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Dear Classmates, Families and Friends,
This report is getting out a little later than usual because of the in-barracks mini at West Point. I believe everyone who attended shares my viewpoint that it was a great success and that those of you who have an opportunity to attend a graduate seminar in the future might try to do so. We have heard it said that this is West Point's answer to Elderhostel.
Perpetual Fund Update
The Provisional Endowment Board (Ed Weckel, Lee Miller, Church Hutton and Chuck Hansult) drafted a set of by-laws, which were then modified based on legal advice provided by Joe Luman, and submitted to the Executive Committee
for review. We believe they have been carefully thought out and written to secure the long range stated objectives of the fund. They are enclosed for your review and approval, which we recommend. We also request that you nominate candidates at this time for the five elected positions specified in Section 2a, Article IV. A ballot to record your approval and to list your
nominations is at the end of this letter.
For your information, the fund is doing much better than we even anticipated. Our initial investment of $64,339 has increased by 26 percent to $81,039 as of 8 June 1999.
Health Care Proposal
As those of you on email already know, the Executive Committee supports a proposal by The Retired Officers Association and other members of the Military Coalition to allow military members (active and retired) and their families to join the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP). We hope that with an endorsement from a majority of our classmates, we can get a
ground swell going to build support for this cause. First our class, then other classes, the Association of Graduates, and so on to add to the on-going efforts of the Military Coalition to get this legislation passed.
We are not trying to turn our class into a political advocacy group, but we believe this legislation, if passed and implemented, will help a sizable number of classmates. As you may know, the military retiree and his family are getting less than they bargained for on health care after age 65. Although we were promised free health care for life for putting in 20 or more
years, what we are ending up getting is Medicare along with everyone else and the POSSIBILITY of care in a military facility IF space is available. Contrast this with all other federal civilian employees (including the President and members of Congress) who get great guaranteed medical benefits for life for a nominal fee under FEHBP. What we are asking for is to be given
the opportunity to enroll in FEHPB also.
To those of us who are military retirees, the benefits of this proposal are obvious. A legitimate question is why should a non-military retiree support this program. One good reason might be that it would support your classmates who did do the 20+ years. Beyond that however, we believe that this breach of promise by the government is one of the causes (not the only
one by any stretch of the imagination) why the military is having such a hard time retaining and recruiting people. Speaking personally, I have reservations recommending a military career to a young person these days. If you share this concern, perhaps that might be motivation enough for you to support this endeavor.
Please help us military retirees by:
1) Supporting the efforts of TROA and the other members of the Military Coalition to regain our promised health care,
2) Contacting your Congressmen and asking your Representative to support Rep Moran's Bill (HR 205) and your Senators to introduce a companion bill in the Senate (for a list of Senators & Representatives email addresses and/or phone
numbers, see TROA's web site at www2.troa.org/congdir.html ), and 3) Supporting our efforts to go forward on behalf of the class of 1958 to the Service leadership and others asking for attention to this important matter.
We need a mandate from the class to move ahead.
Memorial Ring Program
Ron Turner proposed to the AOG that they sponsor a program whereby graduates may bequeath or their descendents may donate their West Point rings to West Point for the specific purpose of incorporating the gold into class rings for all future graduates. These grads would then wear rings composed in part from the rings worn by hundreds of West Pointers who have since joined the "ghostly assemblage". As Ron states in an article in the May/June 1999 issue of Assembly, West Point started this tradition of class rings in 1835; this is just the next evolution. Congratulations to Ron for a great idea.
Presentation of Annual Awards
Bill and Antonia Giallourakis presented the Capelle Award on 20 May to the cadet company commander of Company C, the winner of the intramural competition at the USMA Prep School. The class also sponsored the annual pizza party for the 60 or so members of this winning company.
Pete Brintnall presented the Malone Award at the annual Georgetown ROTC dinner to Cadet Philip Radzikowski of George Washington University, the leader of the best Ranger challenge team in the regional competition. Pete spoke to the ROTC cadets from Georgetown, George Mason and American Universities about Larry's work in establishing the Ranger Company at
Georgetown and his service and death in Vietnam.
Lastly, Tom and Emily Carpenter were involved in two events in memory of George Walker. They presented Cadets Trent Baer and Kenneth Kando, the two most outstanding debaters in the USMA graduating class, each with a set of
bound books. They also participated with about 45 members of the class in the dedication of the Walker Debate and Counsel Room at USMA. Tom certainly brought tears to the eyes of a lot of us when he, LTG Greenleaf and two
family priests spoke about Mom and Pop Walker and the values they instilled in their son and daughters. It was a beautiful ceremony and a great gift to West Point from the class.
Jim Castle was reelected to the AOG Board of Trustees for a new three-year term beginning in July 1999. Alan Salisbury was elected to the Class Executive Committee at the April class luncheon, replacing Chuck Hansult. On behalf of the class, we would like to thank Chuck for his seven years of dedicated service to the class. During these years he provided significant
input to the decisions that went into the renovation of the First Class Club, the preparation and execution of the 40th reunion and cruise, and the preparation of the Perpetual Fund By-laws. You will be greatly missed, Chuck.
