Comments from reunion chariman John B. Thomas
I hope everyone returned home safe and sound.
First of all, let me say "Thank You" to all the shipmates and their wives who attended the reunion, and to those who planned to attend but had circumstances occur that prevented them from going.
We had a great turnout with several who had never attended before. We had shipmates from as far away as Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona. Hopefully everyone enjoyed it enough to attend again next year.
Before I forget, let me give a special thanks to shipmate Joe Basso who made contact and helped with the follow up for out trip to the White House. Thanks, Joe.
For those who could not attend, I will give you a little overview. The reunion was kicked off on Thursday evening with a reception to meet and greet everyone.
Our trip to Washington and the White House began at 7 AM Friday morning. Our guide who was very knowledgeable of Washington made it very informative and interesting. While there we enjoyed a riding tour of Washington and dinner at a seafood restaurant. We arrived back at the hotel at 7:30 PM.
On Saturday we went to Annapolis and toured the campus. It was homecoming so there was quite a bit of activity on campus and around town. Sorry to say that Navy lost to East Carolina. Everyone enjoyed browsing the shops and having lunch. We returned to the hotel at 3 PM to get prepared for the banquet and auction.
After the banquet we adjourned to the hospitality room for fellowship and our yearly auction. We made $660 from the sale of items donated by shipmates.
On Sunday we were sad to say our goodbyes but happy for the memories we had of the reunion and old friends.
Have a safe and blessed year and hope to see everyone in Tampa in 2012. John B.
Greetings Altair Shipmates. Here is a synopsis of the Baltimore reunion from Chairman John B. Thomas:
I would like to respond to a few of the comments in your email about the reunion. But first things first.
Just want to say thanks to all of you who sent cards and had Dorothy in your prayers during her recent surgery.
She is doing remarkably well after 6 1/2 hours of surgery and 5 days in the hospital. I ask you to continue to keep us in your prayers.
Back to the reunion.
Last year in Nashville the 3 cities that were most favorably mentioned for reunions in the next three years were Tampa, Baltimore, and New Orleans. On Joe's recommendation and the good results in Nashville, I contacted Military Planners. After speaking with Military Planners I chose Tampa as the next location because of the ship, as mentioned in Tom's earlier email, as well as the many other activities there. I reached an agreement with Military Planners on the dates, rates, and a full breakfast for the Hilton in Tampa. A short time later I received a phone call from Joe and asked about having it in Baltimore, because he felt that he would be able to arrange a tour to the White House. I told him that I had no problem with it if we could work it out with Military Planners. They said that we could swap it if we booked with the Hilton in Baltimore since we had already booked with one in Tampa. At the time it was a Holiday Inn, but I was told that the purchase by the Hilton was already in the works. They asked for a higher rate for the rooms and less breakfast, but I stood my ground and they agreed to the same rate and a full breakfast.
I called Tom and Charlie and asked them what they thought about confirming the dates and locations for the next three years since these 3 cities, Tampa, Baltimore, and New Orleans had been mentioned. Both gave their approval. By doing that I was able to lock in the same rates for all 3 years. We felt that this was in the best interest of the group to be able to keep the same rates and have it at a nice hotel. (Hilton) I did not know that it was necessary to have everyone's approval.
The use of the hospitality room comes with the room rentals for the reunion. The hospitality room was for our use from 3 PM on Thurs., Oct. 20 till check out time on Sun., Oct. 23. The reunion was kicked off at 5 PM with finger foods (sandwiches, chicken nuggets, potato salad, cheese and crackers, chips and dips, cake, beer, wine and sodas. There was some food leftover and housekeeping cleaned up after everyone left. It was a busy weekend. On Friday we left for the White House at 7AM and returned at 7:30 PM after having dinner at a seafood restaurant. The hospitality room was opened immediately and all refreshments were available.
On Saturday we left for Annapolis at 9 AM and returned about 3 PM to prepare for the banquet at 6 PM and auction immediately following. The hospitality room was open after we returned and until well after the auction ended. All drinks and refreshments were available. After the auction, there was some discussion about the reunion for next year. I announced that it would be in Tampa. I didn't go into all the details as detailed earlier as I didn't think it was necessary. There were only a few objections as there had been a great response last year. I heard comments from a few that indicated they did not approve of planning 3 years in advance.
Very few people tipped at breakfast so I got with the manager and left a sizable tip for the waiters and waitresses. Good tips were also given to housekeeping for keeping hospitality room clean and orderly, and also for the lady in the office who graciously offered assistance in getting things we needed and kept things running smoothly.
Charlie, with all this said I hope this will put everything to rest. If someone had a problem or concern, it should have been addressed to me instead of you, since you were not there. All of this was to clear the air.
With best regards and best wishes for a Blessed Holiday Season and New Year. John B."