President's Report: 12/18/2020

Presidents ReportAs we gather today to conduct the business of the Armed Forces Heritage Museum, I wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and hope for a successful Happy New Year in 2021. This has been a difficult year for us with pandemic and several continuing health issues of our members. Regardless of these setbacks we have been able to conduct the business of the organization in an excellent fashion and I offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone for continuing to support the organization.

It is apparent that we encountered a severe financial setback due to our inability to conduct normal grant solicitations and fundraising activities to their fullest potential. Nonetheless, we have maintained a sound financial posture. Through the efforts of Roy Plummer and Marc Iroff they have initiated fundraising efforts that have provided financial resources to support our normal operating programs. Additionally, several of our members have made personal financial donations and we are extremely thankful for their support. Now we must begin to develop a strategy and plan to reinstate programs for the coming year. I encourage our Officers and Board of Directors to be prepared to engage on planning for the coming year. It will probably be sometime before we can get back to normal in person meetings, but we will be scheduling meetings utilizing an appropriate form of technology to accomplish the business of the organization.

We continue to communicate with the Burlington County Historical Society our desire to occupy the Lawrence House. While they are moving slowly on repairs to the water, sewage and heat situation we have made progress on gaining access to the back room to store our material. Last week Bob Vonbargen was able to move material from Oren’s home and we met at the Lawrence House and placed the material in storage. Thanks to Jeff from the BCHS, Bob Vonbargen and his son Mark we accomplished the task in a short period of time. Bob is also working on a floor plan on how we will utilize the space. Roy Plummer is working with Mark Marasco on displays we will need to present historical information. We are confident we can conduct a Grand Opening in the spring of 2021.

Bob Vonbargen and I met at the Ewing Township Municipal building on December 15, 2020 to view the Medal of Honor Memorial established for Sargent First Class Fred Zabitosky. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Vietnam War. There is a kiosk containing a computer with a program showing the ceremony, his decorations and pictures. I have arranged to use the computer program with the Medal of Honor program we will have at the Lawrence House.

Nelson Mellitz prepared a detailed contract with Reel Original Productions and forwarded it to Nino DePasquale for acknowledgment and signing. The contract was modified to include a small increase to the original agreement. He returned it and I signed it and forwarded back requesting a new Invoice. The World War II segment is completed, and we must establish a strategy to promote this video. Nino will also produce a segment for the Korean conflict and Vietnam War under this contract. Thank You Nelson for the professional product you provided.

During the past month we received the following donations.

Joe and Joanne Tilghman $1000.00 Nora Riley $50.00

Thomas Strickler Inc. $250.00 Silvia Brooks $50.00

Michael A. Sturluson Oppenheimer Manager $250.00 Mick Shanklin $50.00

Roy Plummer also raised money with a special fundraising effort with the Gannett Publishing Company and a program requesting support for a Civil War project.

The total raised is yet to be determined. Roy also obtained a $1000.00 donation from WAWA ad the check is in transient. Thanks, Roy for your outstanding effort.

Glenn Hyman coordinated the video interview with Marc Kramer featuring Ron Hathaway that was conducted on November 21, 2020. It was an excellent presentation and attracted a disappointing audience. Only a few of our members participated but it has great potential in promoting the AFHM. Thank You, Glenn for your work with this project.

Joanne Tilghman and Sandy Conville are working the membership program. They have developed a renewal letter with the assistance of Oren Carrol, and it will be used to request membership dues. The efforts of the committee are deeply appreciated.

CaddisArt continues to maintain a steady form of communication with Sandy and Bob Vonbargen and continue to energize the social media program. They are also working on changes to the website. In the future we will arrange a Zoom meeting to evaluate and establish our priorities for promoting our Living History program. We also must develop an effective donor page to attract donations.

In closing keep Nora Riley, Oren Carrol and Bryan Branson who is recovering from the virus, in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. Best Wishes to everyone for a Happy Holiday Season and a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Respectfully Submitted,


Robert S. Dutko Sr.
AFHM President