As we meet this month it will be under a cloud of sorrow. We have lost one of our Founding members, Oren Carrol, who succumbed to his grave illness and now is at rest and meeting with his savior. Oren was the first President of the Armed Forces Heritage Museum and later held the position of Secretary for several years and then Treasurer for the past three years. He excelled in each of these positions and propelled the organization to success. He was an expert in a multitude of activities of the organization and the go to person when we needed assistance. He was the driving force behind the conversion of the trailer to the beautiful state of the art Mobile Museum often referred to as “Mini Mo”. Fortunately, he mentored Bryan Branson as his understudy, and we can continue to operate the Mobile Museum in an efficient manner. Oren’s vision of improvements allows the operation of the museum with a minimum of two persons. We are now in a period of discovery and with the excellent fact sheet he had prepared we are able to efficiently continue to accomplish the operational and financial functions of the organization. We can never replace Oren, but his inspiration will allow the Officers and Board of Directors to carry on the mission of the organization. Rest in Peace my friend.
Sandy Conville continues to do an excellent job with the social media and Membership programs. She had arranged a training session with Caddis Art on how to manage certain aspects of the Website. Bob Vonbargen, Marc Iroff, Sandy and I attended the session through a Zoom call accompanied by an excellent programmed text that made it easy to understand the process. Sandy advised me she has started to utilize the training to conduct updates to the website. She will be on vacation and not in attendance at the meeting but has prepared an excellent report for the attendees. Marc Iroff continues to review the website and there are still some adjustments to be made.
On June 30th, the Mobile Museum was on display at the Fort Dix Chapel where a mass was conducted for Oren Carrol and the attendees and family members were able to see firsthand the results of the outstanding work Oren performed in providing a world class tool to tell the vast military history of New Jersey and the surrounding region. A special thanks to Bryan Branson and Clint, the manager of the KC-10 simulator and close friend of Oren’s who arranged for entry to the post and location of the trailer in the parking lot adjacent to the chapel.
On July 2, 2021, Bryan Branson towed the Mini Mo to O’Connor’s Restaurant for a Military Day display during the lunch time period. Roy Plummer, Nick Mellis and I accompanied Bryan and even though we encountered periods of rain we were able to open the museum for a few hours. Nick also was a big help in getting the TV monitors to operate properly. Several people stopped by, and we did obtain a few donations and made some contacts who showed interest in what we are doing. We also had an opportunity to communicate with the owner and they were pleased to have the unit on display. They were generous enough to provide a percentage of the lunch receipts and Roy will be picking up a check for $150.00 from O’Connor’s. Bryan was supposed to tow the unit to a scheduled event on the next day but after discussing the weather forecast, we decided to tow the unit back to the armory. We were fortunate to have Bryans Grandson Ryan to help. He is a fine young man who is interested in the museum and is a good resource and has an excellent attitude. It is a pleasure to have him on board and we really appreciate his efforts.
On July 10, 2021, utilizing Bob Vonbargen s decorated vehicle, Bob, Roy Plummer, Marc Iroff, Bob’s son Robert and I participated in the Florence New Jersey Patriotic Parade. It was a well-managed parade, and we received a significant amount of recognition from the people as we drove through. Bob had patriotic music playing and did a lot of singing as he drove the vehicle. At the conclusion of the parade the American Legion provided hot dogs and soft drinks for the participants. In the evening we had Mini Mo on display, thanks again to Bryan towing it to the site and positioning it in a very accessible location. Roy and I arrived and due to the excellent training provided by Bryan, we were able to open the unit and getting the generator working to provide the power needed to open the doors. Marc Iroff arrived, and we continued to set up everything in a short period of time. There was a significant number of attendees, and we had many visitors to the unit. The staff of the fireworks committee were extremely helpful and cooperative. We received a $250.00 donation and received a significant amount of donations. As the fireworks started, we closed the unit and Bryan came back on Sunday to tow it to the Armory. A special thanks to everyone who volunteered for this event and especially to Bryan who continues to be the go-to guy when the unit must be moved and maintained.
Matt Wick continues to schedule the events and coordinates with Sandy to publish announcements alerting the public of the activity of the Mini Mo. We do need more volunteers to signup for future events, so I encourage everyone to review the schedule and consider volunteering a few hours at each event. Due to health issues Matt cannot participate on site but his work on administering the events is genuinely appreciated.
