Virginia Tech Magazine
Alumni Shorts
Spring 2008
Filling the need

Former athlete Mickey Fitzgerald (sociology '81) has made a habit of giving all he's got.

When it became clear midway through the 1978 Tech football season that Coach Jimmy Sharpe's wishbone formation needed adjustments, Fitzgerald, a standout tight end from Lynchburg, Va., was moved to fullback. His performance in the remaining games put him in the books as the only modern-era Tech player to rush for more than 100 yards in each of his first four starts.

Nicknamed the "Incredible Hulk," Fitzgerald was just as effective in first-year Coach Bill Dooley's I-formation until a knee injury ended his college career--but not before he'd racked up nearly 1,500 career rushing yards, third-highest among Hokie fullbacks.

After making the Atlanta Falcons squad, injuring his other knee in the preseason, joining the Philadelphia Eagles, and playing a few seasons with the U.S. Football League's Memphis Showboats, Fitzgerald literally limped away from football. He worked in real estate, was a professional Sumo wrestler in Japan, and returned to the states for more knee surgery.

Mickey Fitzgerald
Mickey Fitzgerald '81
"The Incredible Hulk"

Upon learning in a discussion with medical personnel that neurological assessment of the spine was not performed during back surgery, Fitzgerald brought to market a monitoring device and launched his own company, Dynamic Orthotics & Prosthetics, in Atlanta. His appointment last year to the Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification board as a public member clearly attests to both his and his company's reputations.

Even with a prosperous business under his charge, Fitzgerald continued to find ways to serve the community. A past president of the Atlanta NFL Alumni chapter, he has long supported children's charities, and he's traveled overseas with other former NFL players to raise troop morale. But it seems that kids have his heart.

Raised in a Lynchburg-area orphanage, Fitzgerald not only established a foundation, Mickey's Rascals, to help underprivileged kids in rural areas, but also, for more than a dozen years, has passionately supported Calvary Children's Home, a residential facility in Powder Springs, Ga., for abandoned children.

Aboard his maroon-and-orange Harley-Davidson with Virginia Tech plates, Fitzgerald is, by all accounts, quite the character, and the children adore him. He frequently takes them on outings, and the Christmas parties he throws for them each year are near-legendary, maybe because the former fullback dresses as Santa and arrives on a fire truck, but in good measure because Fitzgerald never fails to enlist the hands-on participation of his employees and clients alike.

Now that's a habit that needn't be broken.

To learn more about Fitzgerald's business and charity work, go to

Hokie in a strange land

John Lowrey in Cuba
John Lowrey '93

Fresh out of college, John Lowrey (political science '93) enlisted in the U.S. Army, served nearly four years as an infantry squad leader, and headed to Virginia Commonwealth University. After earning a master's degree in criminal justice, he was ready to take on the world. "I knew I wanted to have a career in federal law enforcement," Lowrey says. "In particular, I wanted a job in which I could serve my country and be in a position where I could be present to watch history unfold."

And so it came to be.

In 2002, Lowery became a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS)--the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State. These agents not only provide protective security to the secretary of state, visiting foreign dignitaries, and U.S. embassies overseas, but also conduct passport and visa-fraud investigations. "Being a special agent in DSS means that you will never be bored," explains Lowrey. "And the majority of the time, you are doing something that no one else in the world gets to do."

To wit: Lowrey was assigned in early 2004 to provide security to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during her first overseas trip to France and the United Kingdom. Rice's plane touched down in Paris "on the same airfield that Charles Lindberg had landed on in 1927. Parisians lined the side of the road and waved at us as we drove past," remembers Lowrey. "As we got closer to the city, the crowds grew and grew. By the time we had reached the Champs-Élysées, I felt like I was in a smaller-scale version of Patton's Third Army during the liberation of Paris."

Last June, after six months of intensive Spanish language instruction, Lowery began a two-year assignment as the assistant regional security officer at the U.S. Interests Section (USINT) in Havana. "Along with my supervisor, we are the only two American law enforcement officers on the island," Lowrey notes, adding that "the U.S. does not have formal diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba, so our status here is somewhat unique. The USINT building serves as our de facto embassy here in Havana but is attached to the Swiss Embassy for the purposes of neutrality."

Despite what might be called "touchy" conditions, Lowrey is "thoroughly enjoying" his assignment. "Cuba is at a critical stage in its transition from almost 50 years of dictatorship. It is fascinating to actually be here during this period to watch as history unfolds."

For more about the DSS, go to

That we may serve

Among the Hokie Nation, it's a combination both familiar and cherished--a deep-seated loyalty to Virginia Tech coupled with a lifelong commitment to service. Based on such criteria, Adam J. Holmes (political science '04; sociology '04; M.S. sociology '05) is every bit the Hokie, and then some.

Expressing a sentiment equally familiar to other Tech alumni, Holmes, the manager of operations for the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives since late 2006, attributes his personal and professional development to his range of experiences at the university. Not surprisingly, his schedule as a student was packed with service endeavors: a resident advisor for three years, a graduate assistant in the Department of Sociology, a graduate assistant in Newman Library, and a member of the Marching Virginians' drumline for five years, among other activities.

Because he also nurtured a deep interest in government and politics during his time at Tech, Holmes sought and secured work on Capitol Hill in late 2005. He was soon named a legislative information specialist for then-Rep. Robert Menendez (D–N.J.), which led to his current position in the clerk's office.

Holmes, who says that his "days are often very exciting," carries out a variety of duties. From shepherding legislation through the enrolling process to attending signing ceremonies with the speaker, committee chairs, and house officers, he sometimes deals with sensitive and classified matters in his emergency preparedness and planning roles. He takes press calls. He facilitates the appraisal of foreign gifts. And he physically delivers House bills to the president's office to be signed into law.

Adam J. Holmes
Adam J. Holmes '04

"Of all the bills I've delivered to the White House," Holmes says, "from energy independence acts to implementing the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, one stands out--House Resolution (HR) 4118, written to help support those for whom the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund was created." Even though he acknowledges that participating in such activity is generally considered an "honor and privilege," he was "particularly proud as a Hokie and a representative of the Hokie Nation to present HR 4118 on behalf of those affected by the events of April 16."

To learn more about House Resolution 4118, go to

For more information about the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, go to

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