Billy & Preston at the Nesbitt’s Granby “Cabin”
…my favorite photo of Preston
All stories have to start somewhere. Preston’s start was with a BANG! Literally!
April 8, 1972
Cheryl with Mark Berent & Judy Stubbs at our First Anniversary
Jeff & Carol Croft looking on
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Below: Cheryl during a North Vietnamese/Khmer Rouge attack
Communist forces attacked the radio station a half-mile from our villa. We were on alert!
Cheryl and I were in Cambodia 1971 – 1972. We celebrated our first year together along with a major communist rocket attack occurring the same night. AND very loudly marking our anniversary making it ever more memorable.
We experienced numerous nightly rocket attacks. Often we moved the airplanes to safer locations such as Battambang (NW Cambodia) or Bangkok, Thailand. One night the US military (the same folks President Nixon and Henry Kissinger were stating were not in Cambodia) rescued us.
We were loaded into a military jeep, driven by Army MSgt. Percy Burns. Our jeep rounded a corner, going like a bat outta Hades. Percy slammed on the brakes when two pajama clad – pith hat wearing – AK-47 wielding, men came out of the tall grass and pointed their weapons at us. We all thought “that was it!” Fortunately, our scare turned out to be two members of the Cambodian Home Guard. Apparently, they dress very much the same as the bad guys! We all sighed a nerve-rattling “WHEW!”
We continued to the US military compound and watched the Bogart movie “Casablanca” while seated on the roof. It was surreal. 122mm and 40mm rockets fell less than a mile a way. We were lucky that the rockets were poorly aimed. Unfortunate for several hundred refugees who were killed when a 122mm rocket hit their camp. We saw much sadness during this adventure.
Weeks later, we were sound asleep on the second floor of the villa we shared with Jeff and Carol Croft. Jeff was also a captain flying the C-131s.
The air conditioner quit in their room. So, they pulled their mattress into our still air-conditioned bedroom. Our A/C worked but it chattered emulating the sound of a .50 calibre machine gun! Still, we slept! Bizarre!
💥BOOM!💥SHAKE! RUMBLE! A 122 mm rocket hit the villa directly across the street! Then, not a sound inside or outside our quarters.The room was very still.
Cheryl’s fingernails were imbedded in my thigh! …actually drawing blood. TOTAL silence! Uncertain that her three “roommates” may be dead, she exclaimed, “DID YOU HEAR THAT!”
YUP! It’d be a tad difficult to sleep thru an explosion that knocked a 4′ by 5′ hole in our tile roof. All, I mean ALL, windows in the front of the villa were either shattered or blown open. The windows, as a precaution, were cross-taped. Thus, no broken glass on the floor. The brass latches appeared as though a sharp knife sliced thru them phantasmagorically. Incredible.
The next day, we looked around our villa inspecting the damage. Then we went across the street. We will never forget the sight of this big beautiful home’s north wall gone! It looked like a giant chain saw had made their home into a huge doll house. Shrapnel struck our villa multiple places. But most of the damage was across the street.
We could see the neighbor’s brass headboard next to where their wall had been. Totally surprising was that no one was hurt. However their two pet Pot-Bellied Pigs were killed. A Cambodian Judge and his wife were the only ones home. I’d bet their ears are still ringing t’day, a half-century later!
A few weeks following, Cheryl came down with amoebic dysentery. She was confined to a hospital bed for a week’s stay. The hospital was operated by the French in Phnom Penh.
A scary time for us. She was really sick. Fortunately, she received excellent care and was soon recovering. They even put her in the room saved for Khmer royalty!
We’ve long suspected she may have ingested the amoeba via vegetables not thoroughly washed. We had known of this risk given human waste was the predominate source of ammonium nitrate for crops. So, we took great care to rinse our vegetables in Clorox!
Other than Jeff having contracted AD when he flew in Saudia Arabia, none of the rest of our nefarious group encountered dysentery so it has remained a mystery as to why Cheryl was unable to avoid it.
We both remember the French doctor who always had a cigarette in his mouth. The cigarette always had a half to three/quarter inch ash – It memorized us. It never fell off the end of the cigarette! Never!
