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Board of directors meeting

July 29, 2005

Hyatt Hotel

San Antonio TX

The board of directors of the 99th Infantry Division Association met July 29, 2005, during the 56th annual convention at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, San Antonio TX.

Those attending were president Glenn Bronson, vice president John Vasa, past president Bob Hawn, archives chairman Harry McCracken, treasurer J.R. McIlroy, Checkerboard editor Bill Meyer, chaplain Joe Johnson, sergeant-at-arms Del Stumpff, legal adviser Bob Hogan, auditor Harry Clifton, executive secretary Donna Bernhardt, and board members Joe Kagan, George Snell, Phil Benefiel, Walt Gregonis, and Ron Kraemer.

Guests were Mike Strollo, Pat Hughes, and Ray Sager.

McIlroy gave the treasurer's report, stating the organization had $163,000 in checking accounts and certificates of deposit.

Bernhardt presented the membership report, saying there are 2,055 current members including 144 widows and 210 associates. There were 47 new members for the year and 65 listed in "Taps."

Bernhardt also gave the report on the Biloxi convention, reporting there were approximately 500 in attendance and a profit of $3,354.

A national convention report was given. There were 597 registered, including 480 for the banquet.

Discussion revolved around registration fees. Mike Strollo suggested not charging registration fees for children under 12. John Vasa said the goal was to "break even" on conventions.

Bernhardt said the registration fees were not out of line with other conventions. The fees pay for the incidental items most people do not think about such as sound systems, meeting rooms, and other expenses like hanging banners, shipping, and storage fees.

The planning committee met and reached no conclusions about the future of the association. Chairman McIlroy said they will meet again next year to re-evaluate and decide how best to spend the funds remaining in the treasury.

Ron Kraemer suggested the association absorb more costs of conventions, such as subsidizing the cost of banquet meals.

Hogan reminded the group that there must be a plan of liquidation and it must meet certain conditions.

George Snell researched having the association furnish plastic membership cards to members. The cards will cost approximately $2 each and have the members' names and unit. A motion was made and approved to spend up to $4,000 for membership cards for those who want them.

It was suggested Herm Saunders be reimbursed for convention expenses. Like Stewart Boone and Bert Burda, Saunders is an integral part of the Checkerboard Chorus and Bob Hogan advised the board to approve Saunders' reimbursement. The motion carried.

Meyer asked the board's approval to establish a phone, phone line, and Internet connection exclusively for the 99th Infantry Division. For years, the association has been using equipment owned by Meyer's publishing company. If the company is sold, this no longer would be an option. Meyer suggested the association establish its own office, complete with phone and Internet. The association will be listed in phone directories and probably be easier to locate, he said. The motion was approved.

The board discussed a request from member and archivist Donald Mehus to distribute microfilm copies of the Checkerboard to libraries across the country.

Mehus asked for the distribution of 10-20 sets of microfilm at a cost of $320 per set, to be paid by the association. He said this would get the word out about the association and be an opportunity for younger people to learn about the 99th. He also asked members to make contributions for the distribution of additional sets.

A motion to approve Mehus' request died for lack of a second.

"The motion was made previously and disapproved," Kraemer said.

Pat Hughes said, "Microfilm is obsolete. Digitization is more popular and the distribution costs are cheaper." One set of microfilm reels would be needed for digitization.

Meyer said, "Microfilm is a dead horse. If we're going to do this we should do it on CDs."

"The media will change in 10 years and digitizing will allow the transfer of media to an updated process in the future," said Hughes.

Bob Hawn said, "Why not use the master set and digitize now, instead of paying for microfilm?"

Bronson ended the discussion by appointing a committee to study the factors and financial aspects of digitizing files. Committee members appointed were Bill Meyer, Ron Kraemer, Bob Hawn, Harry McCracken, and Pat Hughes.

Bronson volunteered to contact Mehus about the decision.

Bob Hogan said he had been contacted by Armed Forces Reunions to take over the operation of the 99th conventions. He said he listened to their proposal but will tell the representative the association is not interested in that option at this time.

"Don't change the format," Kraemer said.

McIlroy agreed, "Leave things as they are. Donna is doing a fine job."

In an archives report, Harry McCracken said a professional group had been hired by the Association of the 99th Infantry Division to work on fund-raising efforts for the 18-foot tall statue at 99th Headquarters in Pittsburgh PA.

Ray Sager said a reorganization of the Army reserves is underway. The process will reduce the number of facilities, thereby making them larger. Depending whether the reorganization divides into four or seven regional support facilities, the 99th colors could be moved to Fort Dix or left in Pittsburgh. He reassured the board, the museum and flag will remain in the same location.

Hughes announced Maj. Gen. Karol Kennedy plans to retire Aug. 16. He relayed a message from her, saying since she had been present at the battlefield tour she now has a firmer understanding of the 99th's heritage.

Meyer gave a site selection report. He said the membership had responded "overwhelmingly" in favor of Washington, D.C., for a site of a future convention. He had been in contact with a hotel that promised a room rate of $89.

"What about 2008 for Rapid City?" John Vasa asked.

"Airfares are not as good," Meyer said.

"Let's not go any further than 2007," said Bronson.

A nominating committee was appointed with McIlroy as chairman.

Hogan gave an update on former auditor, Jim Fennie. He said Fennie has lost his sight but is happily living at home.

After recognizing retiring board members Walt Gregonis and Andy Askew, the meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.