DIXON – For Megan Skeffington, December 2003 is a special time to remember. She had been a security escort for actor and comedian Robin Williams during his visit to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, on a USO tour to support the troops.
Then an active duty sergeant with the Army, Skeffington, by chance, was one of 10 soldiers selected to usher VIPs around the base, she said.
“It’s a funny story,” Skeffington said. “I had been picked ... to escort a general. Someone else drew Robin Williams and didn’t want to be tied up having to walk around with him.
“I said I would do it.”
That was Skeffington’s ticket to hang out with the man who made famous Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire, the main character of her favorite Williams movie.
Williams, 63, died Monday at his San Francisco home of an apparent suicide.
For about 2 hours that night, Skeffington was part of a dinner party with the manic comedian as the guest of honor, and “it was amazing.”
“He came up, shook my hand, and thanked me for defending the country. He was energetic … [and] talked a lot,” she said with a smile.
Skeffington, then 24, was a petroleum specialist. She kept track of fuel that powered hundreds of armored vehicles and aircraft on base. Camp Arifjan was a transitional place for soldiers before and after deployment to Iraq.
She didn’t think someone like Williams would be interested in knowing about her work, but he was genuine, she said, and spent a while in conversation.
Skeffington, an 8-year veteran, left the service in 2006, and now works security at the Byron Generating Station. She heard about the actor’s suicide while on a fishing trip in Oregon.
“I didn’t believe it,” she said.
“You can have all the money in the world … fame and fortune … and still not be happy deep down inside. It’s a tragedy that somebody you think has everything … is hurting so bad inside.”
The meal at Camp Arifjan would be something she would never forget, she said.
“We were eating ham, scalloped potatoes and corn. It was a simple mess hall meal … it’ll last with me forever.”
As a tribute to Williams, Skeffington, 35, shared a photo of her with the actor on her Facebook page.