Stories that had to be told…. The Story of Captain Hank Bracker
You frequently hear Captain Hank say, “This is a story that had to be told!” The reason for this may not seem obvious at first but given some reflection it becomes obvious that most factual stories are mini time capsules that really contain the very essence of our being within them. They give the word “History” a true meaning, which when dissected reads… “his story.”
Of course this statement should not be considered gender-specific, as we can see from the book Suppressed I Rise, which is the factual account of a young woman facing the horrors of wartime Nazi Germany with her two small children. Had not Adeline Perry committed her story to paper, with the help of her daughters, in the months preceding her death, they would have been lost forever. If a story is not recorded in this way, it dies! Stories that are not written or recorded, will not survive over time.
Getting to know Captain Hank is challenging. At first it is difficult to find the serious, compassionate man behind his jolly demeanor. After all, when he was in grade school, he was known as “the Class Clown!” Fun loving, he is forever talking to people… getting to know them and showing an interest in them, their lives and their problems. Hints of his understanding become more apparent knowing his diverse background. Born in Germany his first language was German, yet he speaks with a Jersey accent. Asked about his title “Captain” he will tell you it’s his “nom de plume,” as listed with the Library of Congress. However, you might soon find that he can rightfully be referred to as “Captain,” having been the U.S. Navy Port Captain for the Military Sea Transfer Service in New York. Also, he was the relief
captain on a U.S. Navy seagoing tug stationed at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Virginia and as a Lieutenant Commander was the Captain of the Poughkeepsie Naval Reserve Unit in New York. He was also the Captain of several coastal vessels in both the United States and Liberia, as well as having been a Harbor Pilot for the Port of Monrovia, Liberia. Retiring as a Commander from the U.S. Naval Reserve, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve as an enlisted man and served until his retirement as a Major. In this case he somehow skipped over being a U.S. Army Captain, by having spent most of his time as a Chief Warrant Officer with the Military Intelligence Corps. As a civilian he was a widely recognized educator, employed by the State of Connecticut, teaching both mathematics and science. Captain Hank was also a High School Administrator, tracking down the “Mall Rats,” as the Attendance Officer. At the same time he represented the teachers as the President of the Connecticut Instructors Organization.
Captain Hank Bracker is now a Notary Public in Florida, performing weddings for free, provided he’s invited to the reception, all because he’ll “Work for Food!” He held licenses to sell Real Estate, Insurance and Mutual Stock Funds. Captain Hank is a member of the Florida Authors and Publishers Association and is a multiple Award Winning Author. Now at anchor, he is a member of numerous associations including the Florida Sailors Association, the Tampa Council of Master Mariners and the Masonic High Twelve Club, as well as The Fraternal Order of Alcoholics Anonymous know simply as “AA.” He is also presently the President of Local #425 of the CSEA/SEIU (Connecticut State Employees Association) retiree chapter in West Central Florida.
Captain Hank gets up every morning with a zeal and gusto unmatched by people half his age. He savors every moment and still lives his own… “Stories that had to be told!” His historical narrations capture the very essence of the people who lived them and the stories taken from his own life are shockingly complete, warts and all.
Conceptually taken from an article in the CSEA News, March 2016