General Membership Meeting Minutes – July 29, 2007

JULY 29, 2007

The Highpointers Club banquet and general membership meeting was held at the Stoney Creek Inn, Wausau, Wisconsin, on the evening on Saturday, July 28, 2007. A total of 320 people were in attendance. Don Holmes once again acted as the Master of Ceremonies.

Don began the evening’s festivities by reprising his joke about Sherlock Holmes (no relation) and Dr. Watson on a camping trip. As the banquet was served family-style with serving dishes on the tables, it was not necessary for Don to call for the various tables to go through a serving line. As people were eating, Don began to call numbers for the awarding of door prizes. Four autographed books were held back to be the last four door prizes awarded.

After most people had finished eating, Don began by recognizing all the 50-state and contiguous-48-state completers. He then continued down through the number of state HPs done until he reached zero, and the entire room was standing. He also recognized the oldest member (Jack Parsell), the youngest (10-week-old Whitney O’Connell) the family with the most members attending, and the person who had traveled the furthest to attend (a young woman from the Czech Republic).

Dave Covill gave a brief presentation on the status of the Highpointers Foundation (HPF). He was followed by Paul Pontiff, the attorney who had worked on the application to the IRS for 501(c)(3) for the HPF, who explained the nature and functioning of a foundation. [Receiving IRS approval of the application for 501(c)(3) status means that contributions to the HPF are tax-deductible to those making the contributions.]

This was followed by a brief power-point presentation by Rick Hartman on the Arizona 2008 convention.

Don then called for nominations for the site of the 2009 convention. New Jersey was the only site proposed, and this was adopted unanimously.

Awards were then presented. Certificates of appreciation were given to Bob and Kathy Blomberg and to Donna Sterler. The Paul Zumwalt Award, in its first year of existence, went to Bobby Gothard of Kentucky and to Bill McRae of Florida.

Frank Ashley Awards went to:
Mike Chessler, for his donation over several years of hundreds of mountaineering books to serve as door prizes at conventions; and to
Miles Luke, the liason for Driskill Mountain, Louisiana’s high point, for his role in its renovation by Eagle Scout Logan Blackwell; and to
Paul Pontiff. for his efforts on behalf of the Highpointers Foundation in securing for that organization 501(c)(3) status.
There was also a collective Frank Ashley Award given to “Nikki’s Crew”, i.e., all those volunteers who over the years have given of their time and energy to make the conventions the smooth-running operations they have been. A total of 83 certificates was given to the volunteers, although not all were present.

Finally, two Vin Hoeman Awards were given to:
Nikki Hemphill, recognizing her efforts in organizing and running the conventions over the years; and
Robert Hyman, recognizing his efforts over the past few years in achieving official recognition of the District of Columbia high point.

Lastly, a brief ceremony of “Passing the Torch” was held, during which Jim Sutton, chief organizer of this year’s convention, passed a Club banner to Rick Hartman, chief organizer of next year’s convention.

This was followed, not by a talk as in prior years, but by an open forum during which various highpointers shared their less-than-optimum experiences with the gathering.

Respectfully submitted,
Fred Lobdell, Secretary

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