Brotherhood for 20 years and counting: HF3 men from Waxahachie meet for fellowship every year.
A group of friends from the WHS class of ‘62 have been meeting every year for more than 20 years - since 1999 - in fellowship with one another.
Over the years, the members of the '62 class would meet for class reunions but never outside the event.
At the time, the group, known as HF3, didn’t spark an interest in active friendship. Larry Stoffregen, a fellow member and organizer of the group, shared how a short encounter began it all.
“A guy by the name of Jerry Hutchins, he was the king of high school in '62 when we graduated. He and I ran into each other down at Getzendaner Park on the Gingerbread Trail,” Stroffregen said. “We got to talking, and we talked for about two hours just reminiscing, and we ended it by saying, ‘We need to get together.’ And then I turned around and said, 'You know, we’re always saying that.' He agreed, and so about two months later, he sent out the email to me and four other guys to ask us to go on a dove hunt out in Coleman, Texas. And that’s what started it.”
Hutchins sent out the email on Aug. 31,1999, to the men, which included all of the details for the hunt.
The first hunt consisted of six people in the group: Hutchins, Dan Ed Morton, Tom Almand, Ronald Simmons, Mike Hastings and Stoffregen.
Stoffregen seemingly went back in time and shared his experience on the first dove hunt. “We all got together in a single car to save on gas and drove there ... The only thing we did was reminisce and laugh. We had such a great time. That’s when we decided we would have to do it again, and basically that’s when HF3 comes from, hunting, finishing and family,” Stoffregen shared.
Since then, the group of fellows has met up annually every September. They go out to Coleman and go on a dove hut.
“We call it a dove hunt, but I’m not sure we’ve caught a bird in the last four/ five years,” Stoffregen said with a chuckle.
After 10 years, the group was up to 25 members, multiplying since the original meet-up.
“We still get together, and it's just like old friends all over again ... It’s really just a fellowship of guys, and we get together. Every guy brings something to the table, and it’s just a whole that makes it all worthwhile,” Stoffregen said. “We celebrated 20 years in 2019, and we’re still going strong. We never thought we’d make it to the 10 year (mark), and here we are at the 20. We’ve lost six over the years. I’ll be 77 this year.”
Morton, another member of the group, also shared his favorite part of HF3.
"I like the fact that we have all known each other longer than any of our other friends," Morton said.
Since the reunion has been strong over the years, Almand took the initiative to buy property in Coleman.
“One of the guys even bought a ranch out there, and that’s where we go now. We go there to his house. He’s got like 200 acres, and we go out there and hunt. It’s just a retreat. We started just spending a weekend, and now we go out and spend a week now that we’re all retired,” Stoffregen said.
The group even met last September in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with masks and caution.
This year, HF3 plans to meet and will celebrate its 22nd year as a group.
Stoffregen has played an important role in keeping to group together, as he has all of the contact information and is the creator of the website. To learn more about this unique group, visit http://whs62.us/HF3.html