February 18, 2022
Even though we experienced stormy and snowy weather in January, it did not prevent the Armed Forces Heritage Museum from continuing to prepare for this year’s activity. Today you will be provided several briefings on actions that hve been completed and others scheduled for the coming months. I am extremely pleased with the work our officers and several members are preparing prepare us for a banner year. Of significant importance is the work that is being accomplished at the Lawrence House under the direction of Roy Plummer. Roy has extended experience as he has previously served at the Roebling Museum, and he is putting his expertise to beneficial use at the Lawrence House. Plans are being formulated to have an official opening in the month of May.
The Finance committee continues to make improvements with the management of the financial matters. Don Cammus has agreed to be the manager of ALPOS, an all-encompassing software package that will prepare us for the future. Joanne Tilghman continues to maintain outstanding accounting of all monetary expenditures in an exemplary fashion. She and her husband Joe continue to visit the Post Office Box and pick up correspondence on a regular basis.
Roy Plummer continues to perform outstanding networking activities and recruiting new members and soliciting qualified professionals to assist in making the AFHM a competitive organization. As the Manger of the Lawrence House assisted by Bryan Branson and a cadre of volunteers there has been considerable progress made to prepare the facility for a scheduled opening during the month of May. Roy will be providing a repot on the work completed to date at the meeting today. Of special note Roy attended a meeting at the Hamilton Elks and was presented a donation of $2500.00, another example of his networking expertise. Roy spends countless hours and personal expense in many cases to promote the AFHM. Please provide him with a Thank You for the outstanding work he is doing when you see him.
Bryan Branson has planned for us to meet at the Town and Country Diner in Bordentown, New Jersey. Last month’s meeting was well attended and was also facilitated with ZOOM capability, thanks to the efforts of Bob Vonbargen. Bryan did and outstanding job facilitating the meeting and a significant amount of business was accomplished. Bryan also continues to manage the Mini Mo. He has made arrangement to reposition the trailer to allow for electricity to support electric heaters installed to provide protection for the video monitors during extremely wintry weather. He also provides an effective preventive maintenance program to keep the mobile museum in good working condition for the upcoming season. We are extremely fortunate to have the services of Bryan as he has become the “Go to Guy” when we need something done.
Marc Iroff continues to monitor the pulse on the organization and coordinates website activities and coordinates with committees to ensure they have the support required to execute their responsibilities. Marc will also be the Chairman of the Annual Dinner for 2022. He has formed a committee of volunteers and will be conducting a meeting soon to establish a location, date, and honoree for this year’s event. Marc also is coordinating with a Veterans Golf organization, PGA Hope, to allow us to be represented with Mini Mo at scheduled events. Marc is another dynamic member always exploring new opportunities to move the organization forward. He will provide a detailed report at today’s meeting.
Sandy Coville continues to do an excellent job coordinating activities with Caddis Art, working the Social Media programs, and working with the finance committee on financial matters. We have made noteworthy progress these past several months in gaining recognition for the organization. Sandy’s provides monthly reports on the social activities of the AFHM identifying sources of recurring and new visitors to our website and the results of the mail chimp program. This information will become useful as the Lawrence House becomes operational. Through her efforts we have become more visible in the social media arena and her efforts are deeply appreciated.
During the month of February, we celebrated Black History Month. Through the efforts of Ron Hathaway and his volunteers working with Nick Mellis we recognized several veterans with video interviews. We also utilized the Facebook page and our website to recognize the proud service of veteran’s who served our nation with distinction. Bob Vonbargen provided an excellent article on Ron Hathaway that also appeared in the Bordentown People Newspaper. I am extremely proud of everyone who participated in providing this most deserving recognition of our treasured veterans.
There has been much conversation on the operation of a Gift Shop at the Lawrence House. This will require a manger and I have reached out to Marvel Carrol to determine if she would be interested in taking on this responsibility and she has graciously consented to do so. I have forwarded the message traffic of the marketing committee to keep her appraised of discussion that has taken place. She will be working with Myra Wille and Fred Hogan to determine appropriate material for sale. Thanks, Marvel, for taking on this responsibility.
A special thanks to David Jost for the wok he is doing with the Revolutionary War Exhibit. David is recovering from open heart surgery, but it has not stopped him from functioning. David, we have included you in our prayers and are hoping for a speedy recovery. Thanks for all you are doing to support the AFHM.
Billy Terrell has volunteered to accept the responsibility to promote entertainment events to facilitate our fundraising activities. He has a tremendous amount of experience and talent and will be a valuable resource to the Armed Forces Heritage Museum. Thanks, Billy, for agreeing to take on this responsibility.
On February 11, 2022, Roy Plummer, Bryan Branson, and I participated in a ZOOM meeting with David Smith and Senator Troy Singleton to advise his office of the Petticoat Junction situation. The conversation was incredibly positive, and the Senator is well versed on the situation. There will be follow up discussion on this situation and the AFHM will continue to support this initiative.
I wish to acknowledge the work Colin Zimmerman and Rich Hill are performing in conjunction with Roy Plummer at the Lawrence House. They have a tremendous background in Military History and a passion to promote activity at the facility. They are a terrific addition to our organization, and we are fortunate to have them as members.
In closing, please keep Mick Shanklin in your thoughts and prayers as he continues to recuperate from his health issues. He will be moving to an Assisted Living facility in Hamilton Township on February 24, 2022. We will keep everyone advised with his progress. Be Well and Stay Safe.
Robert S. Dutko, Sr.