It’s not often, while reminiscing with one of our clients, we are able to hear a story about a brush with fame from their youth. This particular memory was one we wanted to share, so everyone who reads it has a smile on their face as we did as the story told to us unfolded.
Our Sojourn Day Center Client, Dr. Greg Seifert, graduated from St. Thomas Military Academy in 1953. For those of you who are unfamiliar with St. Thomas Academy, it was, and still is, the only all male, Roman Catholic college-preparatory military high school in Minnesota. Another legacy that lives on at St. Thomas Academy is what is known as the Crack Drill Squad; the art of passing rifles back and forth in rhythm.
Dr. Seifert recalls his time on the drill squad fondly. Try-outs were conducted by the school staff once you became a sophomore along with daily team practices. He remembers the camaraderie and support of his peers on the squad and how it taught them stamina, a great deal of discipline, and a desire to succeed, not only in high school, but later in life.
However, the memory that Dr. Greg still holds dearest to his heart regarding his time on the Crack Drill Squad at St. Thomas Military Academy is when they performed on national television as guests on the Ed Sullivan Show! Click here to view! As Mr. Sullivan himself told the television audience at the time, he came to Minnesota on a visit to the College of St. Thomas where he was lucky enough to have the Crack Drill Squad from St. Thomas Military Academy perform for him. He loved their performance so much he invited them to fly to New York City to appear on his hit show. As you can imagine back in 1953, a trip on an airplane to New York City was the trip of a lifetime for a group of young high school cadets and their chaperones from St. Paul, Minnesota.
When asked about meeting Ed Sullivan, Dr. Greg’s observation was that he was a seemingly quiet and normal guy. Another guest on the show that night captured the young boy’s hearts – the very talented, beautiful actress and dancer, Cyd Charisse! Meeting Ms. Charisse, according to Dr. Greg, was his favorite memory of appearing on the Ed Sullivan show.
Time moved forward after graduation as Dr. Greg went on to the College of St. Thomas and then continuing his education in St. Louis for medical school. After medical school, he returned to Excelsior, Minnesota to join his father and older brother, both physicians, in their family medical practice – the Seifert Clinic. He married and had a family of four children, and also now has four grandchildren. Dr. Greg also spent many years on his passionate hobby of raising and showing American Saddlebred horses. He retired from medicine in 2010 after practicing for over 40 years in his family’s clinic! To this day if asked, Dr. Greg can pick up a broom and duplicate (by memory) the very drill he did with his fellow drill team cadets that special day back in 1953 with a smile on his face, the stamina, self-discipline, and the desire to succeed that he learned so long ago.