Local volunteers mark Peace Corps anniversary | SierraSun.com

Local volunteers mark Peace Corps anniversary

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Greyson Howard/Sierra SunMarshall Lewis talks about his time in the Peace Corps in Chile.
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For Steve Lieberman, time spent in the Peace Corps means he can say he’s the only lawyer in a 50-mile radius who’s used a single-ox plow.

Tamara Lieberman, who met her husband Steve in the Peace Corps, went to villages in Africa where she was the first white person the native’s had ever scene.

Eileen Knudson’s time in the Peace Corps got her here first job at Tahoe Forest Hospital, where she is now the director of the cancer center.

Now the General Manager of Boreal Mountain Resort, Marshall Lewis helped develop the ski industry of Chile through the Peace Corps.

And David Tirman, executive vice president of JMA Ventures, built a school in the Philippines.

For each of these Truckee-Tahoe locals, and 195,000 Americans working in 139 different countries for the last 48 years, time served with the Peace Corps was the time of their lives.

“They call it, ‘the toughest job you’ll ever love,'” Tirman said, who was in the Philippines from 1981-83. “It gave me a new perspective.”

All of the local volunteers, who spoke in front of the Truckee Noon Rotary Thursday to mark the Peace Corps anniversary agreed, recounting both huge challenges and gratifying experiences.

“Niger was dead-last on the UN development index,” said Steve Lieberman, who was there from 1964-66. “But it was also a very gratifying place to live and work.”

Steve met his wife, Tamara, while she served in another African country, Senegal, at the same time.

There, she said she taught nutrition and gave students a place to study.

Knudson helped villagers raise rabbits and build latrines, helping significantly with sanitation.

“It gave me so many opportunities,” Knudson said, who was in Equador from 1977-79. “But it wasn’t all hard work. We did have fun.”

Lewis enjoyed his time in Chile so much starting in 76 that he stayed three years past his two-year term.

“I went to work for the Forest Service training mountain search and rescue and first aid,” Lewis said. “By the end of my second year I was able to be part of the development of a program that trains university students to work in the ski industry, and that’s still in operation.”

Interested in learning more about local experiences with the Peace Corps? Contact Tamara Lieberman at tamlieberman@earthlink.net.

To find out more about the Peace Corps in general, go to http://www.peacecorps.gov.