Minutes of the February 20, 2010 meeting of the Tampa Chapter SAR

 

President Lloyd called the meeting to order at 12:05. Jack Bolen offered the invocation. John Skillman led the pledge to the flag and the President led the pledge to the SAR.

 

Members present: Jack Bolen, Marty Miller, Allen, Bell, Chuck Copeland, Dick Young, John Sessums, Robert Koehler, Milton Alexander, Ira Ward, John Skillman, Robert Yarnell, and Kevin Yarnell.

 

Welcome guests:

Wives: June Bolen, Jeanne Lloyd, Judy Copeland, Phyllis Ward

Other guests: David Bryant, Charles Kligg, Sarah Boyya and Helen Arnold from Southeast Guide Dogs

 

The President introduced the guests.

 

The minutes of the January meeting were approved.  

 

The Secretary shared a brief antidote regarding a recent order with the SAR merchandise center. In this instance the center responded promptly and somewhat above and beyond the call of duty. He also announced a fundraising golf tournament sponsored by the Army ROTC unit at USF and pointed out that the chapter had begun to receive invitations from local high schools regarding our JROTC awards.

 

Jack Bolen commented positively on the JROTC awards and encouraged members to participate in the presentations at the local high schools.

 

Marty Miller reported that his audit of the chapter books had been successful. He found a few minor errors (dealing mostly with the sometimes inadequate handwriting of the treasurer, but concluded that the books were correct and in order. All the treasurer’s materials were given to our new Treasurer Chuck Copeland who reported a cash balance of $2808.45.

 

Registrar Alan Bell reported that he had received inquiries from two prospective members.

 

As Color Guard Commander, Alan announced a Massing of the Colors, Sunday, March 7th, 2pm. He will meet with the members after the meeting to provide further details. President Lloyd reported that the color guard was asked to present the colors at an event this fall at Sun City.

 

Vice President Bob Yarnell detailed the programs for the next few months. These include the JROTC luncheon in April and a presentation by Jim Schnur in May discussing the situation in Florida prior to the Revolutionary War. More details can be found at the chapter website www.patriot-web.com.

 

President Lloyd offer favorable comments regarding the chapter website and encouraged those not familiar with it to look through it.

 

President Lloyd brought up the issue of awards for members. He was prompted by noticing John Skillman’s service award. He’d like to be sure that those in the chapter are honored for their work. In the spirit of those comments the President presented a Past President’s pin to Alan Bell in appreciation for his service to the chapter.

 

The President proposed that we might devote a few minutes each meeting to allow a member to share a bit of their background and story. Members interested were asked to speak to the president.

 

The meeting recessed for lunch.

 

The President introduced our speaker, Helen Arnold, who spoke on the Southeastern Guide Dogs’ Paws for Patriots program. The facility is located on 23 acres in Manatee County and they one of only 8 United States members of the International Guide Dog Federation.

 

Helen took the audience through the process by which the dogs are trained. The facility breeds and then raises their own dogs. New born pups are isolated from the public but after 6 weeks are moved to a puppy center that is open to the public. This is, of course, popular with the public but it is also good training for the dogs as it exposes them to many situations they will encounter later.

 

After 3 weeks the dogs are given to dog trainers located throughout the country. For a year to 18 months the dog is house broken, taught obedience, and generally socialized. The dogs accompany the trainers on their normal day to day activities. Only the medical expenses are paid for by Southeastern. Everything else is paid for by the trainers. At any one time they will have 250 dogs in training. Helen spoke to the sacrifice that the trainers make when they give up the dog at the end of the training phase.

 

The dog is then returned to Southeastern and the dogs are trained in the specific skills needed to be a guide to a visually impaired person. Helen spoke to the benefit they received from an on-sight veterinarian which was made possible by a recent donation. They next plan to build a veterinary clinic.

 

The next phase is to match the dog with the person needing the animal. The ‘students’ as they are called spend 26 days at the Palmetto facility where they learn to work with the dog under the supervision of an experience trainer. Some of this training is done on site but the team of student and dog also goes to malls and other public places to better simulate life experiences

 

Southeaster maintains contact with the teams (person & dog) throughout the life of the dog.

 

Not all dogs are suitable for guide dogs and those identified as such are then trained for other roles – police work: drug dogs, arson dogs, etc. Other dogs work as therapy dogs. Helen detailed several examples where a dog was of benefit to children, autistic, or other challenged individuals.

 

Helen then discussed the Paws for Patriots program. She related a story where a dog was provided to a soldier with severe post traumatic stress syndrome. Since 2005 the program has serviced 10-15 veterans. Four are from this area.

 

The animal is a $60,000 investment over the life of the dog. The dog, training and follow-up is provided at no cost to the recipient.

 

A short video was shown to the membership that detailed the story of a woman who lost her sight as a result of her tour in Iraq.

 

Questions followed.

 

Kevin won the 50/50. The treasury was enriched by $9.00.

 

The President announced that we will have two school participating in the poster contest this year. Each school will be submitting their three best entries and these will be on hand at the March meeting for members to judge.

 

The President led the recessional, Jack Bolen gave the benediction, and the meeting adjourned at 2:07pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary