9 November 2021
Hello to everyone from the great state of Georgia!
I am honored to serve as your President and look forward to the many challenges over the next six months and beyond. I want to acknowledge how blessed we are to have Chris Wingate as our Vice President. Chris is currently serving as our VP, as well as serving on active duty. Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and ideas to the association that we are already capitalizing on!
As I write this letter, Veteran’s Day is approaching and I can’t help to think about the collective sacrifices that our association members have selflessly endured over the last 70 plus years. I think about the thousands of stories and individual moments that you have in your precious memories, and I applaud you for them. They are your stories and your moments, whether you’ve shared them or not, and they are special and you should be very proud. Thank you, and please know that I am grateful to all of you!
It’s a great time to be a DUSTOFFer! Why, you ask? Because we are moving forward with growth in mind. We have a lot of exciting actions and projects underway to make our association better.
Thanks to COL Sam Fricks, Director, MECCD and COL Dave Zimmerman, Consultant to the Surgeon General, I’ve had the opportunity to speak twice at the 67J Enterprise Team Meeting, which includes many 67J staff and a majority of our 67J MEDEVAC Commanders. I spoke about the state of our association and the many great projects that are currently underway, and of course, how grateful we are for their service. I specifically mentioned how important it is, as a professional, to be a part of a professional organization and how their membership is important, to ensure we keep our DUSTOFF legacy alive. I emphasized the importance of marketing memberships to their DUSTOFF soldiers, submitting annual award nominations, and recognizing their DUSTOFF heroes at the annual banquet. I plan to continue this approach throughout my tenure as President, as well as having guest speakers/mentors join as well.
Our DUSTOFF Association organizational restructure has begun. The Executive Council unanimously approved a new structure that streamlines the association and helps to decentralize some of the many actions and tasks that Dan Gower is currently working on. I am currently in the process of writing job descriptions for all new and existing positions with a completion date of January 2022. Even now, while I’m working on job descriptions for our new organizational structure, we need volunteers to fill key roles. If you are interested in the following volunteer positions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan at email@example.com. Positions needed now are, DUSTOFF Store Manager, Treasurer, Membership Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator.
As part of the organizational structure enhancement, we are also reviewing and updating our bylaws and constitution to ensure it’s up to date. We plan to have this update complete by first quarter of 2022.
We are excited to share the news about our new sponsor, Collins Aerospace, who have graciously offered to provide an annual donation of $5,000 towards production of the Aviator of the Year trophy, awardee support for reunion travel, lifetime memberships for all DUSTOFF annual award recipients, and around 24 lifetime memberships for flight school and flight medic course (phase 3) graduates.
Please write your congressman or congresswoman about the Congressional Gold Medal efforts! There are renewed efforts in Congress to honor our DUSTOFF Crews from the Vietnam War. Senator Cornyn, from Texas, and MG Pat Brady, initiated resubmission of the Congressional Gold Medal. Steve Vermillion and Chris Siedor have begun working with a large lobby/law firm to “walk the halls” and see if we can get the requisite number of sponsors. Currently there are two efforts, one in the House of Representative and one in the Senate. It is now time for us as members of the community of the DUSTOFF Association to send letters to our representatives and senators to let them know that we need their support. This is not the first time for this effort and we must be successful this time around or there may not be another opportunity. Please go to our DUSTOFF.org page at Congressional Gold Medal efforts – DUSTOFF Association and read about the CGM and see the example letters for the House and Senate. Please write your congressman or congresswoman!
Dan Gower and team are well underway at planning for the 42nd Annual Reunion, which will be in San Antonio – at the Holiday Inn – Riverwalk on 18-22 May 2022. We will open registration in January 2022. NOTICE: Original dates were posted as 12-15 May 2022, which were in error. Please mark your calendars with the correct dates (18-22 May 2022). As you know, the Riverwalk is a wonderful place to eat and socialize! We look forward to seeing you there!
We are America’s DUSTOFF and we should all be proud of this distinction! We have provided first-class MEDEVAC support to America’s fighting forces, in peacetime and war, for over 70 years. We are a precious group of people and we should never forget it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and sacrifice to our country. Also, let’s never forget, the men and women who have selflessly given all in support of people they may not have ever known.
President, DUSTOFF Association