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Membership meeting

August 5, 2004

Imperial Palace, Biloxi MS

The meeting was called to order by president Bob Hawn at 10 a.m.

The sergeants at arms advanced the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Treasurer J.R. McIlroy presented a treasurer's report, stating the association had about $180,000.

Executive director Donna Bernhardt presented the membership report. There are 2,414 current members including 132 widows, 108 associates, and 85 with no designation. There were 50 new members for the year and 125 members were listed in "Taps."

Bill Meyer gave the report on the Checkerboard. He said he hopes to continue publishing five or six issues per year. Cost is about $2.50 per copy. Costs will continue to go up, he added.

Harry McCracken gave the archives report. He asked members to send items for the archives directly to him. He said official 99th museum has been named the Dauntless Museum at the 99th Headquarters in Pittsburgh.

McCracken added that flyers about the 99th statue would be distributed at the banquet. He said a grant agency had been hired by the Association of the 99th Infantry Division to raise $600,000 for the 18-foot statue. The monument will be located at 99th Headquarters in Pittsburgh, and possibly will be dedicated on Veterans Day 2005.

McIlroy gave a report of the planning committee. He said the association will probably continue another five to seven years and suggested conventions settle in a central location in the near future.

He expects the association to begin losing money soon with a decrease in membership and dues and expenses staying the same. "When the time comes, we'll know when to quit," he added.

Stewart Boone gave a report on the Checkerboard Chorus CD sales. He said the group had sold 446 CDs and more were available.

McIlroy gave a nominating committee report. The slate of officers included Glenn Bronson, president; John Vasa, vice president; and Joe Kagan and Phil Benefiel, new board members. The nominations were approved by acclamation.

Jim Johnson a member of Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge (VBOB) reminded members about changes at the VA. He and other members urged everyone to get re-evaluations.

"Everything leans in favor of the veteran," Johnson said. They are now pushing to get all POWs 100 percent disability ratings. He said there are 11,000 POWs who don't even utilize the services of the VA.

Leon St. Pierre said the Camp Fannon memorial in Texas will be finished and dedicated the first weekend in April 2005. He invited all to attend.

Jack Baxter proposed Las Vegas for a future convention site. He said hotels offer reasonable rates.

Bill Meyer said he didn't think many members were interested in going that far west. "The center of population for conventions is Texas," Meyer said.

He advised Baxter and others with proposals to send them to the site selection committee for review.

It was announced that the 2005 convention will be held July 27-30 at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio TX. Hotel rates are $99 per night.

The site selection committee recommended Little Rock AR, for 2006.

Glenn Bronson urged veterans to get their stories recorded. He said there is a veterans' history project through the Library of Congress going on now and suggested local organizations get involved in recording oral histories as a service project.

Jim Johnson added that a VBOB group in St. Louis MO, does presentations to schools and groups, has presented more than 200 programs, and has had a video made which was being shown in the War Room.

Meyer announced a battlefield tour is being planned for May 2005, to coincide with VE-Day and commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, Remagen, and VE-Day. More details will be published in the Checkerboard.

Glenn Bronson took over as incoming president and urged everyone to see the Diggers' presentation in the War Room. The meeting adjourned at 11:10 a.m.