I will begin this by offering an apology for not corresponding as I should. I guess if I went to the website at all I would notice that there hasn't been a newsletter for quite some time.
No excuses and I apologize!
As many of you know, since Savannah we have had reunions in Lexington, New Orleans, Denver and Philadelphia The horse farms in Lexington were the highlight of that reunion for me, New Orleans WWll museum and swamp tour were very interesting, Denver took us up trail ridge road and the visitor's center and Philadelphia's highlight was our tour guide for two days. Never before have we had such a knowledgeable tour guide. Amish country was an educational experience as was Valley Forge. This year beginning on August 27th through the morning of the 31st we will be in Nashville, Tennessee. We will be seeing many Country music venues and Andrew Jackson's Hermitage (would love to have a better turnout this year) attendance seems to be falling off at our venues away from Atlanta, maybe this one will change the trend. I've already received several registration forms for Nashville.
Our Board of Directors this year is as follows:
President- Al Dvoracek
Secretary- Jay Coyle
Membership- Julian Black
Julian is looking for a replacement for membership and Rollin Jackson is also looking to retire from Historian after what seems like decades on the well done job.
Many of you may not be aware that the organization, not only has the annual reunion, but we are also involved pretty heavily at the Candler airfield near Atlanta. We give an annual scholarship to one deserving student. And there is an annual Christmas party in Atlanta. So there are several opportunities that might pique your interest as a member.
I am including the letter that I wrote after attending my first reunion in Chicago. Maybe it will encourage some of you to attend a reunion and experience how enjoyable they can be.
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A Very Pleasant Surprise
As a member of Delta’s Golden Wings since I retired in Jan 2006, I had heard about and received all the correspondence about their annual reunion. But because of all the ramifications of the bankruptcy and subsequent loss of just about my entire annuity, to say that I was bitter at Delta would be a gross understatement. So to attend a convention with nothing but older retirees, who do nothing but bleed the red, white and blue of Delta Air Lines, was the furthest thing from my mind. However, at the prodding and encouragement of one particular retiree and because the convention was in Chicago, where I have always wanted to take my wife, Marilyn, I signed up to go. As you may have gathered from the title of this article, the experience turned out to be quite different than I imagined.
From the moment we checked in and were informed that the hospitality suite was open, until we checked out to return home, the reunion was nothing but a pleasant experience. Some of the pilots that I flew with when I was a new hire, through the pilots I flew with until I made captain were in attendance. What a wonderful experience it was to see some of my acquaintances that I hadn’t seen, much less thought about for many years. We reminisced and told some old “war stories” that I had not remembered nor even thought about in many years.
The days were filled with good food, great tours and good camaraderie, even if we did have to wear those silly looking huge name tags around our necks everywhere we went. They made me feel like I was at an AARP convention.
The initial fear that I had about everyone being a “cracker” and talking about the “good ole Delta” faded quickly as I discovered that all of us suffered because of the bankruptcy, and we were all just as bitter as the next guy. When one of the Delta vice-presidents showed up at our meeting, I was surprised that he got out all in one piece. What a brave fool he was to show up at a retired pilot’s convention, since we were the only group at Delta to lose our pension. Anyway, I guess the biggest regret I have is that none of my peers attended the convention; I was the youngest retiree in attendance. But as I said, we all had a great time. In fact, several of us are planning on taking Amtrak together to St. Louis this year. That will give us a couple more days to party and see who can tell the biggest lie. I just hope that some of you younger retirees like me will change your mind and give the Delta Golden Wings a chance; you could be pleasantly surprised also.