From the Voice of the Hill web site
Even after logging thousands of hours flying fighter planes and tackling myriad challenges in a distinguished 40-year military career, Maj. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr. always said his toughest challenge was navigating the bureaucracy to get funding for a program to rescue at-risk youth.
Wherley and his wife, Ann, both 62, were among the nine victims who died in the Fort Totten Metrorail accident on June 22. They lived on Capitol Hill.
A memorial service for the couple is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. at 2001 East Capitol St. SE. They will be buried Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. A procession to the cemetery will leave from the DC Armory at 10 a.m.
A recently retired commanding general with the D.C. National Guard and veteran Air Force fighter pilot, Wherley was remembered this week by neighbors and colleagues for his efforts to establish the Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy in 2006.
“He always felt that D.C. should have the same benefits as any other state,” said Maj. Shane Doucet, a plans and programs officer with the D.C. National Guard. “He worked tirelessly with the city and the Department of Defense to come up with the funding. He was totally committed to the academy and constantly bragged about those kids and how it was going to change their lives.”
Most states match federal appropriations available for the academies, which operate a 17-month self-improvement and leadership program for high school dropouts. For years, D.C. youth were eligible to participate in Maryland, but the District did not have its own program. Wherley sought the help of his Capitol Hill neighbor, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., who sits on the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations and whose home state funds a Youth Challenge Academy.
In 2006, Wherley obtained $500,000 in federal funds and, with backing from former D.C. mayor Anthony Williams, another $300,000 from the District to establish the academy, Doucet said. In a speech to employers and law enforcement officials in 2007, Wherley promised to win tuition assistance for the program — and he did, Doucet added, to the tune of $400,000 in District and federal funds.
“He was a self-confessed introvert who was not all that into politics,” Doucet said. “But he’d get emotional when he talked about the program and the kids, and he got it done.”