Saturday, Aug. 9, 10 a.m., Westin Crown Center, Kansas City MO
The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m. by vice president B.O. Wilkins in the absence of president Joe Johnson.
The sergeants-at-arms advanced the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Treasurer J.R. McIlroy said the association had a balance of $103,052 in checking accounts and certificates of deposit.
Executive director Donna Bernhardt presented a membership report, saying there are 1,815 current members including 170 widows and 217 associates. There were 19 new members for the year.
She also gave the report for the Washington, D.C., convention. Attendance was up, with 648 registered. She reported a loss of $84.
A report of the Kansas City convention showed a total registration of 246, of which approximately 80 were veterans.
A site selection report was given by McIlroy, who said St. Louis MO, had been chosen as the site of the 60th annual convention. It will be held June 24-28, 2009, at the Marriott West St. Louis. He went on to say the committee will plan one year in advance. Depending on the 2009 attendance, the convention may remain in St. Louis for another year.
Herm Saunders said future conventions needed a better hospitality room than what was provided in Kansas City.
Phil Benefiel asked if it was time to end conventions after next year? He suggested doing something special, perhaps including a prominent speaker and extra functions.
Stewart Boone said he would check into the Cardinals’ schedule, suggesting it might be possible to have 99th veterans recognized at a baseball game.
“Let’s go out while we’re riding high,” said Nick Gianopoulos, “and call 2009 the final one.”
No decisions were made.
McIlroy, as planning committee chairman, told the membership the committee had not met this year as there were no new plans. “We’ve done everything we wanted – a book, memorial, movie,” he said. “Now, the planning is done. We need to stay healthy and enjoy our friends.”
As far as funds, McIlroy reiterated that plans for the future include putting some funds aside to publish the Checkerboard and maintain the monuments and spending the rest.
Ron Kraemer gave the archives committee report in the absence of chairman Harry McCracken. He recognized McCracken for his efforts to get a stained-glass window for Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh PA, and the 99th Infantry Division highway named, as well as his work with the Regional Readiness Sustainment Command.
Kramer reported the board of directors had approved an expenditure of $2,600 to digitize the Checkerboard.
A suggestion was made to have the VHS movies in the War Room transferred to DVD. Bruce Kish offered to take names of those wanting to purchase DVDs.
Kish also reported the 99th statue project had been discontinued. Fund-raising efforts had failed, he said. Plans now are to scale down the 12-foot statue to a six-foot version and place it at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall at Pittsburgh, or Fort Benning GA.
The archives committee recommended placing the statue at Pittsburgh.
McIlroy gave the nominating committee report. The slate of officers included B.O. Wilkins, president; Herb Knapp, vice president; McIlroy, treasurer; and Kent Stanger as a board member for one year to finish Knapp’s term and Arnold Taylor and H.C. Sullivan as board members filling three-year terms. The nominations were approved by acclamation.
MG William Monk III, 99th Regional Readiness Command, was on hand to provide an update about the 99th RRC.
He said the Regional Readiness Command was changing to a Regional Support Command and would be moving in September to Fort Dix NJ. The 99th RSC would include a command of 45,000 in a five-state area. He concluded by saying the RSC relationship with the 99th veterans’ group would continue.
Two first-timers were recognized.
Gianopoulos reminded veterans to keep the legacy of the 99th alive by volunteering to speak at schools. “Keep the story going,” he urged.
Arnold Taylor invited all veterans to participate in next year’s National Memorial Day Parade at Washington, D.C. He said, “We [the 99th veterans] are the only group that walks.”
Dick Switzer invited veterans to attend the national VBOB convention in Columbus OH.
Saunders said the National World War II Museum in New Orleans LA, was expanding and sending volunteers to gather veterans’ stories for the an exhibit.
The colors were retired and the meeting was adjourned.