No drugs in that hospital! The doctor would make a list (not a prescription) and I would go to an apothecary. I’d give the list to the pharmacist then pay before returning to the hospital where a nurse would administer the drug. We’d learn many different ways of doing things in Cambodia.
We flew long hours with a variety of missions. Cheryl often came along and we were to see many sights in country as well as Thailand. I few in and out of Laos and South Vietnam as well.
One time we went to the beautiful resort on the beach outside of Kampong Som (Sihanoukville). We were the only guests! Donning swimming attire, we were on the resort’s white sandy beach. We had the beach all to ourselves.
I saw a speck way out on the waters of the bay. The speck kept getting bigger. Not long after my first sighting, we had a Cambodian Navy gunboat cruising next to the beach. Every sailor we could see had binoculars looking at this beautiful bikini clad caucasian girl with long brown hair.
The Cambodian women really made a fuss over very blonde Carol Croft. It seems that blonde hair is a very rare commodity in Cambodia.
Below: Jeff & Carol Croft with Cheryl at the Mekong River 1972
It was not long after her hospital stay that Cheryl discovered motherhood would be her next big adventure. Rocket attacks are not normally associated with romance. Likely she wasn’t the first to become pregnant during a rocket attack!
Our plans changed. We both felt certain that Cheryl needed to be stateside for prenatal care. Urgency born of the knowledge that her recent hospital stay included drugs we would not have full knowledge of. Our planning quickly centered on that.
I had signed a year’s contract with “The Company.” But, there was a clause that allowed either the company or me to give a 30 day notice of termination.
As soon as I had signed the contract upon arrival I gave them the 30 day notice! The chief pilot, Cliff Neville, asked, “Why are you resigning already, you just got here!” I said, “I’ve no real plans of actually resigning, but if it becomes necessary to leave in a hurry, I want to be paid.” He just looked at me. With no more said in that regard, we had an understanding. Then, when Cheryl’s condition merited our decision to leave, it was no problem. Our caution, however, would prevent our baby”s dual citizenship! We would spend the next nine months worrying what our baby would be like. Would he have more or less than ten toes? We tried to have a cavalier attitude, ‘what will be will be.’ Yet, always lingering in the back of our minds, was a certain dread.
We left Cambodia and never looked back. A person can get way behind in their worrying in a place like that. Bad guys would hide in holes just outside the airport perimeter shooting at you every takeoff and landing. That provided pucker-factor. Nightly, the enemy launched 40 mm and 122mm rockets into the city with absolutely no precision guidance. This tends to wear on a person’s nerves. One never knew where the rockets would land!
Hardly a takeoff or landing would be without small arms firing at us. We saw many tracer rounds that looked like little green BBs and we could often hear the chatter of the machine gun firing.
A number of less performing aircraft such as the DC-3/C-47 and DC-4/C-54 aircraft were shot down. Several fuselages became homes for the homeless. Fortunately, the Convairs with the CB-17 water-injected engines gave us the ability to steeply climb above the range of the weapons used against us.
We did n’joy watching the nightly gunships in action. The Cambodian Air Force operated the AC-47 “Spooky”with three antiquated .50 Cal guns with great effect. The South Vietnamese Air Force operated the AC-119 with multiple mini-guns. The USAF had AC-47 gunships with 3 mini-guns, but the Big Dog was the AC-130 gunship “Specter!” The AC-130 could level a large size town with a single airplane’s firepower! Even at night it became easy to spot which airplane was firing by watching the red tracers and listening to the gun noise that followed.
Cheryl ended up with PTSD stemming, we still believe, from a rocket that landed nearby early one morning. Rockets in the daytime were rare. It made it difficult for the sappers to escape whereas after sundown they felt they owned the night! They didn’t actually, but they caused a devilish amount to terror.
The rocket’s explosive concussion knocked her legs out from under her and, yes, scared the dickens out of her with an ear-splitting 💥explosion💥. A Russian 122mm rocket’ll do that y’know!
