B.O. Wilkins has had an interesting and exciting term as president of the 99th Infantry Division Association. To say that it was a full term would be an understatement. He stepped right in and filled the term of Joe Johnson, and has been on the go ever since.
His presence, along with Harry McCracken in Pittsburgh PA, at the transfer of the 99th flag was greatly appreciated. At a more prestigious ceremony in Belgium in December 2008, Wilkins and Howard Bowers represented the 99th at the dedication of a monument to veterans at Elsenborn Ridge.
Wilkins continued his travels in June with the 65th D-Day landing at Normandy, followed by a battlefield tour of the Ardennes.
After a short rest, Wilkins was on the go again. He handled the 60th reunion of our 99th Infantry Division with dispatch.
The group of more than 200 enjoyed a boat trip on the Mississippi, St. Louis Cardinals baseball game, and various tours in and around St. Louis MO. The event closed with a memorial service where more than 50 of our fallen veterans were recognized, a business meeting, ladies’ program, and sumptuous banquet. Following the meal, an outstanding group of entertainers, the Patt Holt Singers, performed.
Wilkins reports the project to digitize the 99th microfilm is well underway and a report will be forthcoming in the next issues of the Checkerboard.
The parts played by our executive director, Donna Bernhardt, her husband and daughter were indeed exemplary. From beginning to end they took into account every minute detail. The registration, pre-planning, advertising, hotel selection (even though it was not within walking distance of restaurants), programs, tours, meeting rooms, closing banquet and entertainment all reflect concern for call to duty. Thanks so much.
Our new chaplain, Arnold Taylor, came forward with flying colors. His unique memorial cover photo for those veterans we had lost since the previous year was a lasting work of art. The sermon was truly inspirational. The hymn sung by Melanie Wilkins, “A Soldier Comes Home,” was appropriate. We look forward to hearing her melodious voice again soon.
Thanks to past president John Vasa and his lovely wife Lil for manning the hospitality room.
See you in 2010!
herb knapp, pRESIDENT