Imagine Brentwood High School in 1941. Picture a star athlete with a smile that never left his face until the basketball game or track meet got serious. He had a car lovingly named “Sea Biscuit” to buzz White Castle for lunch during school or cruising with friends after the game or on summer nights. According to H.C. “Hap” Michener, he still has the keys and steering wheel to that car in his garage-and you don’t mess with them!
This year’s Maddenfest Parade found him riding shotgun for Ron Vassalli with Maxine Gray-Reisenleiter and Norma Hodges-Murphy in the back seat. Although Hap went to Lindell grade school in Maplewood, he became a Brentwood High School stand-out in more ways than one. Maxine & Norma joke with Hap. They say he has always been the real big joker. They brag on his athletic prowess during school, saying he could do anything when it came to sports. He was a high school star.
Hap wasn’t just an athlete. He was a Boy Scout and stayed with the program. In high school he was a Sea Scout. He took his commitment seriously. He made a mark for himself in scouting. He entered the US Navy as an officer because of his scout and ROTC training.
He did serve during WWII, but refuses to take any credit for his service. He says that honor is reserved for those who really gave or lost something special. Many of his friends lost their lives, they are the ones who deserve accolades, he says. His sentiments run deep-“Those men and women are the real heroes.” Hap won’t recant to admit he is special.
There is something special about H.C. Michener though. He never lost the loyalty he learned as a Boy Scout. He is loyal to his country. He is loyal to his school, his schoolmates, and he is loyal to his family. He has been married to the same women for 62 years!
Retired now, he was a tool & die maker throughout his career. He has worked on quite a few difficult projects in his life. The project he faces now is one of the most difficult. Hap has Parkinson’s disease. Many of the men who served in the Navy during those years have contracted it. The big difference is that he has Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s doesn’t have him. Hap still jokes, he still laughs and he still brightens the days for others. That IS a hero, anywhere.