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Tuesday, October 06, 2015


by Lois Rosen

Alek Skarlatos, the Army National Guard Specialist who helped stop a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in August, has rushed back to his hometown in Oregon after the mass shooting there on Thursday. Skarlotos, who is currently starring on ABC's Dancing With The Stars, was enrolled last year at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. He had been registered for classes on this week on campus, but postponed his education to appear on TV. —, October 2, 2015

Believe it when you see it--the National Guard 
hero from Oregon with no dance experience, or 
so they say, waltzes like a young, but broader,
crew cut Fred Astaire. That lithe. 

And why not prance, score 8 and 9 from judges
praising his maturity the week Obama decorates 
him and his two companions for tackling
and disarming the Paris train terrorist. 

He comes from Roseburg, studied at Umpqua 
Community College. How will he manage 
to learn a complicated rhumba or memorize 
a foxtrot, any dance 

when no one in that classroom tackled 
the gunman, and how does all this rah-
rah-you’re-a-hero attention after his quick 
reaction affect him? 

Lindsay, his pro partner, encouraged 
him not to be afraid to talk on camera
to a dancer, ask for a date. She won’t 
refuse you now.

Lois Rosen taught English as a Second Language at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon. Tebot Bach published her second poetry book, Nice and Loud (2015).