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President Knapp tells board of directors, "Checkerboard has become worldwide"

Friday, July 23, 1 p.m.
Louisville Marriott Downtown, Louisville KY

The board of directors of the 99th Infantry Division Association met July 23, during the 61st annual convention at the Louisville Marriott Downtown, Louisville KY.

Those attending were Herb Knapp, B.O. Wilkins, J.R. McIlroy, Harry Clifton, Tim Nugent, Harry McCracken, Sully Sullivan, John Vasa, Glenn Bronson, Phil Benefiel, Donna Bernhardt, and guests Stephen Harlan and Shawn Morris of the 99th Regional Support Command.

The meeting was called to order by President Herb Knapp.

Executive director Donna Bernhardt had the roll call of directors.

President Herb Knapp said it had been a year of difference. The digitization project has been completed and all Checkerboards from 1943 to the present are available on the Internet.

“Since March, we have been able to see the Checkerboard on the Internet – before, during and after the Bulge,” Knapp said. “The Checkerboard has become worldwide.”

B.O. Wilkins said he was having an issue with accessing page 1 of an issue after looking at the inside pages. No one else mentioned any technical issues.

Archivist Donald Mehus, in an e-mail to Knapp, expressed his concern that the home page for the web site did not give enough credit to contributors.

After some discussion, Wilkins made a motion that the board send a message to Mehus that no further action or changes to the home page would be made. The motion was approved.

Glenn Bronson said Mehus had been instrumental in getting the digitization project completed. “He kept after the board to get it done,” Bronson said. “He [Mehus] should be commended for his efforts.”

Knapp agreed that Mehus deserves credit and thanks. He added that Wilkins had done a good job of wrapping up the project.

Knapp said he and Wilkins would compile a letter to Mehus, offering the board’s thanks and appreciation for his work.

Treasurer’s report

Treasurer J.R. McIlroy said the association is “on schedule – losing money every year.” The association has approximately $65,000 in the bank.

Auditor Harry Clifton said dues and donations had been satisfactory this year - up from last year. A small certificate of deposit was cashed in June and added to the general fund. Expenditures for the year included a loss at the St. Louis convention and the expense of printing the Checkerboard. The balance of the remaining CD was approximately $40,000.

The treasurer’s report was approved.

Executive Director Donna Bernhardt gave the membership report, saying the association had a current membership of 1,268. The total includes 124 widows and 157 associates. There were 12 new members during the year and 60 members were listed in Taps.

Bernhardt gave the convention report. There were 214 registered for the St. Louis convention, with 174 attending the Saturday night banquet. She reported a net loss of $6,649 for the convention.

“Numbers are decreasing every year,” she said.

Total attendance for Louisville was 173 with 150 attending the Saturday night banquet.

“This is a good hotel,” Bernhardt said. “The staff has been accommodating and everyone seems to be having a good time.”

McIlroy said the site selection committee was considering Kansas City for 2011. However, he suggested a different hotel.

As chairman of the planning committee, McIlroy suggested the board consider having one more reunion and inviting the Diggers and the M&Ms (Marcel and Mathilde Schmetz).

“That might increase attendance next year,” he said.

Tim Nugent said some people didn’t come this year because they had already been to Louisville.

“If we discontinue the conventions,” John Vasa said, “we need to keep the Checkerboard to keep the association together. We should continue with dues so we know who is still interested,” he said.

Bronson asked if there would be any objections to continuing mini reunions. He hosted the Corning NY minis for many years. Everyone agreed mini reunions would be encouraged.

Vasa asked if funds could be allotted to those hosting mini reunions.

“Aren’t most mini reunions self-supporting?” Wilkins asked.

Harry McCracken said they were and that his group had donated leftover money from a mini reunion to the stained glass window fund [at Pittsburgh PA].

McIlroy moved that 2011 be the final convention and that Kansas City be the selected site. The motion was approved.

Knapp said it would be conveyed to the membership at the business meeting that next year would be the final national gathering and that the site of the 62nd annual convention be Kansas City.

Bronson recommended the M&Ms and all four Diggers be invited next year.

Wilkins suggested putting a notice in the Checkerboard to ask for donations to help with travel expenses for the group. The remainder of their transportation costs will be paid for out of the general fund.

As chairman of the Archives Committee, McCracken said he recommended anyone having archives material send it directly to Stephen Harlan, Command Historian of the 99th Regional Support Command at Fort Dix NJ. McCracken introduced Harlan and Shawn Morris of the 99th RSC Public Affairs Office.

“What happened to all our War Room and Archives stuff?” McIlroy asked. McCracken said some of Dick Byers’ memorabilia was housed at Carlisle Barracks PA. The 99th also has artifacts at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh PA. The rest is in the hands of the 99th RSC and the Army Museum system through the office in Fort Dix.

Arnold Taylor was recognized for coordinating a group of 99’ers to march in the Memorial Day Parade at Washington, DC. Nineteen members marched in the parade and enjoyed lunch and refreshments before and after the parade.

Knapp said he had appointed Wilkins as interim vice president after Max Norris declined the office.

McIlroy was named chairman of the nominating committee. The following slate of officers was approved: Wilkins, president; Phil Benefiel, vice president; McIlroy, treasurer; and Hal Etter and Norman Zuckerman, directors.

The meeting was adjourned.

Last modified Oct. 22, 2010

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