Dwain K. Butler, PhD
For me, life as a TEXAN began on January 6, 1946, in a small West Texas town. Stamford, like many small Texas towns may not appear significant to non-Texans; but to Texans, we just love those small towns! Rich in traditions, family roots, and maybe even a town square, those small West Texas towns resonate with all that symbolizes the freedom and distinctive character of the West and of Texas. My parents, Oliver and Florene, were loving, hard-working, and full of optimism for the future. Oliver had survived WW II, serving in the Aleutians, and was ever so relieved to finally cross the border into Texas; world traveling was not in the cards for Oliver—Texas was Home! Florene was one of those ground-breaking women, a “Rosie the Riveter,” who forever changed the landscape for women, as they entered the workforce in all capacities to fill the gap left by the men called up to defend the country.
My family moved to Snyder just as the great Permian Basin Oil Boom began. My formative years were spent in Snyder, graduating from Snyder High School in 1964. Our family grew to six, with the births of sisters Gina and Lisa and brother Terry. When I left Snyder for Lubbock and Texas Tech University, it was a journey that would lead me to places near and places far, but sadly out of Texas. Upon graduation from Texas Tech in 1968 with a degree in physics, I moved to Maryland with my wife, Beth, from O’Donnell. In Maryland, I worked for the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak, while attending the University of Maryland. The really hard part of being away from Texas were the memories—tumble weeds and whirlwinds, horned toads and diamondbacks, catfish and jack rabbits, cactus and mesquite, cows and cowboys, the wide open spaces, the friendly waves of passing motorists, and much more. I served as a Texas Ambassador, telling all about the glories of Texas and the joys of being a Texan. I think there is a profound sense of envy of all who hear about Texas and Texans. We longed for our trips home to Texas, and I always felt that the air became fresher, the roads straighter, and the vistas boundless after crossing the border into Texas.
My wife and I left Maryland for Nebraska in 1971, with our first daughter, Tasha, and a second degree in physics,. Then in 1973, we moved to Vicksburg, MS, where our second daughter, Tamara, was born. I worked for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (Waterways Experiment Station), until my retirement from Federal service in 2002, and currently I am employed as a Senior Science Advisor for Alion Science and Technology Corporation. In 1977, we had the true joy of spending a year in College Station, Texas, while I attended Texas A&M University, earning a degree in geophysics.
During my career with the Federal Government, I have traveled throughout the US and to many foreign countries as Ambassador for the Great State of Texas. It’s always been a delight to tell someone in another country that I’m from Texas and watch their eyes light up as they try to impress with what they know about Texas. No matter where I go or where I live, my heart is in Texas.