Mick Shanklin, Bryan Branson and I have been working on the banking programs. We have opened an account with Investors Bank in Bordentown and will be managed by Bryan, Mick and Joanne Tilghman who will assume the responsibility of Treasurer. Mick and I have been working with the TD Bank account and have made the necessary changes to continue to effectively utilize those resources. We have online banking capability and will continue to ensure all transactions of various deposits and payments are effectively managed. We will be working with Don Cammus, the individual who processes our Tax Returns and is familiar with the program Oren established to track Income and Expenses. We will update the remainder of 2020 and determine how we intend to manage the financials in 2021.
Nearly 6 years ago Oren established a nonprofit sharing program with the Benevity Organization. It is a program that announces our mission and solicits companies and employees to make donations to our organization. We receive periodic contributions through direct deposit to our bank account. I have been able to access this program and did recertify our organization to allow deposits to continue. There are options I will be discussing with Roy Plummer that are available to establish additional projects to entice individuals to contribute to our mission. We will keep everyone advised as we continue to discover new initiatives that will provide financial resource.
Roy Plummer has been doing an outstanding job by continuing to network through the Bordentown Chamber of Commerce and soliciting grant opportunities. He has been remarkably successful in obtaining significant grants from Investors Bank, Lockheed Martin, and the Burlington County Commissioners to support our projects. He is also highly creative with new ideas, and you will hear more from Roy today on some new initiatives he is working on to promote the AFHM. Thanks, Roy, for the outstanding work you are doing.
Myra Wille has been appointed as the Marketing program chairperson and is in the process of forming the committee. I requested she include Fred Hogan to allow her to take advantage of his expertise and share the work he has provided to date. Myra did have an initial meting and has submitted a report for the meeting today. Good Luck Myra with this endeavor as we are in dire need of a marketing function.
We will conduct an initial Dinner meeting on Wednesday, July 21,2021 at Joanne Tilghman’s resident at 11 AM. I will provide information from past events to motivate discussion on options to be considered. The dinner will be in Honor of Oren Carrol, and it will occur sometime in October 2021. Members who would like to serve on the committee please contact me today so I can establish an email list for communication.
I made a visit to the Lawrence house on Thursday and was disappointed with the progress of the repairs. Also, the facility is becoming jam packed with material and we must conduct a work party to establish a sense of order. I will also reach out to Bernadette Boyle to discuss a timeline for completion. I feel if we establish a presence in the building, we can encourage them to accelerate the repair work.
The Knights of Columbus, Saint Ann’s Council 17430, will be conducting the Oren Carrol Memorial Golf Tournament at the Fountain Green Golf Course, Joint Base MDL: Fort Dix on Friday September 17th at 8:00 AM. Registration will start a 7:00 AM. I would like to discuss this under new business as we should consider participating in the event and provide some form of sponsorship on behalf of the AFHM. This is a tournament Oren had conducted for the Knights of Columbus in the past.
As an item of interest, Retired Lt. Gen. Gina M. Grosso was sworn in as the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration/Operations, Security and Preparedness on June 23, 2021. Her relationship with the AFHM dates to 2010 when she was the commander during the establishment of the Joint Base and the rank of Colonel. She assisted in the development of the AFHM and provided support in obtaining our IRS 501©3 Non-Profit status. She will be responsible for the development and oversight of human capital strategies, policies and practices while managing the Department preparedness, law enforcement and security capabilities for the nearly 400,000 VA employees, including 6,000 human resources professionals and 4,000 Law enforcement professionals, across the Nation. She would be an excellent candidate to honor at a future Annual dinner.
We received a letter from a Law firm representing the estate of Nora Riley. It instructed us to contact her daughter Catherine, the Executor of her will, to obtain information. I emailed her and she advised me that Nora be quested a sum of $1000.00 in the will, and we should receive it shortly. Nora was an outstanding member, always willing to support the fundraising events and manage the Membership Program. Even though she is no longer with us, she made sure to remember the organization with this generous donation. Once the donation is received, perhaps we should posthumously establish her as a Life Member. May she Rest in Peace.
Now that Oren is no longer with us, we are being challenged with the financial and operational functions of the AFHM. We are fortunate that he left us with a chart containing information pertinent to the financial, software and operational aspects of the organization. Collective we will continue to examine this information to ensure necessary changes can be accomplished to allow effective management of the organization.
In closing, all the members wish to extend our Deepest Sympathy to Marvel Carroll and the entire family on the passing of Oren. He has left behind a Legacy of Excellence and Compassion that inspired everyone he encountered. Marvel Carrol had established donations in Oren’s behalf be dedicated to the Armed Forces Heritage Museum. We are continuing to receive numerous responses and we are overwhelmed at the number of individuals who chose to participate in this opportunity. We will be certain to establish a fitting Memorial to Oren soon.
Robert S, Dutko, Sr.