Hagerty


To the Editor:

I want to give a salute and huge shout-out to James Hagerty (Lt. Col.), the town administrator for the town of Edgartown.

My wife Phyllis and I drove along Atlantic Drive at South Beach this weekend to look at the finished product of all the damage Mother Earth and her storms did to the beach, the dunes, and the road.

I grew up in Edgartown on Katama Road. As a kid, our lives circled around South Beach and the Bunker.

We used to be able to sleep on the beach at night in the summer — no problems or permits — have giant bonfires and beach parties, and we all learned how to swim in those crazy, strong currents and waves.

Many of us as kids learned how to march in formation along Atlantic Drive, back and forth from Left to Right Forks when we were in the Edgartown Boys Club Drum and Bugle Corps.

George Luce taught us all how to play the drums and bugles, and we played in every parade — in uniforms — held in Edgartown for as long as I can remember. 

Actually, George teaching us how to honorably march in formation was totally invaluable to me when I joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1969 at Parris Island.

In 1969, when we graduated from MVRHS, our class picture of our entire class was taken as we sat and stood on top of the Bunker for the inside cover of the graduation yearbook.

In fact, when we had our class’ 50th reunion, we all met at where the Bunker once stood at the beach. We were given an aerial picture taken by the U.S. Coast Guard of where the Bunker is now, which is more than 400 feet out to sea, and could be clearly seen from above.

Phyllis and I went there after the last storm; everything was closed off, and we took pictures of the destruction.

After two-plus months, it was reported that everything was finally repaired, the dunes, the beach, and Atlantic Drive, so we went up to see and take pictures and videos.

To our absolute, total amazement, we witnessed the beautiful, miraculous finished product.

That two-plus-month impossible mission could only have been proudly accomplished by an Island native son who honorably left the Island after graduation, joined the Marines, becoming an officer, went to war, and returned to our Island after honorably serving our country and becoming the new town administrator of Edgartown.

Just a perfect example of another Island native growing up here, coming from a military background, returning to the Island he loved, marrying a talented, beautiful wife and now raising two wonderful children in Edgartown.

I salute you, my fellow Marine, my Island native brother; you have made all of us proud as you continue to serve our country and our Island. Semper Fi.

Woody and Phyllis Williams
Vineyard Haven