November 6 and 7, 2009

The AWON Board of Directors met in New Orleans for their annual in-person board meeting this year.  The weekend coincided with the opening of the new "Victory Theater" venue at the WWII Museum in New Orleans. Chickie Shields Berry, coordinator of AWON's donation efforts on behalf of the museum, was an honored guest and, along with new president, Ed Peters, marched into the dedication with the WW II veterans. Former Senator and war hero, George McGovern led the parade of veterans. Tom Brokaw, Tom Hanks, and other political dignitaries were speakers. During the ceremonies, war orphans were mentioned twice and AWON once.

Chickie and STAR editor, Kathy LeComte Lupton, attended the VIP events on Friday night while the rest of the board caroused around the French Quarter, had dinner together and shared laughs. The board was joined by Walt Linne, Barb Kelly, Gail Eisenhauer, Jerry and Judy Pinkerton, Stacey Roberts as well as some boardies' significant others. It was wonderful to have so many members join with the board in the dedication events as well as the dinners and breakfasts together. Never ones to waste an opportunity to make money for AWON, Walt and Barb even had a small store set up for us.

George McGovern leads the parade of veterans grouped by branches of service.


Chickie Shields Berry and Ed Peters proudly march in among the veterans,
representing those who did not return.


Veterans enter the parade ground for the event.


More veterans young and old represent their services.


Tom Brokaw at the speakers' platform.


Tom Hanks says a few words.


Chickie Shields Berry with museum director, Stephen Watson, at the Friday night VIP event.
She talked Mr. Watson into giving AWON's Turner book, containing so many of our stories,
as a gift of gratitude to Mr. Brokaw and Mr. Hanks.


Kathy LeComte Lupton and Chickie Shields Berry look gorgeous
representing AWON at the Friday night event.


After the dedication, attendees gathered at the corner of the new
Victory Theater Building for a group photo. From left: Kathy Le Comte, Bonnie Crane Hellums, Stacy Crossen Roberts, Gail Eisenhauer, Jerry Pinkerton behind Barry Barr-Finch, Judy Geis Hoffman in front of Tom Brewer, Norma Nicol Hamilton in front of Steve Hoffman in white hat, Bob Hamilton, Barb Kelly and Walt Linne.


Bob Hope, with golf club in hand, interrupts the proceedings by arriving
in a jeep complete with the horn blowing as he drove up.


Your board hard at work.

Left to right: Ed Peters, Kathy LeComte, Norma Nicol Hamilton (manning the speakerphone containing Gerry Morenski), Judy Hoffman, Bonnie Hellums, Norm Burkey, and Barry Barr Finch.  Board member Bob Meek, was unable to attend.


Dinner in the Quarter.

Left to right: Carel Stith (Bonnie's hubby), Barbara Kelly, Walt Linne,
Tom Brewer, and Barry Barr Finch.


The other end of the table: left to right: 
Norm Burkey, Jerry Pinkerton, Stacey Roberts, and Gail Eisenhauer.


Gerry Morenski enjoys a latte by speaker phone from Massachusetts.


The astounding Victory Theater. The film, Beyond All Boundaries, a multi sensory event
produced by Tom Hanks is shown there. There is also a canteen
for great food along with a USO type show.

Photos are thanks to Kathy LeComte and Bonnie Hellums and various waiters and passers by.
Text and captions are thanks to & submitted by Judy Hoffman.