A Silver Buffalo in Arabia

Over the years, newly hired expats from all over the world have arrived in Arabia to begin working for Saudi Aramco with varied levels of foreknowledge about what to expect from their new lives in an exotic land redolent of history and mystery. Fortunately for Al Denyer, Badge Number 99257, his father had worked for the U.S. government building the generating plant in Dhahran in 1950. That gave him some idea of what lay ahead when he arrived in the KSA in 1980 with his wife Patricia. For the next 10 years, he worked for Aramco, first as a Systems Engineer for the Systems Operation Department in Dhahran and later as a Project Engineer for N/A Projects in Ras Tanura.

Like so many of his Aramco colleagues, Al became actively involved in community service in the Kingdom, enriching the lives of the families in the compounds in which he lived and places beyond. In his case, his great joy involved working with the Boy Scouts of America. For his efforts providing a quality program for young men in all areas of Aramco, including those in Yanbu, he was presented with one of scouting’s highest and most distinguished honors by the National Court of Honor—the Silver Beaver Award. According to the Boy Scouts, this recognition is given “to recognize registered Scouters of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service.”

[Note: Not just anyone receives the Silver Beaver Award. For instance, one of the most famous honorees was Ezra Taft Benton, one-time president of the Mormon Church and Secretary of Agriculture under President Dwight Eisenhower. As a co-honoree, Al is in distinguished company.]

“We had a very high percentage of boys earning the Eagle Scout rank,” he proudly remembers.

The Boy Scout motto is, “Be prepared.” Al did his best to instill this value in the young men with whom he worked, and he was rewarded for his efforts.

A Silver Buffalo in Arabia

Al and Patricia have been blessed with three children: Larry Allen Denyer, Linda Lee Abilez, and Steven Reilly Denyer. Their children have further blessed them with 10 grandchildren: Kayla Herron, age 29; Brianna Abilez, age 28; Kiana Peper, age 24; Bryce Abilez, age 22; Lawry Denyer, age 20; Maren Denyer, age 19; Reilly Denyer, age 13; Holden Denyer, age 12; Mackenna Denyer, age 8; and Adalynn Elise Finnerty Denyer, 4 weeks.

AXP: What attracted you to working for Saudi Aramco and living in Saudi Arabia?

AD: My main reason was the need for a change from a job I had in Florida for the previous 20 years. Also a need to accumulate some money to pay for our children’s college. I found that my experiences at Aramco were far more educational and challenging than what I had been doing previously.

AXP: What is one of your favorite memories of Saudi Arabia?

AD: We especially enjoyed the cultural experiences as it was still less developed at that time. I enjoyed working with the Saudi engineers assigned to my areas of work. We learned to love the foods in that area of the world and enjoyed our many travels during our yearly vacations. We continue to travel each year to cover those areas that we had not gotten to visit during our years in Saudi Arabia.

AXP: What are some of your favorite hobbies in your retirement?

AD: Gardening and yearly travels not to mention time with our children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, our eldest son has returned to the Hague to take a new assignment with the OPCW, so we will have to travel to Holland to visit with his family.

Al and Patricia currently live at 31271 Point Lookout Road, Mechanicsville, Maryland 20659 USA. Friends and colleagues can reach them via email at: [email protected]