November 19, 2021
Since our last meeting there has been a significant amount of activity with the organization. We conducted the 10th Annual Dinner in Honor of Oren Carrol, at O’Connor’s Restaurant, Eastampton, New Jersey. It was a very successful event and the meal, and the service was excellent. The atmosphere in the room was full of love and respect for our dear friend who we miss dearly. We also acknowledged Frank Grochal and Nora Riley who also passed away earlier in the year. A special Thank You to the committee members and Joe and Joanne Tilghman for the hospitality and lunch they provided at the planning meetings. It was a great “Team Effort”.
It has been a very busy year with the Mobile Museum. Since the last meeting we participated in an event at Bristol, PA, on October 16, 2021, that was arranged by Marc Iroff and it was a wonderful event. The program was outstanding, and we were well received by many of the individuals who attended. On October 18, 2021, we participated in a PGA Birdies for the Brave Golf Tournament at Jasna Polana Country Club in Princeton, NJ. This produced the largest amount of donations to date. We have been invited back for 2022. On October 20, 2021, we participated at the Bensalem country Club, with the Disabled Veterans Golf Outing arranged by Marc Iroff. It was a great networking opportunity and we met so many interesting veterans. Marvel Carrol, Mick Shanklin, Bryan Branson, Marc Iroff and I were kept busy chatting with several individuals. This ended up being our first Night Mission as we closed in the dark and returned at the armory after 8 PM. Bryan did an outstanding job getting us back to NJ in the dark. The final event for the year was at Rider University on November 10, 2022. As usual we were received very well and maintained steady dialogue with Faculty, Students and a First Lieutenant of the Marine Corps who set up next to us. Tom Reddington, The Veterans Program Administrator also spent time with us and took some pictures for the University Newsletter. We have been invited to participate in 2022.
On October 17, I attended the Governors Military Review at the Sea Girt Training Center, Sea Girt NJ. There was a pre-event briefing presented by the Adjutant General and Department of Military and Veterans staff members. Nelson Mellitz was also in attendance. It was an opportunity to network with several individuals who I shared the activity of the AFHM with. The review consisted of a Troop review by the Governor and The Adjutant General, a Flyover of KC135R Refueling Aircraft, F16 Aircraft and Blackhawk Helicopter’s. The members of the Army & Air National Guard provided an excellent troop review for the attendees. I had an opportunity to update Brig. Gen. Patrick Kennedy on the activity of the AFHM.
On October 22, 2021, I attended the opening of the National guard Militia Museum of New Jersey at Lawrenceville, NJ. They have a newly constructed 6000 Square Foot building with 3500 Square Feet of various military displays. The Curator Bill kale has engineered the layout compete with all volunteers. I would like to invite anyone who would like to visit the facility as we can get some ideas for the Lawrence House. They are opened on Tuesday and Friday of the week.
I attended the Bordentown Township Veterans Day Ceremony on November 6, 2021. Our own Bryan Branson did an outstanding job conducting the ceremony, The guest speaker provided excellent remarks Several notable individuals spoke also. The Police provided the posting of the colors and a Flag Folding ceremony that was very well done. Senator Troy Singleton was in attendance, and I thanked him for the generous donation he made to the AFHM. I also asked him if he would consent to becoming a Life Member of our organization and he said he would.
On November 11, 2021, I participated in a Veterans Day ceremony at the MG George Betor Veterans Memorial Park, Ewing Township, NJ. The President of the college of New Jersey was the Guest Speaker and provide very interesting and appropriate remarks. The Mayor, Council Members, Ewing Police Chief, State Senator Shirley Turner, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami, and several Military Personnel attended. The Ewing High School Master Singers performed the National /Anthem and a Melody of Service songs. The Ewing American Legion Post 314 provided a color Guard and contingent of Airman from the Joint Base posted the colors. I had the honor of officiating the dedication of a cased Flag depicting Ewing residents who lost their lives in various wars and a Plaque honoring Mr. Harry Masterson SR. former President of the Ewing Township Patriotic Committee. Captain Retired Dave LaBaw performed Bag pipes and the Ewing Police provided Taps. Mayor Bert Steinmann and I presented a Wreath. Refreshments were served at the conclusion of the event. The event was videoed and posted on the Township Web Site and U Tube. I also shared it with the AFHM Facebook Page.
