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Planning committee meeting

Sept. 1, 2007, 9 a.m.

Hyatt Regency Crystal City

Washington, D.C.

A meeting of the planning committee of the 99th Infantry Division Association was held during the Washington, D.C., convention.

Those in attendance were chairman J.R. McIlroy, Joe Johnson, John Vasa, Mike Strollo, and Donna Bernhardt.

Among issues under discussion, they talked about future convention plans. Suggestions included looking at smaller cities. The drawback with this idea is that the smaller cities do not have adequate airport connections. Staying at hotels within walking distance to restaurants and attractions was suggested.

Mike Strollo suggested going back to Pittsburgh. John Vasa reminded him the last convention in Pittsburg had low attendance.

Strollo also suggested having someone from the site selection committee look over future hotel contracts before signing.

Vasa said the convention hospitality room had not been a moneymaker for the association in previous years. Hotel policies on bringing in outside food and beverage have gotten too strict and too expensive. This year's hotel offered a suite for a hospitality room, but did not allow outside food and beverage without paying a corkage fee. Those using the room were encouraged to bring their own snacks and drinks. This seemed to be working out well.

With these comments in mind, the members asked Donna Bernhardt to check with Memphis TN, and St. Louis MO, for future convention sites.

In other matters, it was announced that Bob Hogan, legal adviser, had resigned. Vasa, as president, appointed Phil Benefiel to take over the position. Benefiel will contact Hogan about plans currently in place for dissolution of the association.

Hogan had previously suggested giving remaining funds of the association to Friends of the 99th. It was the consensus of the committee that the association's money should be spent on members.

Hogan also had asked for an inventory of memorials and monuments. The association has interest in memorials and monuments at Krinkelt, Remagen, the 394th Regiment monument at Losheimergraben, and the Soldiers & Sailors Museum at Pittsburgh PA. The committee suggested giving any remaining funds to Krinkelt. The Diggers already provide cleaning and upkeep of the memorial. The rest of the monuments and memorials could be kept up without money from the association.

The Checkerboard was discussed. It was suggested publishing the roster issue, the most expensive issue, every other year and including only names and addresses of veterans.

J.R. McIlroy said the 99th is a good association. But there must be some plan to be more careful with finances. Holding losses to less than $20,000 per year will allow the association to continue four or five more years, McIlroy said.

"We can keep going till the end without changing a bunch of things," he said. But the association cannot blow a bunch of money.

Vasa said the board needs to be more careful with decisions at the board meetings. Some issues need more time for deliberations. He recommended items be placed on the agenda a year in advance.

Vasa said the association has suffered from lost leadership with the loss of Hank Richards, Jim Fennie, Bill Meyer, and Bob Hogan.

McIlroy asked what to do with old association records. The group agreed they probably could be destroyed as they were of no value to anyone.

The meeting adjourned at 9:55 a.m.