Washtenaw's 2011 Reunion

In bringing Branson to a close, it's hard to believe we've now concluded a decade of great reunions! This year's reunion review comes from our association secretary, Joe (Rosey) Rosenberg:

Hello LST1166 Shipmates,

A group of 32 crewmembers gathered together in Branson, Mo. for the 2011 reunion. On behalf of all attendees, I would like to give a big round of applause to David and Roz Vicknair for planning and hosting this event. The Clarion Hotel rolled out the red carpet to our association from beginning to end, making the reunion a great experience. The excellent accomodations, friendly staff, elaborate patriotic decorations and generous buffets made the days in Branson sail by for all who attended.

From the kickoff "meet and greet" poolside, crewmembers reconnected with old friends and shared stories from their days aboard the Washtenaw. There was plenty to do in Branson during the day. Some members visited the Veterans Memorial, others attended the Rock n Roll show or rode the "ducks"to Lake Taneycomo or Table Rock Lake. Of course, there were several trips to the local shopping mall or Dick's Oldtime 5 & 10 to find the perfect pair of shoes or soveniers.

On, Friday, a group of 55 attended the Dolly Parton Dixie Stampede dinner show where they feasted on "finger foods" of soup, biscuits, chicken, pork, potatoes and corn. All the while, horses and their riders encouraged the "North" to outdue the "South", with cheers and foot stampedes around the arena. Of course, the Washtenaw was seated on the winning "South" side as contestants accumulated winning flags in the competitions. Did anyone guess correctly which barrel the girl was hiding in? After the show, members gathered in the hospitality room to view slide shows of Navy pictures from days aboard the ship.

The membership "All Hands" meeting was attended by 28 crewmembers where the 2012-2013 officers were elected and the 2012 reunion location was decided (see meeting minutes). The Saturday night dinner dance kicked off with the silent auction. Generous donations from crewmembers made it difficult to decide which items to bid on and inspired some competitive bidding among the members and their wives! I would like to Thank everyone for their generous contributions to the auction. The engraved silver tray from the Durr brothers (New Mexico) brought in the highest bid. Gift baskets, wine, gourmet food items, clothing items, and decorative treasures covered the tables tempting even the shyest bidders.

During the latter part of the buffet dinner a DVD was shown including pictures from days past on the ship, as well as the Thursday night's "meet and greet". Each member was given a copy of the DVD as a keepsake of our reunion. A raffle for a "one free night's stay" at the Clarion Hotel was won by Jim and Ann Bigelow. Jack Feldman made all crewmembers commemorative dog tags and offered to make additional ones for friends and families. I would like to say "Thank You!" to Jack for volunteering his time and equipment. The DJ played a variety of music tempting many of members and their wives or girlfriends out on the dance floor. The evening was filled with fun, food and laughter (does anyone know who locked Arnie in the bathroom and how did he escape?). As the evening wound down, members drifted between tables saying their "goodbyes" in preparation for Sunday's departures. For all of you who could not attend this year, we hope to see you at next year's reunion in Niagara Falls, NY.

For those of you who attend the reunion, pictures can be viewed and/or purchased from Flash Photo. Please visit the following link: photoreflect.com

There isn't much to add but another round of thanks to everyone who helped make this success number ten! David & Roz, and the board members deserve a big bravo zulu, but Joe Cuna and his staff at the Clarion added a lot to this reunion. Joe, a Marine veteran, took a lot of ribbing from the crew, all in fun of course, but dished out plenty himself! He put in the extra 20 mile march just for us in setting up a huge patriotic centerpiece flag display, missing man POW/MIA Rememberance table, and decorated much of our supersized hospitality room, which was also used for our banquet dinner and meet & greet party. Joe surprised us all with the DVD Rosey mentioned above.

This year's meeting minutes can be found here: 2011 Association Meeting Minutes

Our silent auction raised a total of $780.00

This year's attendees: Gus Alegado, James and Carolyn Barnett, Richard and Ann Bigelow, Harold and Vivian Bueker, Jim and Sue Burpo, Bob Coombs, Leon and Carolyn Desaire, Harold Durr, Ernie and Margaret Durr, George and Pat Durtschi, Jack Felman and Mary Ann Kester, Willie and Helen Galace, Bob Haley, Dick and Becky Hamill, Ann Hammonn, Arnie and Arlene Helfrich, Jim and Margie Hopkins, Vincent and Kathy Lechtenberg, Melvyn Metzinger, Greg and Judy Pierceall, Robert and Donna Popma, Mike Redding, Clyde and Linda Roark, Francis and Margie Roark, Joe and Carolyn Rosenberg, Mike and Kathy Shaw, John and Rosalie Strittmatter, Ron and Bobbie Telshaw, Ron and Sharon Tucker, Ed and Janet Ulsas, David and Roz Vicknair, John and Faith Williams. (That's only 31 crew members; who's missing?)

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