On November 12, 2021, I was the Guest Speaker at the Ewing Township Senior Citizens luncheon at the Ewing Senior Community Center. I provided my business cards to everyone in attendance and had an opportunity to explain the Mission of the AFHM. I also advised them that the former Entertainment Trailer that was donated to the AFHM is still very active in Honoring, Preserving and Educating the Public on the rich Military History of Nj and the surrounding region.
The membership Roy Plummer has established with the Legacy Group is proving to be a terrific networking opportunity. Roy is actively participating in their events and Bryan, and I had the opportunity to accompany Roy to Philadelphia on November 4, 2021. It was a fabulous event and it enlightened us on possibility of competing in the Grant process for 2022. We also met several prominent individuals and had some photo opportunities that have been posted on Facebook. A special thanks to Roy for the time he is devoting to getting notoriety for the AFHM. There is a significant possibly to attract new members and increase our opportunity for future fundraising.
Bob Vonbargen and Ron Hathaway are continuing to execute the responsibility of the Living History Program. The Gold Star Project is nearing the end of the interviews and several actions will take place to complete the project. Bob Vonbargen and Nino DePasquale did an outstanding job on preparing the Video Tribute to Oren Carrol at the 10th Anniversary Dinner. Bob also has several other opportunities he is working on. Thanks Bob and Ron for the significant amount of time and travel you are devoting to these projects. Bob Vonbargen also did an excellent job coordinating the publication of the 10th Anniversary Commemorative journal.
On November 15, 2021, we conducted a Finance meeting at Joe and Joanne Tilghman’s home with an excellent lunch. Roy Plummer, Bryan Branson, Mick Shanklin, Sandy Conville, Joanne Tilghman and I met with Don Cammus. Don Cammus has previously worked with Oren Carrol and filed our Annual Income Tax Reports. He is quite familiar with the process and will record our 2021 activity utilizing the spreadsheet we previously utilized. Once that is completed, we will review the information and prepare an operating budget for 2022. We will move the PayPal account to Investors Bank and the Facebook donation system. Once all the transactions are completed, we will transfer the balance from TD Bank to Investors Bank and close out the TD Bank account.
Sandy Conville is continuing to maintain close coordination with Caddis Art on Web Site updates and The Social Media program. She is also working with Joanne on the Membership program and will be coordinating with Myra Wille to adapt the marketing process to enhance a recruiting program for new members. This will be one of our major initiatives in 2022 to new members to the AFHM.
When we began this year e did not know how it would progress. I am extremely pleased with the outcome. We have had a very progressive year with a tremendous amount of activity. I offer a special thanks to Bryan for the way he has managed the Mobile Museum and the amount of time he has dedicated to towing and maintaining the Mini Mo. In 2022 it is expected we will have another busy year so we will evaluate the trailer to determine necessary upgrades and improvements that may be necessary. We will also evaluate all the events we participated in this past year to determine which ones we intend to participate in next year. Before the close of this yeare we must schedule a strategic planning meeting for 2022.
In closing I wish to thank all the Officers, Chairman of the Board, the Executive director, Committee Chairpersons and Board of Directors for the dedicated service they have provided to the organization. Our next meeting will be a social event here at Deerwood CC. It will be conducted on December 17, 2021, at 1 PM. Spouses and significant others are welcome to attend. We are seeking donations to offset the cost to the AFHM, and we must also query our members to allow us to coordinate the menu. Stay tunned as we reach out to determine who will be attending. Have a Happy thanksgiving.
Robert S. Dutko, Sr.