December Presidents Report

December 17, 2021

 

President Report

When we began this year in January, we hoped we could return to normal activities. All the Officers, and members were anxious to launch the Mobile Museum and establish a operating location at the Lawrence House on High Street in Burlington City. Fortunately, through the planning, dedication and hard work we have accomplished a significant amount of progress and experienced a very productive year, however we did suffer the loss of three of our prominent members, but we have pulled together to capitalize on the programs and contributions they provided to make our organization stronger. The bottom line is we realized significant success and have become financially solvent.

While we have experienced success, we have encountered a significant loss of outstanding members. Nora Riley passed during the winter months, and she will be sorely missed. Nora was always available to support all the activities of the AFHM. She had produced excellent work with the membership until she became ill and turned over the information to Joanne Tilghman and Sandy Conville. Oren Carroll, who held positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer passed away in June. Oren was the heart and Soul of the organization and heavily involved with all aspects of the AFHM. We are still investigation several items to ensure we can continue the outstanding work he provided. Frank Grochal passed away in July and he was a significant benefactor who made large financial donations enabling us to complete work on the Mini Mo. We will continue to rely on their experience and contributions to accomplish the establish goals of the organization. May they Rest in Peace.

The 10th Annual Dinner was an outstanding success. It was conducted at O’Connor’s Restaurant on October 30, 2021, and we had 87 people attend. It was a Tribute to Oren Carrol. Bob Vonbargen and Nino DePasquale prepared a beautiful video depicting the life and career of Oren. It also featured a video song, My America, presented by George San Roman. The food and service were excellent, and the staff provided excellent support throughout the evening. Sandy Conville and Joanne Tilghman prepared the center pieces for the tables, and they also prepared the Liquid Refreshment Baskets for he Raffle. It was an outstanding Team effort and produced the highest profit margin to date. A special Thank You to Joanne & Joe Tilghman for hosting the meeting with a wonderful lunch at all our meetings.in

The Executive Director, Roy Plummer continues to establish networking opportunities to move the organization forward. Roy was able to obtain a significant amount of Grant Funding during the year and will provide us the resources needed to support planned projects next year. We have formed a partnership with the Burlington County Historical Society, and they are allowing us to occupy the Lawrence House located on High Street in Burlington city. We have begun to move material and furniture into the building and are waiting for permanent heating to be installed. We are planning to have a Grand Opening during the month of May in 2022. We have established friendship with individuals who are heavily involved with Revolutionary War artifacts and history, and they will be joining our organization and assisst in setting up the exhibits at the Lawrence House. Roy Plummer has accepted the management responsibility for the Lawrence House and will coordinate all activities for the facility.

Marc Iroff continues to perform the responsibility of the Chairman of the Board. He continues to provide excellent guidance for the operation of the Armed Forces Heritage Museum. Marc possesses a significant amount of corporate knowledge and continues to exercise oversight of activities to ensure we are compliant. Marc also maintains oversight of web site activity and continues to recommend changes to make us more efficient and productive. He has redesigned our business cards and made significant improvements that promotes our mission and utilizing a QR code capability it will direct people to the website. Marc has accepted the Chairmanship of the Annual Dinner committee and will begin planning early in 2022.

Our Vice President, Bryan Branson continues to provide excellent support to the organization. He has accepted the management of the Mobile Media Educational Center otherwise known as Mini Mo. He oversaw several improvements that included the installation of electric doors that enhances the setup of the unit and several safety items.  He also reorganized the unit to create storage of items required for the operating of the unit. Bryan has been able to establish the loan of vehicle to tow the unit to scheduled activities. This is a tremendous benefit to the AFHM, and we are grateful for Mr. Majeski’s continued generosity. Bryan also works closely with Matt Wick who handles the scheduling of the events. During this past year we participated in 20 events and made several new connections with individuals who are seeking our service for next year.

Joanne Tilghman has accepted the responsibility of the Treasurer position. She has outstanding credentials as she handled the family business for several years. She had previously served in this position and due to health issues took a brief departure. Oren Carrol was performing the duties of Treasurer until he encountered health issues. Mick Shanklin agreed to accept the responsibility on a temporary basis along with the duties of Secretary. Mick recently encountered health issues and is presently recuperating in rehabilitation. Joanne has now resumed all Treasurer duties. We have established a new account with Investors Bank in Bordentown and will eventually phase out the TD Bank account once we are certain all the automatic deposit actions are transferred to Investors. We have established a Finance committee to manage the financial activities of the organization and provide a budget for the new year. Bryan Branson will be the Chairman, Joanne Tilghman, Don Cammus, Sandy Conville and Roy Plummer will serve on the committee. The President will also serve on the committee. We will be testing a new software to manage the income and expenses of the organization.

The decision to enter a contract with Caddis Art has enhanced the Website and the Social Media program. Sandy Conville has accepted the responsibility to coordinate all matters with Caddis Art and has performed in and excellent fashion. We have increased our visibility of the organization in several areas. Sandy reports monthly with statistics identifying who is visiting our site and the number of new persons inquiring. We also established the use of Mail Chimp and release three special interest items monthly. The Facebook page is also experiencing increased visibility. Marc Iroff continues to review this operation and provide new ideas to improve the status of the organization. An interesting note is that we are attracting international interest.

Bob Vonbargen along with Ron Hathaway continue to work the Living History program. We have established a partnership with Nick Mellis who allows us to utilize his TV studio in Princeton to conduct interviews. They are presently working on a Gold Star program scheduled for release in 2022. We have established a excellent library of interview that can be accessed on the website and YouTube. Bob Vonbargen has established an excellent veterans’ program with Shawnee High school, designed to educate the students on the careers of veterans who have served our nation. This is a continuing annual program that is well received by the faculty at the high school.

In 2022 we will be concentrating on recruiting new members for the organization. Myra Wille is working with the membership committee to create incentives to attract new members. She also is heavily engaged in Marketing Efforts along with Fred Hogan to purchase promotional items and an inventory of items we will place on sale at the Lawrence House and Mini Mo when we participate in events next year.

On December 6, 2021, I established a Fundraising Initiative that may result in some matching funds. There were 13 donors, mostly friends of ours, for a total of $830.00. It was part of the Giving Tuesday program. We will wait and see whether we obtain any matching funds. Nonetheless the fund raiser was successful. We also launched a special Tax Deduction announcement for 2021 that will expire on January 1, 2022. I hope our Officers and members will consider this donation process as it is a direct reduction event if you take the standard deduction.

In closing I wish to thank all the Officers, Board of Director’s, Executive Director and members who contributed to making 2021 a very successful year. We are all volunteers who continue to donate our time and efforts to accomplish our Mission to Preserve, Honor and Educate the public on the rich military history of new jersey and surrounding region. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Healthy and Happy New Year.

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Robert S. Dutko, Sr.

AFHM President