Fortunately, her PTSD wasn’t permanent. Nevertheless, a year later she was with her Mom and her sister, Mary Dee, at Disney World when fire works exploded. Cheryl fell apart. Mom Isman and Mary Dee could not understand how/why. A few minutes later, with Mom’s and Mary Dee’s support she was fine albeit the next few 4th of July’s would cause a similar reaction. Thankfully, she’s fine now with no lasting effects. However, I still refrain from sneaking up behind her with an brown paper bag fulled with air…
By the fall of 1972 we were settled into our Littleton townhome waiting for the baby’s arrival. We had invited a couple of friends over for dinner. It was a snowy-cold December 30th 1972.
We left our friends a note on the door (pre cell phones). “We’ve gone to have a baby!” Cheryl had suddenly gone into labor. I hustled us to Swedish Medical Center.
We had planned for Natural Childbirth. We attended classes for this and expected all to go well. After all her Mom had 9 children. No problem, right? WRONG!
Little doubt Preston wanted out. For 16 hours he kept trying. But, something was apparently outta kilter. I was getting more concerned by the minute. Cheryl wanted that kid out of there and would have been fine if they would pull him out thru an ear. Anywhere, just get him out!
I expressed my concerns and asked for the doctor. The nurse said that we wouldn’t see the doctor until Cheryl had dilated to a pre-determined measure in centimeters. I very emphatically said, “YOU GET THE DOCTOR IN HERE NOW!” She did.
The doctor quickly saw the problem. The next thing we knew was “natural child birth” was no longer an option. Cheryl was rushed upstairs for an emergency “C Section.” Thankfully, that took care of the problem. Cheryl and our baby son were OK. N’uther big “WHEW!”
Lord was that kid UGLY! He was all blue in color with a pointy head (from the hours he spent trying to get here naturally). I didn’t care what he looked like, I was simply thankful he was here and that his Mom was OK! Thankful AND relieved I was!
I called my folks and Cheryl’s mom to let them know that their latest grandchild had arrived.
Mom Isman asked, “Who does he look like?” I said, “Just like our gate guard in Cambodia!” Apparently, my sense of humor and Mom’s didn’t jive that particular time! Personally, I was very much relieved and, again, thankful. It was a frightening experience thinking I might lose the TLOML!
Fortunately, my ugly newborn son didn’t stay ugly and became a rather beautiful baby who would be fun to watch growing up. Something I have personally yet to accomplish!
Preston was such a great joy as he developed from a newborn to a floor crawler to a toddler and all the other stages of a child’s growth. His first word was “HOT!” We learned the our baby bore watchin’!
One time he was crawling around the kitchen floor and discovered an interesting device. He figured out how to turn a small valve which, of course, emptied all the contents.
We didn’t notice this until the next morning when we discovered Galliano liquor had completely covered the entire kitchen floor. We never again bought another one of those giant Galliano bottles. The unavoidable strong smell, as we wiped up the mess, likely helped us to change drinks of choice from Harvey Wallbangers to something else. Anything else!
When Preston was 18 months old we were visiting a farm near Brighton, Colorado just N of Denver. I sat him on a pony and was immediately shocked by Preston’s reaction. The dichotomy of him loving the pony but quickly experiencing a serious breathing issue was instantly apparent. We suddenly discovered our son was very allergic to animals.
Preston had some tough times with Asthma necessitating several high speed trips to Denver’s Children’s Hospital in the middle of the night. One time, when home remedy wasn’t working, we were racing down down the street in our Bentley. A Denver patrol car, flashing lights and siren, chasing us! I pulled up to the hospital entrance. Carrying our baby boy I rushed inside hollering “I’ll be right back!” The policemen signaled “No Problem!” Another time one of Denver’s finest actually led us to Children’s with lights and sirens. Our kid gave us a lot of excitement starting at a very early age!
I can not begin to describe the absolute horror seeing several doctors and nurses holding down our screaming baby as they tried to minister to his breathing needs. Two times I’ve felt totally helpless. When Preston was born and when he was fighting for his life at Children’s!
