Rotarian Kenny Higginbotham (left) with special guest Vekoslav Koshkin
Vekoslav Koshkin

Putnam welcomes student visitor

Marshall / Koshkin
Papa Chet with Veko
10 years ago

September 18, 2012

Ten years ago, Chet Marshall was conducting a church camp near Volzhsky, a town in Russia's Volgograd Oblast, where he met Vekoslav Koshkin, the son of a worker in the camp. "Their room was right across from mine," says Marshall. "We developed an incredible relationship during that time. And every time I went back to Volgograd, we got together."

Veko spent a year in Colorado as an exchange student at Pegosa Springs High School, and "Papa Chet" traveled there to see his young friend play a lead part in a student production. "He speaks better English than I do," says Marshall.

The young Russian also spent a semester at San Diego State University.

Now, at age twenty-two, Veko is completing work on a master's degree in international studies at Lemonosov University in Moscow.

After a study trip to China, Veko made a stop today in West Virginia to visit with his mentor "Papa Chet."

But Chet Marshall was not here. Last week Chet made an emergency trip back to the M D Anderson Center in Houston where he has undergone treatments for multiple myeloma.

Chet called on longtime friend Kenny Higginbotham to introduce Veko to his Putnam Rotary family.

The results of a biopsy could tell tomorrow whether Marshall's recent loss of red blood cells results from chemotherapy treatments or from a recurrence of the cancer.

Whatever happens, the spirit of his mentor continues with Veko whether Marshall is in Texas or in West Virginia.. Or, one day perhaps, back in Volgograd.

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