The meeting of the West Point Class of 1955 Executive Committee (EXCOM) was called to order in Villages at the Arboretum of Austin, Texas by President Johnson at 0945.
Present: Charlie Johnson President, Jim Drummond Vice President, Jim Bergen Treasurer, Dan Ludwig Historian, Jim Ryan Scribe (also representing Don Andrews as Acting Secretary), and Jack Campbell Information Systems Officer. Dick Baker attended to make two presentations. George Kennebeck helped set up the meeting space, then left early.
Johnson thanked Campbell for putting together the meeting for the EXCOM and noted the Class Constitution calls for a meeting of the Committee at least once per year. Ryan passed on that Andrews had planned to attend but is under doctor’s orders not to travel due to health issues.
Treasurer’s Report: Bergen. See his detailed report Attachment A. In round numbers the Class has about $64K in the Memory Fund, about $5.3K in the Caring Fund, about $30K for Memory Pages (in escrow with AOG), about $14K in the Operating Fund which includes $2K on loan to the 60th Reunion Committee.
Mini-Reunion Report: Baker for Haas. See the detailed report Attachments B, C, and D. A resolution by unanimous consent was passed praising Haas and his committee.
Scribe’s Report: Ryan. Our Class Notes run about 1300-1500 words with up to 12 pictures. The Scribe will be trying to get more pictures in the notes. Each picture has to be related to text in the notes. Campbell and Sims are really helpful in getting the notes done. Campbell recommended we try to do something about access problems to all class notes. Jack Griggs has assumed oversight of the Class Prayer List. Campbell asked the Scribe to put in the notes a reminder of the Class Prayer List. Johnson said pertaining to ASSEMBLY which no longer exists, we are dealing with a new generation that gets its information from electronic resources. We will put Class Notes on the ’55 web page under the heading "ASSEMBLY." The notes will be mailed to forty or so classmates who are not on the web. Campbell prepares a snail mail roster and Charlie has been mailing out the snail mail himself. As a guide to policy, Bergen suggested dropping persons showing "no interest" from the snail mail list; i.e., not quite half. Campbell mentioned we need a policy on snail mail. Drummond talked about a new source of information in Parents’ nets and asked are we doing our fair share with relation to WP-ORG? Campbell said yes; we are in first or second place of classes supporting WP-ORG.
Information Systems Officer Report. Campbell. See his report Attachment E. Eighty-four percent of surviving members of the class are on the net. Fifty-one members are not on nets, 9 of which have given Campbell email addresses. This leaves 42 (not including widows and children). Of the 114 widows, 46 are on the net and another 24 have email addresses. Johnson praised the outstanding work of Campbell and Sims. Home Page: As webmaster, Sims does all the work of maintaining the Class web page. Campbell gave a short history on the evolution of the Home Page. The web page started about five years ago with less than seven "hits" a day, and now is up to a hundred a day. Our on-line roster is updated the same day that changes are received from 55ers. The AOG roster for ’55 is in better shape than any other class’ for we pass on to the AOG the changes as they are received. Ludwig receives the changes and updates the EXCEL roster monthly. There are sub-links to the AOG roster and the EXCEL roster on the Home Page under the "West Point 1955 Roster" link. Campbell suggested all try a new "app" called Drop Box (free) to back up and share files. He may reduce the number of nets as traffic is slowing down (aren’t we all?); e.g., the Forum has about six messages a day, while the Business net has only about one every other day. A good feature is that there are many links on the Home Page to interesting data.
Widow Support. Baker for Wargowsky. See his report Attachment F. Campbell suggested we need to consider turning over some of the operations of the Class to the widows. Ludwig noted that the Class Constitution extends associate membership to all widows of our Class. They cannot hold positions of Class Officers; however, they may serve on committees or be given special assignments. Johnson agreed to check on what other classes have done on their constitutions related to this subject. Ludwig also commented on the origins of the Widow Support Program. See handout Attachment G. Johnson made remarks on the outstanding Widow Support Program which is envied by other classes. There are eleven Class widows buried in the West Point Cemetery. He asked if the EXCOM thought widows should be updated on the Cemetery expansion project? A discussion on the subject followed.
