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2016 REUNION HOTEL
2016 REUNION HOTEL
LITTLE BEAR REUNION APRIL 20 thru 24, 2016 IN BRANSON, MO
The consensus is officially in that this year's reunion was one of the best we have experienced to date. It was simply an excellent mix of veteran members, spouses, daughters and four new members all of whom quickly blended into a genuinely true reunion atmosphere. Of course it should be mentioned that it all came together under perfect weather conditions in Branson and superb hotel accommodations at the Radisson Hotel not to mention the great services provided by the Gatherings Plus staff. Well done!
Sadly, two of our members were forced to withdraw from the reunion due to some serious health issues. Prayers, Get Well cards and Best Wishes have been abundantly distributed to both. Our prayers for them for the best possible recovery continue.
We began our gathering on Wednesday with the typical meet and greet gathering followed by an attendee’s meeting, minus the incumbent Executive Council members, for the purpose of electing this year's Member-at-Large to represent the general membership present at this years’ reunion. Sam Haile was elected to replace last year’s representative, Jan Moore. The Member-at-Large serves a full calendar year as a voting member of the Executive Council and actively participates in all meetings, conversations and voting thereof. He may serve multiple terms but not in consecutive years. 2016 is the second iteration of this process.
Following the meeting, everyone proceeded to mingle, indulge in food and beverages and generally have a good time into the later hours. Not so many are staying up into the wee hours anymore if you get my drift. But there are some die-hard night owls still in the group. That’s when the best jokes make the rounds.
Aside from our own gathering, here is one of the true benefits from meeting in Branson. Our 40 attendees had the honor of doing some socializing throughout the week with another veterans group comprised entirely of Purple Heart recipients primarily from the Vietnam and Gulf War eras. I think there were a few from earlier conflicts as well. They are a proud, honorable group and rightly so! Occasionally some were drawn into our Hospitality Room seeking the source of the rather loud joviality that was in progress most of the time. It was fun and nice to see.
Despite some frustration with the scheduling of planned shows, the schedule did provide some excellent and well-received entertainment with some serious talent on full display. You had to be there. Trust me, it was good. That was an intentional nudge to get those absent this year to not be absent next year. We aren’t getting any younger, guys. And it’s not THAT difficult to get to Branson.
Again, our memorial service was held at the Vietnam Memorial located on the campus of the College of the Ozarks, an absolutely wonderful institution. This year, they had chairs set up for us. The weather was perfect, the service poignant and brief and the subsequent lunch served by undergraduate culinary students was superb.
The remainder of our itinerary contained more free time along with optional shows from which to choose. This less regimented approach to our schedule proved to be more relaxing and allowed people to do more of what they independently enjoyed at their own leisure. We’re fairly certain that this more liberal schedule played a significant part in the highly favorable opinions about the reunion in general. We plan to continue the practice for future events as much as possible.
The Members Meeting under the leadership of Sam Haile along with the following scheduled Business Meeting combined ideas in an in-depth and intelligent discussion and decision regarding future venues for our reunions. This subject has become somewhat of a sore point to some members. This year the attending members (who are the only ones who have a say on the subject) suggested to the Executive Council both Charleston, SC and Nashville, TN as possible new venues for the 2017 reunion. With the assistance of Gatherings Plus cost data for the two proposed sites, the full five-member Executive Council determined in closed meeting that the significantly increased costs above those of Branson, MO along with Nashville’s demand for a guaranteed (i.e. paid for) attendance were unacceptable to our association’s ability to pay. The members then met again under the leadership of Sam Haile in a meeting closed to the EC to further discuss the issue. The decision from that meeting resulted in a unanimous vote to return to Branson, MO for the 2017 reunion. It was a non-binding vote but reflected the educated opinion of the attending members once equipped with the true facts. Under the provisions of our LBA Constitution, the Executive Council then held an internal secret ballot vote to officially decide the 2017 venue from among the three candidates under consideration and voted 5-0 in favor of returning to Branson, MO in 2017.
By unanimous acclamation, the membership voted to declare Cindy Paris (my sweet daughter) and Norma Hustead (of Gatherings Plus) Honorary Little Bears for their tireless assistance and hard work over the years to assure the success of our reunions. Certificates stating so have been issued.
The other significant decision emerging from the business meeting was the unanimous approval of a suggestion by Chris Jensen to extend the length of our reunions by one full day commencing with the 2017 reunion. The finer details of the extension are currently under on-going discussion by the EC. The 5-day Branson deal still comes in cheaper than other 4-day venue estimates.
We also held a fund-raiser raffle to distribute the 2016 original reunion poster, a framed image of the memorial poster (both designed and donated by Ron Hall), and a wood carving of the LBA logo (donated by Dale Gueller) to three lucky winners. I kind of lost track of who won what but have been informed that the new guys won everything. The wooden plaque was graciously donated back to the association to present to member Mark Ayres who is currently recovering from a serious illness. We all wish him the very best and pray that he can rejoin us next year in Branson. We hope you join him there too.
NEW LITTLE BEAR PATCHES
Contact Ron Hall, Secretary
6161 Saufley Pines Rd.
Pensacola, FL 32526
To view or download the Constitution/Bylaws click link below:
MEMBERSHIP IS DEFINED BELOW:
Membership is open to all former members of Company A, 25th Aviation Battalion during the Vietnam conflict (1966 to 1971). Surviving family members of KIA and Deceased personnel; and to certain other persons described below under the Honorary classification; however, membership shall be limited to the membership classification to which such person qualifies.
Membership classifications are General, Active, and Honorary:
General: Any former member of Company A, 25th Aviation Battalion automatically becomes a General member by virtue of that assignment. General members do not have voting privileges.
Active: Active membership will be conferred upon a General Member who pays a one-time fee established and approved by the Executive Council.
Honorary: A lifetime Honorary membership will be bestowed upon the surviving spouse, the surviving children, or the parents of KIA or Deceased members. Other Honorary memberships may be awarded to other distinguished persons and must be voted upon by the Executive Council. Honorary members do not have voting privileges and do not pay dues.
Every Active Member of the Little Bear Association is a member of the Membership Committee. Your duties are to contact as many Little Bears as possible who are General Member's and encourage them to become Active Member's of the association.
For Membership Information, contact Secretary;
6161 Saufley Pines Rd.
Pensacola, FL 32526
The Membership Application can be filled out and printed if you have Adobe Reader or printed and filled out by hand. If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it free at, http://www.adobe.com/
I knew Ed Behne in 1967-68. Click on the link below to visit the Memorial Web Page his family and friends put up in his memory. If you knew or remember Ed, any information you or any Little Bear may have on him would be appreciated, pics ect. Send info to firstname.lastname@example.org
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