Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2011 19:01:16 -0700
From: Dian Welle <diwelle@west-point.org>
To: corps@west-point.org
Subject: WP-ORG: FD 30 - Privileged to Serve the Long Gray Line

WP-ORG is just under 70% of the total needed to complete this fund drive. We need your help to meet our goal. You can donate by credit card, check, or PayPal: http://www.west-point.org/donate/

This past year found me in the Superintendent's conference room, looking around in awe. All I could ask myself was, "Who in the world gets to see this, and how did I become one of the few who have?" Suffice it to say, a series of meetings, friendships and experiences brought me closer to West Point than I could have ever imagined. I was honored to be there. I was an invited participant in a meeting room, where great men and women meet to discuss how to best mold the future leaders of this country. All of this, just because I was in the right place at the right time, and I believe (or hope) it is apparent to all, that the Academy moves me in ways one can never imagine.

In 1998, my husband and I drove our daughter through Thayer Gate. She would take her oath as a member of the class of 2002 the following day. It was our first trip to West Point. passing through that gate was an Alice Through The Looking Glass moment for me. Most of us have found ourselves standing in a spot that immediately grabs us with its importance, its value, and its significance in our life. That is how the Academy affected me.

Following that first drive through the gate, we visited the Library, and found the display of class rings. My daughter zeroed in on one and said, "This is what my ring will look like." It was beautiful: A sapphire, surrounded by alternating rubies and diamonds. Red, White and Blue. It had been donated to the Library by the parents of CDT Roger Herndon, class of 1992, who died in an aircraft crash during flight training. The impact of why it was on display was not lost to us. We commented that she'd have a long few years before she could order that ring.

I cannot claim West Point as "mine," except that I work every day with its graduates. I am a proud citizen, who has been given an amazing privilege of knowing the Academy without being one of the best and brightest who walked within those walls. The opportunities I have had, have provided me with the unique responsibility of not only saying there is value in the place, but being able to testify, if not fight, to keep the Academy alive, for I know the people who were taught there. I know that they are our Nation's brightest hope when the chips are down. I know how their leadership can change the country not only through its military, but through the leadership that follows them into business in this country.

WP-ORG is a place where graduates and families of not only West Point, but of Annapolis and other military-related groups grow and keep their history. The many email lists that are archived daily speak to the future of every American who values the military members who keep us safe. WP-ORG, through its class listservs keeps your history and contact with classmates. Through its specialty lists, WP-ORG helps you express your opinions, or in some cases change your opinion, and engage in discussion with people who share your core values. WP-ORG has provided email lists for soldiers to communicate with large groups of people during deployment. It provides parent lists, so parents can learn about those things that are shaping those young men and women that we drove through the gates of the Academy on that first day. I assure you that on the day they walk out of those gates on graduation day, they will be very different people.

Lastly, WP-ORG creates a eulogy page for every deceased graduate. The most humbling of these for me, and the most difficult, are the eulogy pages I create for those killed in the line of duty. http://www.west-point.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=81&Itemid=75 Each of them is personal for me, and in some cases I work with the family to make sure the page is perfect in their eyes. I get to know some of those family members quite well.

On my last business trip to West Point, I went to see the new library. I sought out the the ring display, where my daughter first proclaimed the design of her class ring. Since the first time I saw it, she has been deployed four times, and continues to serve as a Physician's Assistant at Ft. Campbell. She did in fact graduate wearing a ring with a sapphire center, and rubies and diamonds alternating around it. What I did not expect to see in the library that day, were a few rings of those young grads that had been killed in action in the war against terror. I had created their eulogy pages. I knew them. I knew them, because WP-ORG gave me the opportunity to do what I am doing today for every class, for every parent, and for others who love and serve this country. I had first seen the display in 1998 as the mother of an incoming cadet. I was witnessing it on R-Day in 2011 as an employee of WP-ORG, and a proud mother of a soldier, who had the honor of creating the eulogy pages for the owners of those rings which were set on display after 1998. I will admit to an embarrassing display of tears that day.

I am asking you to support WP-ORG, so it can continue to grow, continue to support, and on a personal level, continue to teach "just a mom" a lesson or two in honor, and what it takes to grow a leader.
http://www.west-point.org/donate/

Dian Welle
WP-ORG IT MANAGER

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WP-ORG's budget for the next six months ($98,590) can be reviewed at:
http://www.west-point.org/budget

If donating by check:
Please make your check payable to WP-ORG and indicate your class year and West Point affiliation.
WP-ORG INC
3800 Buffalo Mountain Road SW
Willis, VA 24380

Our fund drive budgets 2001 - 2011 may be viewed here:
http://www.west-point.org/service/fd30/program/BudgetPlot2001-2011.gif

Why contribute? An explanation can be found at:
http://www.west-point.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=66&Itemid=73

FD30 Donation Report: https://secure.west-point.org/donate/report/