Denver’s Children’s Hospital is one of the finest in the Nation! Our close friends, Dave & Tomme Kaplan have strongly supported this great institution for many years. Still do!
Preston and me in Bob Lukow’s “Mr. Mike”
Jackson Hole in our AeroCommander 500 Shrike
We kept a condo in Jackson Hole for many years and often commuted in one of our small aircraft. Non-Reving on Frontier flights to Jackson Hole was very iffy. They were mostly full and difficult to non-revenue on.
Preston learned to ski while still in diapers! Breathing issues be damned, he was a very active youngster.
We had Preston set up with an allergist, nothing against the doctor, but when we discovered Dr. Jerome Buckley in Aurora things really turned around for our young son. He soon was no longer a sickly kid. He could control his Asthma with an inhaler and exercise. “Get him swimming,” said Dr. Buckley.
Swimming he did! We had a five lane 25 yard pool next to our home. Preston swam and swam.
I recall that there was a challenge where the youngsters signed up individuals in the neighborhood agreeing to donate money based on the number of laps swam. Preston dazzled everyone by swimming 100 continuous laps. Amazing for a 6 year old.
He was really developing, especially in his upper body. He was becoming very athletic and scholastically adept. Preston earned excellent grades all the way through college.
Preston and his Dam West pals began playing soccer. The only downside, from my perspective, was that I was their coach.
Gary Gibson, a friend and neighbor, and I were co-coaches for four and a half years. We were undefeated! We tied some, but our kids never lost a game. Not a one! So, we musta been pretty sharp and knowledgable coaches, right?
Our first game tied zero/zero! Little guys with every player on both teams going after the ball. The ball moved around but there wasn’t a goal made. Mostly, it was the young referee blowing his whistle. Afterwards, we went to a breakfast joint with several of the players and their parents.
I noticed our kids, still in their soccer T-shirts, around a nearby table with just one young man seated there. He was showing animated interest in the kids. I became instantly curious.
I approached the table introducing myself. The young man said, “Hi, I’m Mike Freitag.” I said, “Our kids seem interested in you, what do you do Mike?” He said, “I’m a professional soccer player for the Denver Avalanche!” Boy Howdy – the light bulb lit up!
“Mike, you seem to like kids. I’m their coach and know absolutely zilch about soccer. Would you consider coming to a practice and showing the kids some basics? “Sure,” Mike replied.
True to his word Mike came by practice. EVERY practice! And, he brought other players with him. I remember Ritchie Parchment, from Canadian. Ritchie came with him more than others.
Gary and I stood around, arms folded, and watched Mike, Ritchie and other Avalanche players put our kids through basic drills. Give and go! Give and Go! It was fun to watch.
Game time, the Avalanche players were unable to attend due to their own team obligations. So, just like at practice, I stood there with my arms crossed. The only difference was that Gary and I made sure everyone had a chance to play,.
We soon had opposition coaches ask, “How do you keep so calm? You never holler at your kids! You don’t seem to do any coaching during the game!” I replied, “we take care of it at practice!” True, of course, albeit very misleading.
A couple of the parents asked to come and watch practice. “Nope,” I said, “Practice is closed!” “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” they said in almost in unison. I replied, “If you want me to be the coach, practices are closed. Your kids are at the age where they will be looking at you and wanting to dazzle you with their newly-found abilities. I don’t want the distraction! What we’re doing seems to be working. Those are my terms!” With surprisingly little grumbling the ‘no spectator practices’ worked. Gary and I came off as extraordinary good soccer coaches when neither of us new squat ! All to the credit of Mike, Ritchie and a few other Avalanche players. And, of course, some credit to our kids. They put in a great effort in practice and the games.
The quid pro quo was that we fed these hungry bachelors after practice. Cheryl is an absolutely wonderful cook making it an excellent opportunity for the Avalanche players to have a few home cooked meals.
One evening after practice Mike and Ritchie were at the table. Something prompted Ritchie to say he didn’t like dogs and that he was actually frightened by them. I said, “Ritchie, you need to meet our dog “Sebastian!” “Oh no, Mr. Walker, that’s OK, I’d rather not!” I said, “Preston go get Sebastian!” Ritchie, as you might imagine, turned white and he was a black kid!
