Andy Brangenberg and David Hagelin
Andy Brangenberg and David Hagelin met in early 2013 when David was invited by a friend to attend a meeting of the Columbus Chapter of Prime Timers, a worldwide gay men’s social organization. Andy was the Vice President of the chapter, and David soon joined. They moved to Rehoboth in May, 2014, and were married in September, 2014 at the Fortier Photography and Wedding Chapel. Andy and David say they were lured here by the natural beauty of the area, the LGBTQ friendliness, and because of the close proximity to family. Andy and David are “dads” to a pet cat named Lucas.
Andy was born in Baltimore, MD, and moved with his family at age four to Absecon near Atlantic City, NJ. He lived in Philadelphia for several years in the 1960s, in Gaithersburg, MD for most of the ‘70s, and moved to Columbus, OH in 1977. He lived there until moving to Rehoboth in May 2014. After a three-year stint in the Navy following high school, Andy attended photography school in Philadelphia. He held a variety of photography, graphic arts, and publishing-related jobs throughout his career, including time with the U.S. Department of Defense (at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces), the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Ohio Department of Transportation, from which he retired in 2005.
David was born in Cleveland, OH, and lived in various cities in northeast Ohio before moving to Columbus in 1994, where he lived until moving to Rehoboth in May 2014 after his early retirement.
David has a Bachelor’s degree in English from The College of Wooster in Wooster, OH, and a Master’s degree in journalism from The University of Missouri-Columbia. He worked for a weekly newspaper and two daily newspapers in northeast Ohio during the 1980s, spending most of this time as the business/labor reporter for the Canton Repository in Canton, OH. In 1989 he left the newspaper world for what ended up being a 25-year career in Corporate Communications for American Electric Power (AEP), one of the nation’s largest electric utility companies, based in Columbus, OH. He served as a Communications Manager for the company’s power plants and mining operations from 1996-2000, and retired in 2014 as Principal Communications Consultant at AEP’s headquarters.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth?
We began volunteering for mailings in the fall of 2014.
David: I joined the CAMP Rehoboth Chorus around the same time, and look forward to a third season.
What events/activities have you been involved with as a volunteer?
We were both part of the teardown crew after the Sundance 2015 event. Both of us are on the Letters mailing team, and have helped with most of the CAMP Rehoboth mailings since late 2014. We have volunteered at the Membership Table in the CAMP courtyard, and at Women’s FEST.
David: I served on the Sundance Auction Committee in 2015 soliciting auction items from businesses and organizations. I have also been a member of the CAMP Rehoboth Chorus Ensemble.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth, which is your favorite and why?
Andy: I enjoy helping with all of the mailings because of the camaraderie.
David: I love participating in the chorus and ensemble because of my love of music and singing, and the fellowship and friendships that have resulted.
Favorite season here at the beach and why?
We enjoy it here at the beach all year, but we like spring and fall the most because it’s still temperate enough to be outdoors but easier to get around due to less traffic than in summer.
If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do?
Andy: I would golf another nine (or so) holes.
David: I would spend an extra hour on Facebook.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
Andy: Atlantic City, NJ because I grew up there, and have great childhood memories of the Steel Pier Amusement Park on the boardwalk, and other attractions.
David: Savannah, GA because I love the historic architecture, the squares, and the friendliness and laid-back attitude of the people.
Night owl or early riser and why?
We are more of early risers than night owls. We often enjoy breakfast out and frequently have volunteer commitments in the morning, and Andy also likes to golf in the morning before it gets too hot.
Best year of your life and why?
Andy: The best year for me would be 1964. That is the year I “came out”. I also covered the Democratic National Convention as a photography intern for the Atlantic City Press; and I also had the opportunity to meet and photograph the Beatles during the “British Invasion” of New Jersey!
David: My best year was 1990. That is when I “came out”, and when I fell in love with my long-time partner, Peter (who died in 2006).
Favorite holiday and why?
Andy: Thanksgiving. I LOVE gravy.
David: Christmas. I love the family time, the music, and the joy of gift giving.
The LGBT community has made significant progress in the fight for equality over recent years. Did you expect to see this in your lifetime and why or why not?
We expected to see gains in “more equal” treatment for LGBTQ folks, but didn’t necessarily expect to see marriage equality throughout the land by 2015. That said, it still took longer to reach this point than it should have, and we have concerns about the continuing backlash in some parts of the nation, and how the outcome of the presidential election will affect the deserved gains that have been achieved.
How long have you been coming to Rehoboth?
Andy and his longtime partner Bobby (now deceased) visited Rehoboth occasionally in the 1970s before moving from the Washington, DC area to Ohio. However, Andy had not been here for many years when he and David visited Rehoboth in the summer of 2013 during a reunion for Andy’s family in South Jersey. That was David’s first visit. That was when they decided to make some major life changes and move to the beach.
Since you began coming to Rehoboth, name the biggest change you’ve seen.
Andy: Rehoboth has changed in many ways since the 1970s, of course, but I like the fact that some familiar restaurants—such as Robin Hood—are still operating much as they were back then, and Rehoboth Avenue and the boardwalk still have a small-town, friendly feel.
Name three events that shaped your life to where it is today.
Three events that have shaped our lives: “Coming out” (a generation apart from each other); the deaths of longtime partners (and for David, the sudden loss of his first wife when he was still in his 20s); and our decision to move to Rehoboth and “start over” during retirement.
Andy and David, you haven’t been in Rehoboth very long, but you have already volunteered for so many events, and we thank you. We appreciate both of you and look forward to having you as part of CAMP Rehoboth for many more years.