Friday, August 24, 2007
By MC2 Alexis R. Brown Navy Compass Staff
Mike Reagan, Son of late President Ronald Reagan and national radio personality, visited downtown San Diego Aug. 20 to announce plans and dates for the Reagan Golf Classic and Legacy Dinner scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10.
Proceeds from the events will benefit Sailors serving aboard the San Diego-based USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) through the Michael and Colleen Reagan Scholarship Fund.
The fund was created to support Reagan Sailors by augmenting the Navy Tuition Assistance program for Sailors to further their education.
During a press conference at a park near the Midway Museum, Reagan said that the event would be unique and something that he knows his father would appreciate.
"There are so many things that I feel my father would have been involved in had he been able to live longer and if he was younger also-- the USS Ronald Reagan, Alzheimer's Research...," said Reagan. "I thought it would be great to start a foundation, raise money and give to those organizations each and every year."
Reagan said the fundraiser also benefits the Navy League and Armed Services YMCA for their continued support of Sailors and their families within the San Diego area.
President Reagan was known and is remembered for many things such as his stance against communism, getting the Soviet Union to leave Berlin and encouraging the push for tearing down the Berlin wall. He is also known for his acting roles and was nicknamed "The Great Communicator."
"He was so loved and beloved by so many not only here at home but by those people around the world. In fact, it's interesting because those people around the world got to know him and appreciate him more first than we did. It took a little bit longer," said Reagan.
"To be Mike Reagan and carry on that legacy and be able to help the men and women of the USS Ronald Reagan and others in his name and honor is a blessing to me. And to be able to walk on that ship and talk to Sailors, because I am the closest that they would have ever gotten to Ronald Reagan, and share his stories with them, makes me feel good and hopefully makes them feel good too."
Commander, Navy Region Southwest Rear Adm. Len Hering said the Reagan legacy is a strong one for a number of reasons: the importance of diplomacy and support of our military.
"The state of California was blessed to have President Ronald Reagan. He was one of those individuals who will stand out in history as being a supporter and a true individual that understands the relevancy of making sure that we maintain a strong defense and provide the support necessary as a nation, for those who have sacrificed their lives if necessary, for the protection of our freedoms," said Hering.
"With that said, that legacy is so very important and carried on by so many around this country. Here in San Diego, we are blessed to have such strong organizations like the Armed Services YMCA, USO and the Navy League to continue to promote
and understand the importance of what dedicated Sailors we have in our ranks and what it takes to keep this country free."
Reagan added that he looks forward to continuing his father's legacy through various non-profit organizations he is involved in as well as giving back to the Sailors of his father's namesake ship.
He said, "I plan to have this going on for a long time. I don't want it to stop. The Navy has been around a long time and I think they will be around a long time after I'm gone. And I see members of my family, Cameron and Ashley following on after me," said Reagan.
"We have a commitment to this ship - it has a 50-year lifespan; I may not last the 50 years, but I have kids in the pipeline who will last 50 years beyond me. They love coming down to the ship and meeting with the Sailors also and saying hello and it means a lot to them as it means a lot to me."