Washtenaw's 2012 Reunion

Niagara Falls 2012 continued our long string of great reunions! This year's reunion review comes once again from our association secretary, Joe (Rosey) Rosenberg:

USS Washtenaw County Veterans Association 2012 Reunion – Niagara Falls, New York

The reunion in Niagara Falls kicked off with shipmates gathering in the hospitality room at the Sheraton at the Falls Hotel. Approximately 35 shipmates along with their wives or girlfriends traveled from many US points to meet for our annual reunion. Six of these shipmates were attending for the first time. Stories came to life as shipmates recalled sea stories from their years aboard the LST1166. Pictures, mostly black and white, captured the young faces of the sailors from earlier times in faraway places. Thanks to modern day technology, many images were now on DVD’s which were shown as well.

On Thursday a large group ventured out to the falls to ride the “Maid of the Mist” boat. Wearing the blue ponchos that were provided, the attendees cruised to the base of the American Falls, then to the basin of the commanding Horseshoe Falls, where they were confronted by millions of gallons of water crashing like thunder into the rocks nearby. To say the least, we all got a little bit wet! Those who ventured to the bow of the boat got a lot wet! And, there were a few brave ones who climbed the stairs to embrace the wind and the spray from the waterfalls. Groups of shipmates traveled into Canada to view the falls from the Canadian vantage point, shop or ride the Ferris wheel.

In the evening, we all gathered for the official “meet n greet” cocktail party. There were “buffalo” New York style wings along with roast beef, pizza, pasta salad, vegetable dip among the buffet selections. Mini cheese cakes came in different flavors for dessert. The food was plentiful and the lines were short. Conversations continued into the evening with shipmates sharing sea stories and reunion memories.

Friday provided another day for sightseeing adventures. A good sized group headed out to Lockport to cruise the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal utilizes locks to raise and lower boats to overcome the 49 foot tall Niagara Escarpment – the same formation that forms Niagara Falls. Some of the shipmates recalled a similar naval experience when they traveled the Panama Canal. Several locals recommended a restaurant, Shamus, where one could order “beef on weck”, a local favorite. Smaller groups spent their day visiting other memorable sites such as Old Fort Niagara, wineries or Lake Niagara. And at the end of the day, the hotel was located directly across from the Seneca Niagara Indian Casino for their all-you-can-eat buffet and gambling facilities.

On Saturday groups ventured out once again, but returned by 1600 for the “all hands meeting”. See the attached minutes for the meeting information. At 1800 the group met in the Sapphire Room for the silent auction and banquet dinner. A big, THANK YOU goes out to all the shipmates and their significant others for their generous donations and bids at the auction. There were gift baskets filled with wines or gourmet foods, liqueurs, clothing items, jewelry, collectible coins and spoons, candy, and LST1166 bumper stickers to name just a few. The auction was huge success netting over $800.00.

After the buffet dinner, the DJ kicked into high gear. From line dancing to the Cuban shuffle, there was something for everyone. The dance floor saw a continual flow of couples, and of course the girls had to dance to, “New York, New York” in Broadway style. Jim Hopkins along with Roz Vicknair surprised David Vicknair with a special birthday cake while the DJ played the Beatles version of “Happy Birthday”! It was a great end to the reunion as many who had early departures said their goodbyes.

We owe Jim and Marge Hopkins a round of thanks for hosting our 2012 reunion. We also owe our board members, and everyone else involved in helping with the reunion, a bravo zulu.

This year's meeting minutes can be found here: 2012 Association Meeting Minutes

This year's attendees:
Gus and Mary Alegado, Felicito and Nattie Bayson, Richard and Ann Bigelow, Jay Brown, Harold and Vivian Bueker, Carlos and Kim Campos, Bob Coombs, George and Pat Durtschi, Jack Felman and Mary Ann Kester, George and Brenda Freeman, Arnie and Arlene Helfrich, Jim and Margie Hopkins, Witold and Darlene Jaroszewicz, Homer and Patsy Jewell, Mike and Rosalina Kasten, Richard and Helen Leonhardt, Dan and Pai Lien McNamara, Melvyn Metzinger, Leslie and Marjorie Morton, Robert and Gwen Peiffer, Greg and Judy Pierceall, Robert and Donna Popma, Paul and Patty Roberge, Joe and Carolyn Rosenberg, Mike and Kathy Shaw, Robert Simpson, John and Rosalie Strittmatter, Ron and Bobbie Telshaw, Ron and Sharon Tucker, David and Roz Vicknair, Gary and Jackie Williamson, John and Faith Williams.

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