2 Qtr 09 Update

Dear Proud to Be ’83,

 Many of you have told me that you are still not receiving the updates on the class.  I think I have solved this issue, however if you do not wish to be included, let me know and I will delete your address.  I want to continue to welcome all Proud to Be Alumni (not just those who graduated) to join us in our alumni events and support of the Academy.  Please pass this update to others who may be interested or who have had an email change I don’t know about.  If you would like the other two updates, check our website at http://www.west-point.org/class/usma1983/ .  This is the third update on class events and initiatives.  I apologize if you have not been receiving them.  There is much to report. 


Cadet Bob Lewis, ’09 Wins Inaugural Proud to Be ’83 Cadet Spirit Award (See Presentation Picture1 ,

Presentation Picture 2 and Presentation Picture 3)


 I was reminded how slow the bureaucracy at West Point was in establishing the Proud to Be ’83 Cadet Spirit Award.  After seven months, it is finally approved.  The first presentation venue could have been from any “Joe College” night of the past 30 years (although maybe not as spirited as the 4,000 C-ration boxes flying through the mess hall).  At the Corps Dinner on 7 May 2009 assembled on the Poop Deck were representatives from the Pep Band, Rabble Rousers, and some good old fashion mascots.  The Corps had assembled to recognize Cadet Bob Lewis ‘09 for his leadership in instilling Spirit.  COL Jeanette McMahon Agresano, our Rabble Rouser extraordinaire, made the first presentation.  The award is a mounted Bayonet.  Bob hails from Carbondale, Pennsylvania and graduated from Carbondale Area High School in 2005.  He majored in Environmental Geography and was commissioned in Armor.  Thanks Jeanette for making this event more than I ever imagined. 

USMA Class of 1983 Donates $5,000 at Wounded Warrior Project’s 2009 Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner

The WWP’s 2009 Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner was held on Thursday, May 14 2009 at Cipriani, 42nd Street in New York City.  Nearly 700 guests attended, including Bill O'Reilly, New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin and Tony Sirico from the Sopranos.  Bob Costas was the Master of Ceremonies for the event.  Amongst the star studded crowd was a table of USMA Class of 1983 Alumni there to support our wounded warriors – Tim McDonald, Joe Bassil, Bill Selman, Frank Giordano, and Mark Sullivan presented a check from the class for $5,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project in honor of our classmates on Active Duty.  The idea for support of the WWP was offered by BG Scott Miller at our 25th Reunion Class Meeting.  The Dinner provided the ideal location for the presentation.  Thanks Tim for encouraging and coordinating our participation.  Each year, the awards dinner provides the opportunity to bring together and honor many of the brave wounded warriors who have sacrificed much in service to our nation. The funds raised support thousands of injured service men and women and their families from battlefield to bedside and beyond. Almost $500K was raised to support the WWP from their signature program, which provides comfort items to newly injured service members — to TRACK, the first education center in the nation designed specifically for wounded warriors.  WWP’s benefits counseling, peer mentoring, and adaptive sports programs also aid in the challenging transition from a hospital bed to an independent, productive, and successful civilian life.  The following awards were given out during the ceremony:   The Talkhouse Award for Community Service – Johnny Damon, New York Yankees; The Tony Snow Award  – Michael Ward, CSX Corporation; The George C. Lang Award – John Fernandez, USMA 2001, Wounded Warrior & WWP Alumni member; and The John Melia Award For Warrior Service – John Melia, WWP Founder.

Wounded Warrior Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP serves to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women, to help severely injured service members aid and assist each other and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. For more information, please call 877 TEAM WWP (832-6997) or visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.


Class Offspring Silver Dollar Presentation Graduation Week (See Coin1 , Coin2 , Coin3   pictures)


COLs Tim Trainor and Donna Brazil once again did an outstanding job recognizing our class Offspring during Graduation Week at the Honor Monument.  They presented 2009 Lincoln Silver Proof Dollars to our three graduating offspring – COL Laureen Barone and Joe Leforte’s son and daughter, Joseph and Kathleen Leforte, as well as Laurie and Gregory Gongaware’s daughter Andrea (remember she parachuted onto the parade field during our 25th).  Please make sure we are aware of anyone joining future classes.  The class leadership wants to make sure our class sons and daughters know we all are proud of their accomplishments.  Thanks Tim and Donna for another memorable event.


Class Gift (2013)


We are making slow headway towards the funding for our 30th Reunion gift of $1.5 Million to the Global Leadership Center.  Since Jan 2008 (reunion year) we have received pledges and donations to the value of $268,255 (11% participation); this coupled with our current balances gives us roughly $438,973 which is less than a third of our commitment. We understand the economic climate and the ever increasing demand for donations to all organizations, we would only ask that the class be one of your priorities.  If you haven’t made your pledge yet, please take the time to commit to our gift.  AOG has an easy online donation signup where you can pledge an affordable monthly donation to be put on a credit card for a specified period of time (i.e. 60 months) – https://www.westpointaog.org/NetCommunity/SSLPage.aspx?pid=859.  

Harry Shablom is moving forward with classmate volunteers to contact every alumni of the Class of 1983.  Set up your pledge now to avoid a last minute donation around reunion time.  We currently have three classmates who have pledged $50K to the cause!  The Class Coins are beginning to make their way out to those who have pledge $1000 or more to the class gift.  Make your pledge today!  Thank You and thanks to Harry for your significant time and effort.


Exxon Mobil Presents Matching Gift Contributions (See Picture)


Representing Exxon Mobil, our very own fundraising officer, Harry Shablom, presented a check for $144,837 to the USMA Dean, BG Patrick Finnegan '71 on 30 April 2009.  Exxon Mobil matches employee gifts 3 to 1 for individual employees.  Their lifetime giving to USMA is $1,295,097.52.


Division I NCAA Softball Champions


Alyson McWherter, daughter of Laura and Len McWherter ’83, is the starting Center Fielder on the 2009 NCAA Division I Softball National Champion University of Washington Huskies.  During the championship series she made several outstanding catches to rob opposing players of extra base hits.  Len and Laura were able to visit with Pete Brual in Atlanta (Super Regional) and Tommy Morgan for the finals in Oklahoma City.  Alyson is a member of the Army ROTC at the UW.  See ESPN article – http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/columns/story?columnist=hays_graham&id=4224381


and the Washington News Tribune – http://www.thenewstribune.com/1042/story/766655.html 


Congratulations to the McWherter family.  That is all for now.  Go Army.Pete aka Fizzer