ELYRIA — The next time you’re watching footage of the president landing at Andrews Air Force Base, pay extra attention to that guy at the bottom of stairs.
You just might recognize him.
Col. Bradley T. Hoagland, wing commander at Andrews, greets the president each time he lands at the base.
Of course, that’s just one of the Elyria native’s many duties.
“He’s kind of the mayor of Andrews Air Force Base,” said Hoagland’s brother, Brian Hoagland. “He’s in charge of the fire department, police department, garbage collection, everything there. He’s got to be able to get along with a lot of people. Luckily, he can get along with anyone.”
Elyrians might remember Bradley Hoagland from when he played football for Elyria Catholic High School. Brian Hoagland also played for EC.
Many people might recall the Hoaglands’ father, Chuck, who served as the city’s Parks and Recreation director for decades before assuming the post of safety service director. He also coached at St. Mary for more than 20 years.
Or you might know Bradley Hoagland’s wife, Jill (St. Marie) Hoagland, or her family. Bradley and Jill Hoagland grew up together, going to St. Mary and then EC.
They were friends, but didn’t date until after high school. They were hanging out during summer vacation, going to the movies and eventually to a Jimmy Buffett concert at Blossom.
After the concert, they started a long-distance relationship.
That was more than 21 years ago.
Today, they are the parents of Brigid, 17; Braden, 14; Carolyn, 9; and Joseph, 2.
“He’s the whole package,” Brian Hoagland said of his younger brother. “He’s obviously always been really smart. He does really well in school. He does what he’s supposed to do. He’s a very religious person as well. Mom and Dad raised us really well.”
In fact, Chuck Hoagland, who died of pancreatic cancer 26 years ago, has motivated Bradley Hoagland his entire life.
“He set an example to be a hard worker,” Bradley Hoagland said. “My dad was safety service director. I’m trying to give back like him, just in the Air Force. He did a lot for Elyria. I’m proud of him. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without him.”
While his father wasn’t able to be with him when he took command of Andrews, his mother, Margaret, was there, as well as his eight brothers and sisters.
Bradley Hoagland had no idea he was going to be assigned to Andrews, but he is enjoying his new post.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be able to come out here,” Bradley Hoagland said.
His first presidential greet took place last week.
“I kept thinking, ‘How did I end up there?’ ” Bradley Hoagland said. “I’m from Elyria. What the heck?”
On Aug. 24, he has another presidential greet, when the president and his family return from Martha’s Vineyard.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “Jill will actually get to meet Michelle Obama.”
While the hours are long, Bradley Hoagland is enjoying his new post.
“It’s like running a city that has an airport, too,” he said. “It is what you make of it. It’s mandated that I live on base, so if something happens, I can drive two minutes and be right there. I had an hour commute each way before. I have two hours back in my day that I didn’t have before.
“Today, I got a call for our fire department to go out and assist at Six Flags with helping get people down off of a roller coaster.”
Next week, who knows?
He may greet the president when he lands to golf at Andrews, or he may make sure the grass gets cut on base.