I don't remember a time when the our world seems so certain to drastically change for the better or worse between a writing deadline and when you receive this.
For the record, I am writing on Feb. 13, 2003, from New York City.
Since the last quarter many of our military members have been called to active duty in the Middle East. I can only one by name -- Karl Heller from Texas. Karl announced his departure in our online community. But I am sure is only tip of the iceberg . Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are intentionally put into harm's way.
Since the last quarter, we have once again learned to fear objects in the sky. Many members of our group described in the online community the experience of hearing the Shuttle Columbia boom overhead.
Yesterday (Feb. 12), Lila Zumwalt, wife of Paul Zumwalt, passed. Lila had an inspiring stoicism as she and Paul highpointed. Their marriage was a fairy tale in which they never moved more than 20 miles from the childhood Illinois home and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at the Missouri Convention at Jack Longacre's house in 1999.
Boy, this is the first issue in which there's no message from Jack. You would think he's saying that if he left the whole world would fall apart.
All this would make a great campfire story. We could couple it with all the "what ifs" and "whereas's" going around these days. And we'd be assured that we wouldn't get any sleep.
But we're highpointers. We're goal oriented. We know the most assured way to get anywhere is to take a deep breath and plod along only as far as we safely can. You calculate the hazards and try to act accordingly.
Towards that end, I am optimistic about what "lies on the other side" for the Club if we make it through the next few weeks.
First off I want to thank Jean Trousdale for the tremendous hours and work she has put in on the scattering Jack's ashes project. There are so many moving parts on the project it is much more work than it might seem. Since highpointers consistently say the best thing about the club is camaraderie, the Board of Directors has an ongoing debate about regional gatherings. Jack has given us a chance for a handsome start on that.
Secondly, I want to thank John Mitchler and Mary Maurer who are taking a chance to let the Club experiment with online e-commerce to accept credit cards via Paypal from online reservations for the Illinois 2003 convention. There may be more credit card options in the Club's future if it takes off.
Thirdly, I want to thank Don Holmes for coming up with a nifty new 48-completer pin. The pins with numbers that are appearing the Merc now are beginning to make some sense whereas before you had to know the secret color code to know a person's completion status.
Fourthly, I want thank David Olsen, Gene and Lillian Elliott and Diane Winger for working build a comprehensive index of the Apex to Zenith newsletters from 1987 to 1998. If you were in the newsletter you are now indexed in the easy use newsletter section on the web. David did the lion's share of the work doing 1987 to 1997 writing literally thousands of entries. Gene and Lillian did 1998. Diane has been coordinating our volunteer effort and is a technical wiz. If you are interested in completing this project -- or even doing one year please contact her.
Fifthly, I want to thank Dave Covill who bit the bullet and did the paperwork necessary to get the newsletter delivered via second class mail. In the past the newsletter could take a month or more to go from the printer to the membership. Now it will only take a few days. The change seem like a "no brainer" but it was a lot harder to implement than it looked.
This column marks the completion of my second one-year term as Chairman. I have been Chairman the entire time I've been on the Board. I hope the Club is a better place because of my tenure during these two eventful years. I know that I have learned a lot more from the Board and Club members than you and they have probably learned from me. Come what may, I will always appreciate that.
Be safe and sane.
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