I am in El Centro with Ray LeCompte as I write this column. This is the weekend that I join the Imperial Valley Council of the US Navy League to watch the Blue Angels practice for the upcoming season. Tonight, IVNL members cook and serve an awesome steak dinner as we prepare to go out to the base in the morning to watch a couple of practice sessions. Sat with Woody Woodruff and Ray Seymour plus an old friend of theirs, John Watts, who may end up as a speaker at GPS in the future, either talking about the A-10 or the F-16. Yes, he is Air Force! It is beautiful over here with the same expected for tomorrow. Weather at home is expected to be wet so we will be running into it when we go home tomorrow afternoon.
This month we will be honoring the Sailors of the Quarter at NWSSB. As you know, we do four programs/meetings for SOQs and then one for Sailors of the Year. Bill Thompson pretty much runs the show with help from Don Pageler and Sel Ramsay. There are a few things that I want to talk about that are related to the program. First, I have been asked why we do not have the sailors spread out and sit at different tables at the luncheon rather than all sitting at one table. After discussion with staff I learned that there is a procedural issue that keeps that from happening. I will explain if you contact me but it is too long for this column.
Second, we have been kicking around the idea of the individual members sponsoring a SOQ or SOY. Right now, GPS gives the sailors a little cash award plus gift certificates and coupons from local restaurants in recognition of the excellent performance. Some of you have approached me about actually contributing directly to them. I do not know what process we will use or how we will make it work but we will keep discussing it. If you have something to add or want to make a contribution, let me know by email, text or phone. Remember, there may be a limit of $25 that can be given to each sailor per Navy regs.
Third, and finally a get well wish to Don Pageler who is recovering from hip surgery. I understand that Tom Bell who just took over as President of the Los Alamitos Chapter of MOAA has volunteered to help chase down restaurant gift certificates in Don’s absence. Thank you, Tom. Your kindness will be rewarded.
Not related to the SOQ program is another challenge. As you know, each dues-paying (to ANA, not GPS) member is supposed to receive a copy of Wings of Gold in the mail once a quarter. If you are not receiving your WOG; and if you are current on your dues to ANA; and if you want to receive the magazine, please contact me. There seems to be an issue at HQ regarding the membership rolls which is caused by, what else, computer problems. Get in touch with me if you think you are missing your WOG. We are in the process of reviewing the ANA-provided membership list to try to help HQ but we need your help too.
Thanks again to the staff and other volunteers for helping out at meeting time and in the background. I was pretty happy with the way you all, members included, handled the change of venue at the last meeting. Thanks, Rafi, for being so cool about the challenges