Well, this is my final article as the President of the SFA . . . not so much cheering please.
We wrapped up our 35th reunion and general meeting two weeks ago and it appears that it was a great success.
We had about 280 attendees and even though the weather was very hot (even by Vegas standards), it appeared that everyone had a good time . . . some too good perhaps! We had hoped for more attendees but hopefully this good showing will lead to even better attendance next time.
Any successful large endeavor takes a team to execute everything without looking like chaos and I had a great team to work with.
Thanks to all the board members: Lou Gum, Mary Burris, Greg Meland, and Kent Burns. They worked tirelessly for five years keeping the association going but then pushed it up to come together to execute a great reunion. My heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of them for their dedication.
A very special thank you to Tnle McCloskey. We made her an honorary board member as a small recognition of her truly outstanding work in organizing, planning, coordinating, negotiating, and orchestrating each and every part of the reunion. She does this professionally and she volunteered her time and great expertise to the SFA. We can't express to her how appreciative we are.
I would also like to thank all the many volunteers that helped all along the way as we planned and then executed the reunion. While I can't name everyone here please know that you were critical in making this a fun and successful event.
Some of the real heroes were:
Mr and Mrs Barry Moore for their huge efforts with our printing needs,
Joel "Rally" Rush for a truly impressive video and photo presentation,
Dave Walker and Doug Robinson for their expertise and experience,
Dog Senna for his golf assistance,
Tina Gum, Russ Phillips, Alex Odekerken, Fred and Cheryl Zeitz, Dave and Connie Masters, and Clippr and Beket McCloskey for all their help keeping things rolling behind the scenes.
Most importantly, I would like to thank everyone that took time from their lives to come to Vegas in extreme heat and spend that time with old friends. It was all of you that attended that made the reunion a blast.
My only regret is that I did not take more time to talk and swap stories with more of you. The reunion was over and it felt like I still had 200 people that I wanted to talk with.
As discussed at the business meeting, we also had a financially successful reunion. The goal was to leave a reasonable level of funds for the new board and we left more than we'd planned. In the long-run, that will be good for the organization, regardless of the plans going forward.
Congratulations to our new President, Lt Col (R) Rick "Seldom" Wright and his new board.
Thanks to Rick and everyone else that volunteered to take over the association as well as the planning for the next reunion. Rick is a highly motivated and high-energy guy, so I know the SFA is in great hands.
Even though Rick has a great board to help him, I ask that everyone not only take interest in the SFA, but please pitch in and help out where you can. One place that you can all help is finding and reaching out to any possible members that may have disappeared over the years. We worked hard to get the word out but we found the best means of communication is word of mouth.
It was an honor and privilege to lead the F-117A Stealth Fighter Association for the past five years. Thanks again to everyone that made us and the reunion a success. See you all at the next reunion, if not sooner.
Andy Papp, Stealth Fighter Association President