What a great reunion!
We had slightly over 50 attendees at our first official Brooke reunion. Our group would have been larger if the Navy Pub "Shift Colors" had been published earlier. I had requested the May/June issue (they only allow 1 notice), but didn't know it wouldn't be published until August. the pub worked well for us, as I received 15-20 phone calls, but it was too close to the reunion for most to make plans. Just wait 'til next year!
Sometime in November, we'll have next year's reunion hotel site selected and the dates finalized. As soon as that happens, we'll post them on our website (www.USSBROOKE.org)
For next year's reunion in San Diego we hope to schedule a harbor cruise on Thursday night, a Friday trip to the Wild Animal Park north of San Diego, and end with a Western BBQ or Hawaiian Luau at the hotel.
We'll have our annual Saturday am business meeting and our Saturday night banquet as before. This schedule should allow us as much "free time" as we had in Seattle.
the Saturday am business meeting was also a great success. We created a Constitution and By-Laws for our newly established Brooke Association and elected our first officers.
Enclosed, you'll find a copy of the "First Meeting Minutes" and the Constitution and By-Laws, so you can all see how we established our association. Lots of comments at the end of the minutes, so please read them completely.
Our Seattle banquet was a lot of fun!
Dinner began promptly at 1800 and the program began around 1900. Our first XO, Richard Blankington, gave an inspiring welcome back opener, followed by a great power point presentation by Tom Adametz. We ended the evening with a raffle (brought in $248.00 for the association) and some interesting prizes for shipmates who traveled farthest, etc. Joel Beck was the big winner, with about 5 prizes, including a "Dancing Sailor-Hamster" named Leon and one (1) Viagra, having the most wives.
At the end of the banquet we had a special dessert of "Spam ala mode" for Dave Kalaf. Seems he developed a great love of Spam while attending survival school in 1966 and mentioned it numerous times before our reunion banquet. You may now refer to Dave as "Spambo" during future reunions.
We adjourned from the banquet to the Hospitality Room until about midnight. It was hard to say good night and goodbye to the early departees. I guess we had a lot to say after 35 years apart.
Sunday, we had a memorial service for our departed shipmates, led by Jerry Hamling, our newly-elected Chaplain. We then closed the Hospitality Room about noon and moved the party to the Penthouse. Almost all had departed by then, so Linda and I also bailed out about 2pm.
Everyone kept thanking Linda and I and Tom A. for putting on a great reunion, which was really appreciated, however, the real thanks go to all of you who traveled so far (and spent so much) to make this reunion happen. We really appreciated the great turnout we had and the enthusiasm in keeping the memory of our Brooke-Service alive for many years to come.
Our "Ship's Store" has been up and running for several months now. We had an ample supply of Ball Caps and videos available at the reunion and about 20 polo shirts. Unfortunately, we weren't able to stock all sizes in both colors (white & blue) but we're gaining. We now have 21 in stock, including "XX Large" for our more portly members (oh, hi Ski) and have an order in for 26 more. We hope to stock at least 6 of each size in both colors. this has been made possible by the resale and profit of about 30 shirts and 20 or so ball caps. In addition, we had some surplus from the reunion and added a couple of hundred from our Saturday night raffle. With all this, and the very generous donations in the past year, we had enough to establish some inventory in our Ship's Store.
We'll be adding more items as we go and they'll be updated on our website. President Tom posted pictures of our items on the website so you can see what you're buying 24/7/365.
A closing note is about our membership.
Enclosed, you'll find our official application for membership. Membership fees will help fund our coming reunion plus pay printing, postage and other expenses for our newsletters.
As our crew list grows, so do our printing and postage bills.
As we receive membership apps., we mail out a nifty-looking membership card, created by President Tom. So--don't delay in mailing in your membership apps.-- we are on the calendar year, so your first year's card will be good thru December 31st, 2004.
The next newsletter will be out in January or February and will include September' reunion information.
Hope to see all of you who attended Seattle's reunion again in September 2004, and many more crewmembers who couldn't attend this year.