In those days we not only didn’t have cell phones, home security hadn’t developed like we know today. So, when we were away we put “Sebastian” to work! Sebastian was a 78 audio record of a ferocious German Shepard barking, growling, snarling and seemingly running throughout the house. Preston, eased around to the opposite side of the room. Ritchie’s back was to the room when Preston put the record into motion – with stereo at nearly full volume! I thought we’d have to scrape Ritchie off the ceiling!
He took it in the spirit intended and we all laughed as Ritchie’s color returned! A fun time. We bought season tickets to see the Avalanche matches.
Above: Mike standing far Left – Richie middle row 3rd from right
Mike went on with his pro-career then became a college coach at his alma mater, Indiana University. He would win the NCAA Championship during his six years as head coach. Mike is now Director of the Colorado Soccer League.
Richie played several years for pro-teams in Colorado, Arizona, and Washington. I wish we had kept better in touch with these fine two fellows.
Preston continued with soccer even after our move to the mountains in 1980. He was 8 years old. Later, he would play soccer for Saguaro High School and even wrestled one season losing a match to the Arizona State Champion.
Our little ranch was a long way from things. So, it became a bit of a problem when Preston was 11 and wanted a summer job to earn money. It would have cost more than he earned just in transportation as if someone would hire an 11 year old.
Cheryl and I kicked it around and thought he could do OK at our place running a trout fishin’ business. I said we could put up a couple of the old signs from the previous owner and Preston could sell trout by the inch or pound.
I recall being absolutely floored after that first weekend. Our son made a tad more than $800 bucks! WOW I thought there’s a business here. Later, that’s how we sold it. It remains so to this day!
Cheryl and I drafted an agreement with Preston. He could keep the $800 bucks he’d made, but from now on we’d have to arrange for a hatchery to deliver catchable trout. He’d have to pay us first and keep his profits after we’re reimbursed. It was a great summer and he learned a lot. So did Cheryl and I.
Rainbow Roundup Trout Ranch, Pine, Colorado
It was football that became THE sport having his entire being infected by the game as an 8th grader at West Jeff the elementary school near our trout ranch in Colorado. And one of the teacher/coaches got him started on a weight lifting program.
While attending West Jeff Elementary Preston expressed a concern about an older kid that had been picking on him. I said, “Bust him in the mouth, he’ll quit!” “NO NO, I can’t do that, I’ll get a ‘D’ Slip!” “What the heck is a ‘D’ Slip?” I asked.
Preston explained that anytime a student violated the school’s rules they could expect a ‘D’ Slip that would become part of that student’s permanent record.
I did not like any system where you could not defend yourself. Preston was raised to never start a fight but, equally, to never back up from one. So, with Preston in hand, we went to see the principal.
The principal wasn’t in, so we ‘audienced’ the ass’t principal. “Preston is right Mr. Walker. We do not allow fighting among students here.” I said their system was lopsided and unacceptable. They should have a way for a controlled adjudication of issues between students.
The AP said there wasn’t such a system in place. I suggested we implement one.
How about I call the other kid’s father and tell him the issue? “Hmm, I don’t know about that,” said the AP.
“I propose that, if the other father agrees, to get both kids on the wrestling mat, each wearing boxing gloves, supervised, and let ’em duke it out.” The AP asked Preston, “Are you OK with that?” Preston said, “Sure as long as I don’t get a ‘D’ Slip!”
The AP called the other kid’s father and explained. The kid’s Dad was OK with that as well. But his son wasn’t! A cowardly bully, he turned down the opportunity and never bothered Preston again.
We had a fellow working for us when we first bought the trout ranch. He raised pure-bred English Setters. He offered to give one of the next litter to Preston. Preston named him Scamp. They became great pals roaming around the mountains surrounding our place.
Prolly not our best decision was buying Preston a Honda 3 wheeler. He and Scamp tore around the hills in that thing occasionally with a mishap or two. After we moved and had sold the 3 wheeler, we learned they were dangerous! Luck plays a part in the scheme of things.
