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Winter Chapter Meeting

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

23 – 25 January 2015

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In Memory — James (Jim) D. Hash

(3 October 1930–4 January 2015)

This meeting is dedicated to James (Jim) D. Hash, (D-49L) who died on 4 January 2015 following several years of fighting various forms of cancer. Jim was a charter member of the Special Forces Association which was inaugurated in 1964. He was also a charter member of Chapter XXXIII when it was formed in 1980. Throughout the years, Jim held every office in Chapter XXXIII, many times repetitively. He made a point to help any member of this chapter in their hour of need. He spent many hours chauffeuring the sick members of this chapter to their doctor visits, sitting with those admitted to the hospitals and attending the services of those members who have left us to sit with the Great Jump Master in the Sky. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Sid and Beth Morgan volunteered to host the Winter meeting but only if they could set it up in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Our town, Gatlinburg, Tennessee – our hotel, the Park Vista – the weather, gale-force winds, rain and sleet.

By Friday night the Park Vista was bustling with the sounds of ice falling into glasses and the popping of caps on the beer cans and bottles. There was also this strange-looking guy walking around snapping pictures of everyone and everything. Some of which you can see on the right side of this page. There were three new faces at this gathering — William W. Franken, Thomas P Hanaway and Charles E Mc Cowan. Art, our president, wasted no time in encouraging them to sign on the dotted line and become a member.

Saturday morning the group gathered in the restaurant to partake of the buffet. For one small fee you could make multiple trips to the buffet, the eggs-to-order grill and the fruit and pastry bar.

By 1000 hours, the ladies had congregated in the hotel lobby debating whether they should venture out into the storm. The weather was supposed to clear by noon, but the wind, now blowing like a NorEaster, would blow you away if you opened the doors. Weather be damned! There was shopping to be done and no Special Forces wife would let snow, sleet, rain or a 50-mph gale, keep them from their appointed tasks. Desks, chairs and people flew about when the doors to the outside were opened, but these ladies would not be daunted. With heads bent low against the howling gale, they fought their way out of the hotel to the parked cars — The shopping spree had begun.

Our President, Art McRae, called the meeting to order at 1330 hours. We had the normal activities of introducing ourselves, a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Stan briefed us on the Pavers and since we had only 14 names left on the memorial roster, the members voted to close out the list by purchasing all 14 pavers instead of the normal 10.

We voted to donate $500 for the SFA Wounded Warrior Bear Hunt and $500 to Dr. Dale Betterton’s International Medical Alliance. Dale hasn’t made a meeting in six months, but I think everyone will forgive him for being absent. You see, Dale is a doctor who is usually providing health care to the people of Haiti. I guess he thinks his services could be put to better use in Africa, fighting the Ebola outbreak. Not sure how long he will be in Africa, but I think the shortest tour is about six months (and then I think it’s six weeks in isolation). Knowing Dale, he’ll probably re-up for another six years.

The Spring/Summer meeting will be in Asheville, North Carolina on 1-3 May 2015. Bill Long will host this meeting and will publish the Warning and Alert Orders at a later date. The Bulletin Board will be updated to reflect this information.

Installation of new officers will be held during the Fall meeting in October. The venue for this Installation meeting will be held in Knoxville, Tennessee instead of Cleveland, Tennessee. Ron Bruce volunteered to check out the hotels/motels in the Knoxville area to hold the meeting in October. This information will be announced at the meeting in Asheville.

Sid and Beth set up the dinner for Saturday night. All the members and wives gathered at the bottom of the stairs and, with Beth leading the way and playing the bagpipes, were more-or-less marched into the dining hall. The buffet, like always, had too much food and many of the troops went back to the serving line for seconds and possibly thirds.

Somewhere around 1900 hours, the tables were cleared and our Auctioneer Extraordinaire, Stan Shank, started the auction with his usual comments on what could be construed as a bid. This included anything like picking the nose, touching the brow, shrugging, or any faint movement of the body.

There were many items up for auction and in the end, the Chapter’s Scholarship Fund had increased by $2,400. This included $1,000 donated by various members of the chapter to the memory of Jim Hash.

Sunday morning was clear but windy. It was a time for good-byes and, for some, long drives home. It was a good meeting and the Chapter continues to set the records. Some couldn’t make it because of the weather forecasts or health problems. Maybe we’ll see them in Asheville, North Carolina for the Spring/Summer meeting.

Block off your calendars for 1-3 May, 2015 for the Spring/Summer meeting and we’ll see you in Asheville, North Carolina.

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