Bob and Pam Sampers are proud of all of their children and grandchildren but they are bursting at the seams as they talk about the military accomplishments of Nathan and Dacia, cousins but born on the same day.
Nathan Glandon, son of Don and Deb (Sampers) Glandon, Abilene, Texas, graduated from Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., with a bachelor of science degree in systems engineering management and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force on May 28.
President George Bush addressed the 50th graduating class at the academy. He told the graduates, "I am so pleased to stand before the future leaders of the United States Air Force. In becoming officers of the United States Air Force, you have chosen a vocation that is both hazardous and rewarding. As a former F-102 pilot, I know the exhilaration of flight. As the son of an aviator who was shot down in combat, I know its perils. Whether you serve in the skies above or on the ground below, each of you has stepped forward to defend your country. You've chosen to face danger in foreign lands so your fellow citizens do not have to face danger in our own land. And I want to thank you for making this courageous choice. And all of America is grateful to the Class of 2008."
Nathan did flips as he received his diploma, his actions captured on CNN news.
The traditional fly over by the U.S. Air Force demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, concluded the ceremony and as they passed the air was still filled with excitement as more than 1,000 hats filled the air in celebration of the cadets' work during the last four years.
And as tradition, children were allowed to run onto the field to collect the hats; each containing $20,08, signifying the year 2008. Nathan's cousin, 10-year-old Kasey Bertsch, son of Ron and Cindy (Sampers) Bertsch, was one of the lucky ones. He proudly wore his hat off the field.
In attendance at the graduation were Nathan's parents; his sister Lynette, Dallas, Texas; grandparents Bob and Pam Sampers, Alta and Shirley Glandon; aunts and uncles - Sidney Hiser, Austin, Texas; Ron and Cindy (Sampers) Bertsch and Kasey, Fargo, N.D. and great-aunt Marsha Heinsohn, Storm Lake.
OS2 Dacia Sampers, daughter of Ron and Cindy (Sampers) Bertsch, recently received the Navy Achievement Award for outstanding service on the U.S.S. McCampbell in the South China Seas recently. She is now in San Diago going to school until July 18. She will then be in North Dakota on leave before leaving for her next assignment aboard the U.S.S. George Washington Aircraft Carrier which will be afloat in the South China Seas.
Dacia is the sister of Carrie (Troy) Vetter, Brian and Kasey (the same little boy who claimed a hat at his cousin's graduation from the Air Force Academy.