Following the demise of Frontier Airlines, through the merger with Continental Airlines, we sold our trout ranch and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. Preston would become a freshman at Saguaro High School.
The Saguaro football team was coached by Bob Keller who was, additionally, the athletic director. We went to see Keller to let him know Preston would be going out for football and to ask a bit about how the football system worked at Saguaro.
Preston was big for a freshman. I asked, “Is it possible for a freshman to make the varsity team at Saguaro?” Keller said, “We have freshman and JV teams. So, no, we’ve never elevated JV to varsity.”
Preston changed that! By the end of his freshman year he was on the varsity team. By the end of his senior season he was known as one of the best middle linebackers in the state albeit playing for a losing team winning just 3 games the last two years.
The home we bought in Scottsdale was over 3000 sq ft. We were the 2nd owners. But it was not lived in and the back yard was a half-acre of caliche. We hired a professional landscaper and pool builder. We put in a 22 X 44 foot pool and 12′ deep in the diving end. A large spa was included along with a big gazebo and wetbar.
We hired a landscaper to put the finishing touches with trees, lawn and a waterfall. Terrific neighbors was a pleasant surprise. Several are still close friends after all these years.
Preston’s job was to take care of his dog, Scamp, keep the pool clean and mow/trim the grass. It was a big yard and, thus, a big job. Preston suggested I should provide him a power mower.
His Mom and I had been paying for his fitness fees at a local gym. I told him the push mower was part of his work-out regime. His legs became powerful and added to his growing football prowess.
This erudite proclamation backfired on me! Preston became ill and bedridden. Fortunately, for a short time but long enough the yard needed mowing. He laughed from his bedroom window overlooking the back yard as he watched his mother and me struggle with the push mower. It took us all day to accomplish what Preston did in 20 minutes!
Preston earned ALL Arizona honors, First Team ALL State both offense and defense, ALL City, and USA Today’s All America Honorable Mention. His teammates voted him MVP. He finished the season limping on a torn ACL that would soon need repairing.
Preston received numerous letters of interest. University of Colorado offered a partial scholarship, but interviewing on crutches didn’t help. He could have walked on my alma mater, ASU, and hoped for a scholarship based on performance. He felt that he deserved a full-ride scholarship. And, he did scholastically. Several of the community colleges actively pursued Preston.
Senator John Kyle nominated Preston for both the US Air Force Academy and the US Naval Academy. I had hoped he would go that route, but his burning desire to become a middle linebacker for the Denver Broncos totally blocked that out of consideration. Too much of a commitment post collegiate days.
Coach Joe Kersting and Preston. National Football Foundation banquet
Preston decided to attend Glendale Community College coached by renowned coach, Joe Kirsting. Preston would excel at GCC. He became Academic All America and a National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete. He was personally recognized by former ASU legendary coach, Frank Kush.
Villanova was known for its academic reputation and had a well known football program. Howie Long had played for Villanova before his All Pro professional career. The Villanova recruiter looked past Preston’s knee issue and offered a full-ride scholarship. That is when our son, a Westerner became an Easterner. Still is!
Asthma has bothered Preston along the way, and still does. But he found ways to deal with it, and still does. He had other things along the way, as well, that interfered with his dream of one day wearing #53 as a Denver Bronco middle linebacker. His idol from his younker days was All Pro #53 Randy Gradishar.
Below: Preston #53 Villanova University
While attending Villanova he worked as a bouncer at Brownie’s, a local nightclub hangout. This gave him some pocket money although his tuition and room and board were covered by his scholarship. Earlier during his high school years, Preston and his pal, Tim Kelsch, enrolled in a defensive tactics course while still in high school. They were both big tough kids. Now they knew how to properly use their size when needed. Preston grew to be 6′ 2″ and 230 lbs. Easy going, he never played the bully. But he would come to the rescue numerous times!
When he was between his sophomore and junior years at Saguaro, we had a young friend, Dusty Davis, staying with us. Dusty and Preston had become pals at West Jeff, Conifer, Colorado. Dusty had shown great promise.
