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 President's Corner

Published in the July 2005 Ragged Irregular

Your officers had our quarterly Conference Call on 14 May and helped me celebrate nearly three months of exceptional recovery of my wife, Joan, from her auto accident. We deeply appreciate your prayers, calls and letters - some from friends we did not know in England. We are busily "sniffing the roses" that we may have been in danger of missing in doing all those oh-so-important things that seem to consume our lives. Holding hands is still good stuff.

In our Conference Call I reviewed a video of work being done on the "Memphis Belle" last fall by the local Committee that was sent to us by one of our members. Earl Pate is still following the situation to express our concern that "our" airplane is safeguarded for future generations. We also discussed a call received from a reporter in England, Peter Almond, who was writing about the grounding of the B-17 "Sally B" which flew out of Duxford for Memorial Day celebrations in the past, as well as other events; it has been grounded because of very expensive insurance required for private aircraft by a recent European Union ruling. The French owners of a flyable B-17 are ignoring the ruling - but then they subsequently expressed their less than enthusiasm for the EU Constitution and their own beloved President Chirac.

Our finances continue solid even though the "Folded Wings" tells a story of missing participants in the future. We finally received the bill for the lengthy restoration and detail work on the Prop Memorial which will reduce our separate Memorial Maintenance Fund to about $4000, so if you know anyone who would like to display a lithograph of the "Ruhr Valley Raiders" I still have a couple of the signed ones with the brochures for $140 or the unsigned ones for $90 including S&H. We just had our High School Graduations here in Tacoma and one of our schools had 5 recipients of scholarships to military service schools - Air Force Academy, Academy prep School, West Point (USMA), Naval Academy and Coast Guard. Their ROTC program deserves a present of a copy of the lithograph, so I'll "buy" one and we will benefit with the proceeds going to our Memorial Maintenance Fund. How about you trying for a similar "double duty" gift?

We discussed the proposed By-Laws revisions that address officers' responsibilities as we look to the future of the organization. Joe Harlick, our Nominations and By-Laws chairman, will be encouraging you to maintain your interest and participation in the months ahead. Hope the next generation of 91st BGMA are thinking of how they will make things even better. Along that line, as if they didn't contribute enough already with the web site, Jim and Suzi Shepherd sponsored another great Rally Round at Chino; I had hoped to attend, but Joan's not quite ready for me to run off for a weekend as she transitions from the wheelchair to a walker. What was your excuse?

We try to always look at the future while honoring the past. Jake Howland brought us up to date on the Memorial Day plans in England and on the Continent and you will see reports elsewhere of the wonderful efforts of our friends abroad on our behalf. Vince Hemmings noted that they had one of the worst rain storms he had seen in England on Memorial Day but that the line waiting to enter the Cemetery was some two miles long in spite of the weather; three cheers for such dedicated friends. Bet you did not read that in the media!

As for the future, Ace Johnson and I - with noble assistance from Sam Newton - are moving forward on plans for the 2006 reunion in Colorado Springs. There is an Academy football game scheduled for 2 Sep (Labor Day weekend), so we are tentatively planning the Reunion for Wed, 30 Aug through Sat, 2 Sep.

Keep the engines running, Ed

P.S. - At a subsequent conference call, your Board decided to change the date of the 2006 Reunion. The conflict with Labor Day plans seemed to outweigh the desire to see a USAF Academy football game with an unknown opponent. Also, a consideration was that the "season" for Colorado Springs runs through mid-month. We decided to reschedule our Reunion for Wed, 20 Sep through Sat, 23 Sep 2006 (or possibly the prior week if we can get the same prices for hotel, transportation and events). Apparently that will also make more hotels interested in working with us. We'll keep you up to date. Ace and I plan to visit the area this September to check on possible events, tours and hotels,