Memorial Articles. Ludwig for McKinney. See Attachment H. Ludwig: It is difficult to get writers and family cooperation on memorial articles. He further stated that our primary emphasis currently is to find replacements for committee members to serve as coordinators, one for each of our regiments. Drummond asked what happens to archives when we are all gone? Ludwig has asked AOG about this. When Archiv
e discarded. [Some Class authored books are kept in our Class archives. Johnson said TAPS are copied at Emma Willard School.]
There was a break at 1220 for a delicious lunch which had been arranged for by Campbell. The meeting was called back to order at 1340.
Reunions, general discussion. Johnson. The 60th Reunion will be held at West Point in 2015. Campbell said there have been some objections to the bus rides from the reunion hotel to and from West Point. This was followed by an off-the-record informal discussion requiring no action. Pirkey is preparing to run the 60th Reunion. He has formed a committee for the purpose. He is using an AOG service for running reunions. Cost for Registration will be about $95 more than for the 55th Reunion, or about $550. Ludwig advised that Fred Pirkey had requested he prepare a book for the sixtieth. He agreed, but he also advised Fred that the consensus of the previous EXCOM was that printing the 55th Reunion book would be the last for our Class. Bergen cautioned about using the Class Fund for reunion expenses the Class Fund being not for that purpose; reunions should pay for themselves. There was general agreement reunions should not be subsidized.
Tom Bell candidacy for West Point Football Hall of Fame (WPFHOF). Johnson. Johnson went through the HOWITZERS for information and ideas. He has 30+ names of people who played football with Bell. He has a collection of letters supporting Bell for the WPFHOF and made the letters available to the EXCOM members to read. He may put the letters together in an album.
Distinguished Graduate (DG) nomination. Johnson. No success this year. Vitty to remain our candidate for two more years. Johnson had a call from another class president asking how ’55 has had so much success with DG nominations.
Cemetery Expansion project. Johnson. We have about $240,000 available against a commitment of $260,000. We need $20,000 more. Bergen knows of a planned donation of $5,500 leaving about $15,000 to be raised. Johnson sent a "Letter of Intent" to the Superintendent on 55’s contribution to the Cemetery Expansion.
Honorary Class Membership. Johnson. Someone had been proposed for honorary class membership in ’55. It was agreed Johnson would advise the individual wanting to extend the Honorary Membership that there is a section in the Class of 1955 Constitution with the provisions for doing so.
There followed an off-the-record informal discussion which required no follow-up action.
Vietnam War Memorial Wall Education Center. Johnson. The Class of 1953 is giving pictures of its fallen comrades to the Education Center. Drummond said we need to have more information on the project before taking any further action to see if we want to do the same. It was the consensus of the Committee no action would be taken at this time.
Announcements. Johnson. 1. Gilpatrick Memorial Service will take place 21 April. 2. A study has shown West Point Gymnastic Team alumni are extraordinarily successful in life. 3. Feagin has suggested more acknowledgements of ’55 contributions to West Point.
Next Meeting of the Executive Committee. Johnson. A motion was made to hold the next meeting by coming to the Mini-Reunion a day early. The motion failed for lack of a second. The meeting date remains to be set.
The meeting concluded, and the attendees left to prepare for the wonderful dinner at a local Mexican "interior style" restaurant arranged for by the Campbell's.
Respectfully submitted for Don Andrews,
Jim Ryan, Scribe, acting Secretary for this meeting.
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ATTACHMENTS: [Click on link to see attachment]
A. Treasurer’s Report
B. Mini-Reunion Report
C. Mini-Reunion Attendees
D. Mini-Reunion Checkbook
E. ISO Report
F. Widow Support Program
F-1. Widow Support Program Map
G. Widow Support Info
H. Memorial Articles Report
H-1. Status of TAPS