Just to provide you all with an overview of the CGIA Reunion held in Branson in late September, 2014 - first and foremost - a huge BZ and THANKS to Bruce Shiels for his truly OUTSTANDING job on organizing a great event. He put in untold hours to ensure that things went smoothly. Taking a trick from his days as a successful agent, he made personal contact with all the key players at the hotel, Chamber of Commerce, entertainment venues and on and on which resulted in top notch service all around.
Our first order of business was to elect and install our officers for the 2014 to 2016 term. I was proud to be elected President, quite glad to have Jack Pressler voted in as Vice-President, and especially happy to have Jim Echoff and Jeff Kilpatrick continued as Treasurer and Corporate Secretary respectively. The business meeting was approximately 90 minutes long! We discussed two major topics - the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) and the future of CGIA. The LEOSA discussion was informative. It boiled down to the fact that the CG is working on a policy regarding LEOSA for retired agents and further, it was the experience of several agents that the decision to issue a LEOSA card belongs to the individual states, not the USCG. Dependent on how your state interprets the statutes, a DD-214 showing your training and an ID card showing you were retired as an E-4 or above may well do it. It was decided that the CGIA would await publication of CG policy before taking further action.
The most important decisions made involved the future of CGIA - it was voted that the CGIA would continue to hold conferences on an annual basis and that for years 2015, '16, and '17, they would be held in Branson. Bruce reported that all of Branson was hit hard by the decision of Southwest Airlines to abruptly stop service into Branson, but the city leadership has said that full schedule direct service will be re instituted by next fall, thus making the transportation to and from much easier.
As a group, a number of our members and their spouses attended two great entertainment venues for top-notch shows - the Dixie Stampede as well as the Clay Cooper Show. No hassles at all, as Bruce had arranged for us to go directly from the hotel to the shows in a first class bus. The good thing about Branson is that next year we can sign up for two different shows- and if you have per chance seen these already, there are many more to choose from! Branson is probably the most Veteran-friendly town I have ever visited.
Thanks to Bruce again, we had a hospitality room that was fully stocked - and, if the walls could talk, they would have plenty of war stories to tell from that weekend! The camaraderie among all who attended was great - many hours were spent swapping tales, making new friends and catching up with old ones.
Our evening banquet was an outstanding event as well. Great food choices on our buffet, plenty of it, some great door prizes, and lots of fun. The highlight of that evening was by far, our guest speaker, former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Vince Patton. He gave a truly inspiring talk that had everyone feeling quite proud to have been a member of the USCG.
Overall our membership and financial picture made slight gains this year according to reports presented during our meeting, so thanks go to Jim Echoff, Don Roark and Howard Giblin for many hours spent cleaning up the roster and gathering new members and back dues!
I do want to take a moment to thank Don Roark for his service as President for the past term - despite a serious diagnosis which kept him from attending this year, Don put in quite a bit of work himself to both keep us on track these past two years and to ensure our conference this year was a success. Thanks Don - and Don, know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of all our members as you face your latest challenge. Also, a note regarding our new VP, Jack Pressler. My great respect to Jack was further solidified when, suffering his own serious health issues which prevented him from attending, Jack hung in there and said he'd fulfill his duties as VP to the best of his abilities. And Jack, please know you are also in our thoughts and prayers.
I want to thank all those who attended this year - my wife and I had a great time and we are excited to be returning for more camaraderie and entertainment next year (and I promise to try to make the business meeting even shorter).
Steve Little President
The Washington, DC Chapter of the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association asks for your help to restore the 84 year-old memorial, heavily worn by environmental conditions. Please review these two flyers for the information: DC CPO FlyerMemorial Coin Flyer