Coordinatorís Corner Article

A Summary of the 2017 Myrtle Beach Reunion

 

††††††† The 20th U.S.S. Soley Reunion was held at the Beach Cove Resort in North Myrtle Beach, SC, 7-12 May 2017.A total of 78 were in attendance - 30 shipmates and 48 family members and guests. ††Among the shipmates in attendance, we were honored to have Plankowner Bill McMurdy and his wife Jane join us again, all the way from Scottsdale, AZ.

 

††††††† The following shipmates, family members, and guests were attending their 1st reunion. From all accounts they had a great time and will be back.†† Welcome to all.

 

††††††† 1st Time Shipmates and Wives:Carles Stout (RM3, 62-64) & wife Pat; George Gibson (BT2, 59-62) & wife Sharon; Richard Sprague (DC2, 64-66) & wife Marian.

 

†††††† 1st time Family Members & Guests:Patricia Bargher, friend of Francine Feltman (companion of deceased Plankowner Perry Shelton, BGT3, 44-46); Teresa Cooper, Daughter of Dottie Vigna (widow of Tony Vigna (BMSN, 52-54); Ski & Sis Ostrawski, cousins of Pat Kranack (widow of Mike Kranack (EN3, 55-59); representingdeceased shipmate Werner Bierbach, SOM3, 45-46, were daughters Jill Bierbach & Jenny Fitzgerald,& Wernerís grandson Brady Brisighella.†††

 

††††††† Another 1st timer was Andrew Lane, the step-son of one of our Plankowners, James Marshall, who passed away last year.Andrew called me a week before the reunion and told me he would like to attend our memorial service to honor his step-father, who raised him .So, he drove from his home in Atlanta that morning, attended the service,and took part in our wreath tossing ceremony.He expressed his gratitude for being able to attend and he presented us with a donation to the Association in Jamesís memory.

 

If I missed anyone, or made any errors, I apologize.

 

††††††† We opened the reunion with a welcome reception pool-side at our host hotel.The next day we took a luncheon cruise on the Intercoastal Waterway, aboard the Barefoot Princess Riverboat.The following day we went by motorcoach to the Chesapeake House for dinner followed by a show at the Carolina Opry.Our memorial service, honoring our departed shipmates, was held the next day aboard the USS North Carolina (BB-55), in Wilmington, NC.

On the final day of the reunion we held our business meeting in the morning and enjoyed our Grand Banquet in the evening.

 

†††† At the banquet, we made 3 special presentations.Representatives of the Quilts of Valor organization were invited to present Quilts of Valor to 3 of our shipmates.The quilts are hand-made by volunteers and are awarded to veterans who served during a war or conflict.We were proud to award quilts to Plankowner Bill McMurdy; to Ken Dry, and to Frank Chesla, both career Navy veterans.Congratulations shipmates!†† Check out photos on our website:www.usssoley.org. and on our Facebook page;USS Soley.

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†††††† Iíd like to thank all those who helped out during the reunion, including:Jim Hawker, for performing master of ceremony duties at our memorial service and banquet.I know Jim puts a lot of work into those events and takes great pride in what he does; Dottie Vigna and her crew for selling a bunch of raffle and 50/50 tickets; Our Shipís Store Operator, Patty Kranack, who did an outstanding job selling a good amount of merchandise; Jerry Loch and his wife Carol, for leading prayers during our memorial service and banquet, and; all those who manned the registration desk and otherwise helped out when needed during the reunion.

 

†††††† Elections were held at our business meeting to elect or re-elect Association Committee members to serve until the next reunion.†† Members and their Assistants are:

†††††††††††

††††††††††Reunion Coordinator/Secretary Registrar††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mike Pollack

††††† ††††††Assistant Reunion Coordinator††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Len Porter

††††††††††† Treasurer††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Shirley Brown

††††††††††† Assistant Treasurer††††††††††††††† ††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Len Porter

††††††††††† Historian†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Jim Hawker

††††††††††† Assistant Historian†††††††††††††††† ††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Len Porter

††††††††††† Shipís Store Operator†††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Pat Kranack

††††††††††† Assistant Shipís Store Operator†††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Linda Folk

††††††††††† SCOOP Editor††††††††††††† †††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Chuck Bruce

††††††††††† Assistant SCOOP Editor††††††††† ††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Jim Hawker

††††††††††† Webmaster†††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Frank Chesla

††††††††††† Assistant Webmaster ††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Len Porter

 

†††††††† Not listed as committee members are Jerry Loch and Al Stiles, who volunteered to relieve Jim Hawker of some of his duties by taking over as Master of Ceremony for our Memorial Service (Jerry) and Banquet (Al), at the next reunion, and; Bob Piatak, who volunteered to take much of the Soley memorabilia from Jim and store it in his house.

 

†††††† Also stepping up was Terri Cooper, Dottie Vignaís daughter, who volunteered to set up a USS Soley Facebook Page.She had it done at our banquet.We are now on Facebook.Itís a great way to stay connected, post photos, and hopefully attract new members.Thanks, Terri.

 

††††††† Iíd also like to thank all my fellow committee members for volunteering their time and effort to help keep the Association going on a day-to-day basis, and for all their hard work leading up to and during the reunion.

 

††††††† At the business meeting we voted to publish all future Soley Scoop newsletters electronically by e-mail, and not to mail out copies.This will save us money and provide some relief to Chuck Bruce, our Scoop editor, for the labor-intensive task of printing and mailing.We requested that those without internet access provide Chuck with the e-mail address of a family member where the Scoop can be e-mailed..

 

†††††† Our next reunion will be held in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Fall of 2018.I have already begun the planning process and will keep everyone informed as I move forward.

 

Thatís it for now!

 

Mike Pollack, Reunion Coordinator