31st Engineer Battalion (Cbt): Minutes of 2017 Reunion
31st Engineer Battalion (CBT)
Colorado Springs, CO
October 5 – 8, 2017
Coordination Meeting – October 4, 2017
At 6:00 p.m. Director Leo Farias called a meeting of association officers and other members to discuss protocol and business related to the 2017 reunion.
Present were: Leo Farias, Louis Brown, Stephen Johnson, Fred Webb, Warren Dubois, Jay Fulfer, and Charles Bruckerhoff. Ed Willis was not present.
Discussion focused on preparations for the general meeting for the next day: Following the by-laws, treasurer’s report, process of electing new officers for 2017 – 2019, registration, banquet planning and preparation, and selecting the city for the 2019 reunion.
Meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.
General Meeting – October 5, 2017
Director Leo Farias called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.
Louis Brown gave the opening prayer.
Leo Farias led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Leo Farias followed with announcing the key events planned for the reunion.
The Director also welcomed all of the newcomers to the organization. He reminded everyone to complete the registration process for the reunion.
The Director also noted that the Hospitality Room, attended to by Leo Neely, would be open to members and their guests each evening of the reunion.
The Director also made the following announcements:
• Encouraged all members to pay their dues if they have not done so todate.
• Encouraged members to consider signing up for a dining out group to selected restaurants Friday evening and for
the charter bus tour planned for Saturday to the Center of American Values in Pueblo.
• Reported that Bob Brooks had purchased caps and shirts with the unit’s logo embroidered in color and encouraged members to consider purchasing them.
• Noted that going forward the new officers and membership should follow the By-Laws for all decision-making.
Warren Dubois gave the Treasurer’s report. The following shows the organization’s financial status after the reunion accounting was completed:
SHORTFALL……………………………….. – $ 951.50
DUES COLLECTED………………………. $1625.00
CHECKBOOK BALANCE ,,,,,,,,.,,,,,,,,,,$5507.52
June Robbins gave an overview of website development and encouraged everyone present to provide feedback to help make it serve the organization’s needs.
Director Farias next conducted the election of officers for the upcoming two-year term.
New officers were nominated from the floor and elected consistent with the organization’s By-Laws.
Director, Louis Brown
Treasurer, Warren Dubois
Historian, Stephen Johnson
Secretary/Roster Keeper, Charles Bruckerhoff
Webmaster, June Robbins
Members at Large: Phil Douglas, Bob Powers, Leo Farias, Don Rusbult, and Ted Bolton.
Leo Farias asked the members present to recommend locations for the 2019 reunion, with the suggestion that the next reunion be held east of the Mississippi River. Different members recommended several cities. By a show of hands, Williamsburg, VA was selected for the 2019 reunion and there was consensus on continuing to hold the reunion on or about first week in October. (Later after the reunion, Harley Brinkley notified the Secretary that he would be working on the 2019 Reunion in Williamsburg, VA.)
The Director acknowledged the great amount of work done by Michelle Hopkins, daughter of Rich Hopkins (deceased), for this reunion and asked members to consider her continuing to work for the organization. Motion was made to make Michelle Hopkins an Honorary Member of the Association. Seconded and unanimously approved.
Additionally, the members agreed that all widows would be declared Honorary Members of the Association.
There was recognition of all members of the association who had passed since the 2015 reunion.
Director Farias reminded all members and guests that group dinners had been arranged for this evening and he invited everyone to make their selections as early as possible.
At the end of the meeting there were two presentations from active military personnel at Fort Carson on the mission and operations of the modern U.S. Army.
Meeting adjourned at 10:00 a.m.
Saturday, October 7
Charter bus (55 passenger) tour to the Center of American Values in Pueblo, Colorado departed at 9:00 a.m. and returned at 2:00 p.m. The tour included a visit and presentation at the museum with portraits and documentation of more than 140 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and a guided walking tour of the Pueblo Riverwalk to the Convention Center. Lunch was at the Riverwalk.
Group photo session was conducted at 6:00 p.m. in front of the hotel.
The grand banquet began at 7:00 p.m.
The 52nd Bde Engr Battalion Color Guard posted the flags, Pledge of Allegiance was led by Leo Farias, Specialist Winslow of the 4th Inf Div Band sang the National Anthem, and Louis Brown offered the Opening Prayer.
Leo Farias gave an opening statement recognizing and thanking everyone in attendance.
Dinner was served in a self-serve fashion, table-by-table.
LTC Brian Brobeck, Commander of the 52nd Brigade Engineer Battalion at Fort Carson, was the keynote speaker. His presentation highlighted current events within the military engineers and provided a brief look ahead for the Engineer Battalions.
Leo Farias recognized Michelle Hopkins for her assistance with the 2017 reunion.
While attending the Association’s 2015 reunion in San Antonio, Michelle’s father, Rich Hopkins and mother, Kathy, had offered Michelle’s services to assist with planning and onsite coordination for the next reunion in Colorado Springs. The reunion was a tremendous success due largely to Michelle’s work with the Commanding General at Fort Carson and also her experience and skills with event planning and operations.
Michelle Hopkins presented a tribute to her father, Rich Hopkins. Rich passed away from complications from Agent Orange several months after the 2015 reunion.
Leo Farias thanked Fred Webb for his assistance with the 2017 reunion. Fred has had experience with coordination of many reunions of various units that he served in and assisted the Director for this 2017 reunion of the Association.
Anna Shaper, daughter of Victor Garcia, gave a statement and read a poem, titled “The Brotherhood,” commemorating the sacrifices of soldiers who served in the Vietnam War.
Color Guard retired the Colors and was dismissed.
Louis Brown closed the meeting with a prayer.
Banquet adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
Closing Meeting – October 8, 2017
Leo Farias opened the meeting at 9:00 a.m.
The outgoing Director congratulated the newly elected Director, Louis Brown, other officers and members at large.
Louis Brown assumed responsibility for the meeting.
Louis Brown congratulated all newly elected officers, thanked Leo Farias and the outgoing officers and members at large for their work, and pledged to move the Association forward by following the by-laws, holding periodic meetings (with use of Internet), maintaining communications with the members, and lining up volunteers and setting up operations for a successful 2019 reunion.
There was a discussion of the organization’s priorities for the next two years in preparation for the 2019 reunion.
Upgrades were recommended to the Association’s current communications systems for best use of technology and also in recognition of the fact that members have various levels of technology use.
The Secretary/roster keeper will work to improve documentation on all members’ records in the roster. Additionally, at the 2019 reunion, the registration system will be upgraded with technology and streamlined in order to facilitate efficient processing of all attending members.
Recommendation was made to distribute John Frye’s narrative to all members, and especially to new members at registration.
Recommendation was made to distribute Anna Shaper’s poem to the members and post on the website.
Recommendation was made to solicit stories from all members about their experiences in the 31st before, during and after service in Vietnam.
Recommendation was made that Bob Brooks be sent a note of thanks from the Association for his work on the caps and shirts.
Meeting adjourned at 10:00 a.m.
(Minutes revised: 11/1/2017)