I am proud to present an extended interview with our Brother and Renaissance Man, Darren Hafford.
Darren, for those who may not know you, can you give us a little background (full name, Rush class, Iota #) on yourself?
Well, my full name is Darren Lee Joseph Beaulieu Hafford. I grew up in Beloit, WI. I rushed, man this is going to date me here, in the Spring of 1994. My Iota # is 696.
I have to ask, because someone will…how long have you been in school? Off and on?
I started in the Spring of 1994 and went for a year and a half. I took the fall 95 semester off and worked at Ketterhagen Ford in Whitewater. Then in February of 96 I went to the Defense Information School at Fort Meade, MD for Public Affairs and Broadcasting for the US Army. While at the school I volunteered for what was to be a 3 month tour in Bosnia as a television reporter. I figured since I didn’t have a summer job that this would be the perfect opportunity to get some real world experience, make some extra money, see the world and be back in August just in time for the fall semester. Well, they say don’t volunteer for a reason. My tour was extended and I didn’t get back to Whitewater until February 1997. School had already started and I spoke to Chancellor Greenhill and some of the brothers Mike Easton, Brian Phillips, Vito Virgilio spoke to some of the professors including Paula Mohan our faculty advisor to help me get back into school. So I was back in school from Spring of 1997 until Spring 2000. I then found out that it would take another year and a half to graduate so I dropped out. Then in the summer of 2006 I was encouraged by Mike Easton, and Paula Mohan to come back to finish. So I began classes again in the fall of 2006 and I will finally graduate in the Spring of 2008.
During your off and on times, you have been to some really interesting places, can you elaborate?
I have been to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Vienna, Brussels, Munich, Budapest, Moscow, Honduras all over Croatia, Bosnia, LA, Park City Utah. (Darren and hip-hop star Kanye West in the above photo)
What keeps bringing you back to Whitewater?
Wisconsin is home and Whitewater is where I started, it’s where I want to graduate from. I‘ve seen many of my brothers graduate from here and I look forward to joining those that have passed before me and those that will pass after.
When did you officially become a LCA Alumni?
Well, I’m not really sure. I guess in 2000 but now I’m still an undergrad for now so I hope to join the Alumni group for good in the spring of 2008.
Did you ever live in the house? If so, what room(s)? Did you have a favorite? Why?
I moved in the house in the summer of 1994. I lived in room 6 for the summer and then Mike Fitzsimmons and I moved into room 1 in the fall of 1994. Jesse Baranczyk and Mike Ramig were also roommates of mine in room 1. I then left for Maryland, never to live in the house again.
What brought you to Lambda Chi Alpha, originally? and/or whom?
When I first got out of the Marine Corps I worked many different jobs in the first year and I worked with a guy named Harry Curry at Budweiser Chevrolet/Geo/Nisson/Cadillac. I told him I was going to go to college in Whitewater and he gave me Dan William’s phone number and after two weeks of living in the dorms I needed to try to meet some people since most people had met in the fall and I was starting in the spring. Dan brought me to the house and Troy Basil, President at the time, took me around explaining Lambda Chi and introducing me to everyone. I had been to only one other fraternity event ever, and that organization wasn’t for me. But Troy and the guys were different, they made me feel welcome from the start and I knew this was where I belonged.
Is there anyone you have lost touch with over the years that you would like to catch up with?
All the brothers that I have known along the way. I want to have a graduation party and I hope to see the faces of many brothers that have been such a huge part of my life.
What is your best memory of Lambda Chi?
I don’t know if I can come up with one. I think being a part of ritual was my highlight.
What is the one Lambda Chi related event that made you say “Wow, I never thought I would be doing this when I joined a fraternity”?
The North American Food Drive. We did a lot of great things for the community like the highway cleanups, the Food Drive, and the 100 Hour Teeter-Totter-A-Thon. I think we make a difference in people’s lives in ways that we will never meet.
