Christine LaGana Announces Retirement
Dr. Christine LaGana was President of AVAPL 1994-95,
the beginning of a tumultuous time for VA psychologists.
Her leadership helped guide AVAPL and VA psychology
through this time, eventually leading to the thriving
organization and profession of today. Dr. LaGana has
recently announced her retirement from VA, and AVAPL
wishes her well as she moves to the next phase of her
|I’ve returned from the
End of the World and I have had an Epiphany.
||I have returned from
my Bucket List trip and have accomplished four
major items on my Bucket List: Visit the
Antarctic, Dance the Tango, Sing Karaoke, and
Decide to Retire!
|Yes! I have set foot
on the Lost Continent (Antarctica), being one of
less than 70,000 people in the history of the
world to do so. Despite being diagnosed with
Parkinson's Disease for 14 years, I was able to
walk/trek dangerous unpaved icy terrains for
over 4.5 hours with no substantial breaks in
sub-zero degree weather with 20 mile-per-hr
winds. I met an Emperor Penguin, who thought I
was his Empress. Whoo!!!
When not on Antarctica, I took Tango lessons
- also a Bucket List item - and got up the nerve
to sing Karaoke! In fact, I became sort of a
celebrity on the ship for my absolute "In Your
Face" attitude about being an AWFUL singer.
After all, they did advertise that Karaoke was
great when you were good but even better when
you were bad. By my third performance, they
actually chanted my name when it was my turn to
sing!!! Over the course of the cruise, I sang
(all VERY Badly):
- "I will Survive"
- "Chapel of Love"
- "I will Always Love You"
- Memory (from “Cats”)
So. By the end of the cruise - on the cruise
ship of 2500 passengers - everyone knew my
name. They would call out “Hola,
Christine!” from across the ship and ask
to have their pictures taken with the woman with
the sense of style, the sense of humor, and the
relentless spirit for living. All because
of my hats and my willingness to jump up and
sing karaoke REALLY AWFULLY.(check me out on
face book – it’s truly awful).
Several people hugged me on the last day and
thanked me for being so inspirational. Go
My Epiphany was that I had
become who I was meant to be.
And that’s the way I want to go out…..
I have decided to retire, effective February
28th. I have had a phenomenal career in
the VA and can’t imagine wanting more
professionally. It is time for me now to
be just me. I have a globe to travel,
places to see and people to meet.
||And when things get
tough around here in the old VA System, just
remember…..a 5’4”, 63 year old woman with a 14
year history of Parkinson’s Disease, set foot on
the Forgotten Continent of Antarctica, hiked for
5 hours with penguins, danced the tango, and
sang Karaoke really REALLLY badly, and became
the sweetheart of 2500 passengers……..it may not
help you get thru the day, but it should bring a
smile to your face!
Remembering Dr. Jim Besyner
Donations to the American Heart Association in memory of
Dr. Besyner may be made
Donations to the American Red Cross may be made
Donations to the American Board of Professional
Psychology (ABPP) may be made
The AVAPL Business Meeting at the APA
Convention in San Diego was fortunate to have 10
previous Presidents in attendance to welcome incoming President George
Shorter and newly elected President-Elect Jim Besyner.
In the photo above, left to right, are Jim Besyner
(President-Elect), Terry Keane (2004-2005), Ed
Nightingale (1991-1992), Kathy McNamara (2005-2006),
Mark Hinterthuer (2008-2009), George Shorter
(President), Judy Patterson (2001-2002), June Malone
(2009-2010), Bob Kerns (1992-1993), Bob Gresen
(1997-1998), Rod Baker (1982-1983), and Jeff Burk
(1999-2000). Click the picture to view it in a larger
Alexander Boeringa and Phil Laughlin
We at AVAPL have fond
memories of and a special appreciation for those who helped make
this organization a success. Two such individuals are Alexander
Boeringa, retired Chief of Psychology Service at the Houston VAMC
and former President and Secretary-Treasurer of AVAPL, and Phil
Laughlin, retired Chief of Psychology Service at the Knoxville
(Iowa) VAMC and also former President of AVAPL. Since his
retirement, Alexander has been exploring and working in Europe, and
he sends us his greetings and a few pictures. Alexander would love
to receive e-mail from his friends and colleagues. You may contact
him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
left to right: Phil Laughlin, Ruth Laughlin, and Alexander
currently living in Europe and teaching for the University of
Maryland and recently had a visit from Phil and Ruth Laughlin.
We spent a wonderful two days touring the part of England near
my house before they traveled on to Scotland and Ireland. We
visited a grand cathedral, the ruins of a 1000 year old Priory
and some typical small English villages among other places. Of
course we stopped in a few Pubs along the way to soak up
refreshments and local color. We want to wish a warm hello to
all our friends out there, as well as to remind you that there
is life after retirement, and it IS sweet!
||(Left: Phil Laughlin and Alexander Boeringa)
(Right: Phil and Ruth Laughlin)