You might know Darel Handley as emcee for the past five years of the every-Thursday-morning East County Rally & Ride, as well as a previous recipient of a PSAR Community Service award for his support of several military-related charities. But, did you know that he was a consultant on the 1990 motion picture, “The Hunt for Red October,” staring Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery and James Earl Jones? Based on a Tom Clancy novel, the movie follows a CIA analyst, a covert group of U.S. Naval officers and Russia’s best submarine captain in their newest sub who violates orders and heads for America.
Handley was a natural choice to assist the producers, cast and crew on technical collaboration. During his 30-year career in the U.S. Navy, Handley was assigned to six submarines and once spent 91 straight days submerged. “There is no night or day on a sub, it’s a sterile environment without lots of germs from outside air so no one catches a cold, and your only clue about the time of day is the menu in the chow hall,” he said. “I never had a problem with the feeling of confinement or claustrophobia because living on a sub was just part of my job,” he said.
Handley retired from the Navy in 2002 as a Master Chief, giving him and wife Linda – also a retired Naval Master Chief -- more time to enjoy the great outdoors at favorite hunting and fishing spots in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Then, a few years after leaving the Navy, he escorted some friends on a sub tour at Naval Base Point Loma. “It was a strange feeling to be back on board because I didn’t remember everything being so small,” Handley recalled.
His Naval career gave him opportunities to meet famous people, including U.S. presidents -- both George H.W. Bush the 41st and George W. Bush the 43rd – as well as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Tiger Woods and Larry Bird. “The moment you meet these famous people, you can tell they are different from other people. They are wired differently, plus they have a huge ability to focus and concentrate,” Handley said.
The Lakeside resident started selling real estate in 2003. His real estate career has included a focus on training. He owned a company that offered training classes for realtors for a few years. He also has overseen training for Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty’s 16 offices in San Diego.
Handley grew up in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. His dad directed Boy Scout camps throughout the state, giving young Darel the opportunity to spend every summer hiking, fishing and experiencing the archery and rifle range, as well as learning knot-tying and other outdoor skills. Darel’s 86-year-old mother still lives at Fond du Lac, Wis.
Darel and Linda, married for 27 years, have three children and four grandchildren, and the newest grandson was born in early May. Linda stays busy as a consultant for a defense contractor, involved in inspecting Navy ships.
“I am living an extremely fortunate life,” said Darel. “I’ve learned a positive outlook on life is the only way to live. Plus, I like people. Heck, I even like people whom I disagree with politically.
“And, I especially love PSAR because this organization understands customer service and what it means to be agent-focused. We have a very talented leadership team, a dedicated staff and we know how to have a good time having fun.”
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Don’t forget to read next week’s story. Hint: Before real estate, he worked in security for a luxury hotel visited by celebrities and professional athletes, some of whom would spend $50k a night, which included accommodations, dinners, liquor and tips.