You have a nice resume when it comes to acting…can you fill us in on what shows you have been on? If we get the DVDs, can we see you?
I was only an extra and so I have never had a line that you would have seen me in. But I can be seen in Desperate Housewives and The Island. Pictures are included.
Boston Legal, Complete Savages, CSI, CSI-Miami, CSI-New York, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Desperate Housewives (See photo to the right, Darren is man cooking), E-Ring, Gilmore Girls, Guilty or Innocent, Jack & Bobby, Jag, Judging Amy, Las Vegas, King of Queens, Six Feet Under, The Comeback, The Shield, The West Wing, Without A Trace
Bad Ass, Big Momma’s House 2, Coming Home, Good Night and Good Luck, Thank you for Smoking, The Island (See photo to the right, Darren is on the left side), Taking A Shot, When Heaven Comes Down
Budweiser, E-Trade, Gatorade, Geico
At one point, you were in the Army and were reporting from the field in Bosnia, what was that like?
A fantastic experience, I learned a lot. But, what really made it special were some of the people I worked with. I even had a Lambda Chi roommate. SGT. Chris Brown, who had been President of the Lambda Chi Chapter at Alabama. What a small world and how great it was to always have a brother around.
Who would you say had the biggest impact on your fraternal experience, why?
There are so many that I would hate to not name anyone, but the ones that stick out are Mike Easton, Troy Basil, Tom Boelk, Brian Phillips, Vito Virgilio, Jesse Baranczyk, Chad Pamperin, Shannon Williams, Andy Bialk, Forrest Knueppel, you Claude, Brandon Eggert, and a ton more.
You have told me that you are graduating in December…what degree will you have and what do you want to do with it?
Well, I picked up a Mutli-media Design Minor so I won’t graduate until May, but my major is Electronic Media, (Radio/Tv/Film) with a Theater minor and the Multi-media Design minor.
Oh yeah! You have directed a few movies…can you fill us in on those?
I have directed a few short films. Bad Ass, All of This, and Most recently Would You Like Cream With That? which won for Best Writer, Best Director and Best Cast in a Milwaukee contest that had 18 teams. I am working on the website and I am posting them on it. They can be seen at TedTateFilms.com.
What is directing a movie like?
Intense, it takes a lot of work but, what makes it so rewarding is that it is one of the few art forms that is so collaborative. It takes the talents of many to make it all work. I have been truly blessed to have had the chance to work with as many talented people as I have.
Do you need any extras or Brothers to be in your next film?
Perhaps, I am making another short on Homecoming Day for the Apple 24 hour Insomnia film contest.
You are living in Whitewater, now…what’s it like being on campus and in town with Lambda Chi on suspension?
Well, it is really tough, to be honest. I live across the street from Toppers and drive by the house everyday to class. It hurts to look over and see that we are not there. I lived in the house and it always felt like home. But, I know that we will be back because of all of the hard work that a few dedicated people have done. Again, a special thanks to Paula Mohan she has worked incredibly hard to help us get back. It is sad to think that I will probably not be here for our first Homecoming back next year.
You have been helping out at House cleanups and reconstruction…what kinds of things are happening?
The house went through a dark time and I think that those of us who saw it are glad that its over. Don Reinbold and his wife really transformed the Kitchen. Lurch and the other guys really put it back together. The house now looks fantastic.
What would Brothers who haven’t been to the house in a few years be surprised to see?
It looks brand new because a lot of it has been repaired/replaced.
If Brothers wanted to come help fix the House or such, are there things that non-carpenter types can do to help?
There is always something the house could benefit from.
What is your LCA nickname(s)?
I can’t say that I had one, but I know that I will hear from a few guys that I had many. Especially from the Bryan (6’5″) Phillips, and Vito Virgillio.
Did you have any LCA little brothers?
Anyone you want to give them a shout out to?
I would love to say hello to everyone I knew give me a call I would love to catch up.