Recent Deaths and Memorial Articles
Although we are certainly in the "zone of consideration" now, the grim reaper seems to be hitting us unusually hard recently. I am sad to announce to you who are not on email that Dick Webb died on 7 December, Jack Madigan
on 9 January, and Ted Burke on 31 May, all from heart attacks. We have also just learned that Ron Brunner died on 20 November of liver failure. I am sure I reflect the sentiments of the class when I express our condolences to
Audrey Webb, Elizabeth Madigan, to Ted's son, Tom, and to Ron's sisters. I'd also again like to thank all who have taken the time and effort to attend the funeral services and for your continuing support of those who remain behind.
I just received some data from the AOG that of all the classes since 1930, we rank third in the percentage of memorial articles completed on our deceased classmates. This superior ranking is due largely to the efforts of the 48 writers of the published articles and the leadership of Jack Downing, CINC Obits, and his predecessor, Tom Claffey. Having said this however, I
don't mean that we can not improve. The list of memorial articles to be published in the Assembly continues to grow. As of this writing, we have 25 that have not yet been completed. Included in this figure are five on classmates who died over twenty years ago: Bob Stinson's, now being written by Will Roosma, Ed Hale's by Jim Wildey, Bob Degan's by Ed Offgant, Bill
Denson's by Don Martin, and Jim Godbey's by Glenn Brown. I again especially ask these writers to complete these efforts as soon as possible and ask everyone else to please assist and encourage them in this very emotional task
As Jack Downing continually points out, everyone needs to take just a half an hour now and jot down your early life history, significant accomplishments that you take special and deserved pride in, and anything else that you would like to have included in an article on yourself. Then send it to the AOG. It will certainly help your obituary writer in years to come.
AOG Goings On and Upcoming Leaders Conference
As you may have noted, this year the AOG sent a ballot to each graduate to use to vote for new trustees. The good news is that this initiative resulted in a five-fold increase in the number of people voting (from about 800 to 4,000). The other news is that only about 80 graduates made any comments on their ballot on the issue of choice. About 60 indicated that they wanted more choices and the other 20 stated they were comfortable with the current system. In my opinion more choices are very desirable, but the real problem is in the nomination process itself. If we are to get more people on the board who are independent thinkers and not beholden to the current leadership for renomination and eventual trustee emeritus status, we need to revise the nomination process. Perhaps the nomination committee should be composed of members who are randomly selected and are not current trustees (as they are now).
Jack Hammack has appointed a committee to examine issues bearing on how the association should be governed. Among the issues to be examined are the roles of class and emeritus trustees, means for further increasing member participation, and ways to improve the functioning of the board of trustees. Although these governance topics are not at the heart of the topics to be
discussed at the upcoming leader's conference that Palmer McGrew and I will attend at West Point from 7-10 July, they will be discussed. If you have any ideas on how the association can help classes or any other thoughts on any relevant issues, we would welcome the input.
Annual Financial Report
Thanks to the combined efforts of Alan Chase, the class treasurer, Dusty Rhodes, our checking account manager, and Sue Meyer, our resident CPA, we have also inclosed with this letter our annual financial report. You will see that we have about $81 thousand in our gift fund, which is being held, in trust by the AOG for eventual use by USMA. If we add to this amount the money in our Perpetual Gift Fund, we have accumulated about $170 thousand for eventual use by West Point.
Our class operating fund continues to operate in the black even if we take out the 40th Reunion revenues and expenditures on which we inadvertently made a profit of about $8.8 thousand (we try to just break even). We do not mean to imply that we are running deep in the black because part of our revenues this year includes money for the Malone Endowment. Even discounting these two facets, we are about tangent (breaking even), which is where us goats like to be.
Future Class Events
You should have already received the mailing from the Gang of Four/Eight (the Vantures, Connells, Hills, and Millers) on the Portland mini, 7-10 September 2000 and the follow-on cruise to Alaska. If not, contact Paul at 8311 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97219-4609 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to feedback on the proposed Alaska cruise, Dick Oberg has arranged for a possible alternative cruise from the one discussed in the mini letter. This cruise would provide for a more intense experience on a smaller boat. The alternative cruise is from Juneau to Seattle just prior to the reunion on a 96-passenger vessel, whereas the Vancouver to Seward (Anchorage)
cruise on the Holland/America vessel outlined in the mini letter is after the mini. For more details or to give Dick your preference, contact him at email@example.com or at (425) 355-4533.
For planning purposes, our next mini after Portland is in Santa Fe, NM in 2001.
Bill Gillette is putting together a class skiing trip to Austria from 7-17 January 2000.
Jerry Mitchell and Phil Pryor are sponsoring a very reasonably priced boat trip down the Rhone River from the middle to the south of France on the Princess de Provence in May or June 2000. So far about 40 people have expressed interest. They still need to commit for the total number of cabins needed, so if you are interested contact Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him
at (703) 998-8214 ASAP. Space is limited and it's first come first served, so contact him soonest.
Class Email Net
The number of people on our class email net continues to grow. We now have 316 on the net, which is the highest percentage of any class in our general year group. However, we are always recruiting more. For every person who joins this net, that's one less letter we have to print, fold, stick, stuff and lick. For those of you who have done a mail-out, you know what I'm
talking about. The email solution is a win-win situation. You get class info in a more timely manner, and get to participate more fully in class affairs by getting agendas and minutes of the Executive Committee on which we solicit (and welcome) your input. We save on postage and the work associated in mail-outs. If you are not already on our net, please consider joining. Contact Dick Buckalew at email@example.com to be added to the list.
Lastly, if you want a copy of the new class address roster when it comes out in a week or so, please let me know. Also, please remember to send in your ballot slip.
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