Dusty and Preston went to a party and were out a bit later than our house rules allowed. I waited up. Not long after “curfew” they showed up. “What’s your excuse?” I asked. Surprisingly, it was Dusty who responded. He said,”an ASU guy was mistreating a girl. Preston told him to layoff. The much older ASU guy took a swing at Preston and ended up in the hospital! “That true Son?” “Pretty much,” replied Preston. A moment of pride for the “Ol’ Man!” Preston would provide a lot of those!
I never had to worry about assault charges given there were several witnesses and I couldn’t imagine a junior in college admitting being beaten up by a high school kid! Nothing further came of it.
Unfortunately, Dusty’s stay with us didn’t work out. We three had to be somewhere for a couple of days. When we came home, we received complaints from neighbors about a “wild party” at our house! WHAT!
We confronted Dusty who admitted he’d violated our trust and the house rules he had agreed to. We had the awkward task of sending Dusty back to Conifer, Colorado.
Preston went thru six knee surgeries including ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgeries on both knees. But his career ending injury was the lisfranc fracture occurring when a 325 lb. tackle stepped on Preston’s left foot turning the opposite way Preston was going. It was Preston’s final game, on the final play, his senior year. Villanova VS University of New Hampshire. Turned out it was his final game period!
No bones were broken but consistent with the lisfranc fracture, all the tissue and ligaments had to be surgically restored. He ended up with a big hump on the top of his left foot and another surgery would be necessary to help reduce the shoe discomfort.
Preston was unable to push off as would be needed for the pro combine. His football career was done and done! He was disappointed but, true to his character, he moved on.
Preston with his Granma Frances. Villanova 1995 graduation
Preston graduated from Villanova with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a minor in history with nearly a minor in geology. Still hanging onto his football persona, Preston went back to Glendale Community College as Linebacker Coach then returned to Villanova as a strength coach.
Above: Preston – Linebacker Coach GCC
Preston would use his Villanova degree to become a regional sales rep for a large pharmaceutical company. It wasn’t a good fit. His next move was to become a financial advisor for Wells Fargo before moving to Citizens Bank and, finally, back to Wells Fargo where he is t’day in his last-stage of business development prior to retirement in the not so distant future.
Preston is married with three wonderful adult children. As of this writing he is just a months shy of being fifty years old! WHAT!
Gianna back left in photo above
Kaylie back row far right above
Below: Dylan making a fine showing at the spring game
His oldest, daughter Gianna, graduated from Loyola Maryland. She is now working for a publishing company as an editor. Middle daughter, Kaylie, is in her last year at Alvernia University majoring in Industrial Therapy. His youngest, Dylan, is on a full-ride football scholarship at University at Albany. He is 6′ 5″ and 240 lbs. He plays as a Tight End albeit has not played a single college game yet and is a junior!
Cheryl’s 65th Birthday Celebration
L-R: Cheryl – Preston – Renee – Billy – Kaylie & Gianna. Dylan is in the pilot’s seat (before his big growth spurt)!
Above 1955 and 1987 freshman football photos…
All three of Preston’s kids were high school scholar athletes. Gianna was captain of her soccer team. Kaylie excelled at basketball and earned a scholarship to play for Alvernia University. Dylan, a three sport athlete, excelled at football and received several offers including Wake Forest. He ended up picking Colorado State University where his great grandfather went as did a number of cousins. Regrettably, CSU did not pan out. Dylan ended up exercising a “Transfer Portal” to University at Albany. He was all set to shine on the gridiron when he tore his ACL! Like father-like son! Some irony in that Dylan, still recovering from the ACL, is a junior, and will not play his first actual college game until his senior year! And then, he will have four more years eligibility due to Covid caused extensions! I wonder how many degrees he’ll have when he’s finally thru playing out his eligibility? Perhaps we should start a lottery!
Dylan with his parents after signing with CSU
Preston was a very active father and coached his kids thru their formative years. Preston’s next obligation to his parents is to provide us with some great-grandchildren. So far he’s failed miserably. Not one to disappoint, Cheryl and I look forward to his eventual success!