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


President Lloyd called the meeting to order at 12:07. Jack Bolen offered the invocation. The president led the pledge to the flag and the pledge to the SAR.


Members present: Jack Bolen, Cy Gamber Marty Miller, Allen, Bell, Chuck Copeland, John Sessums, Chuck Hawley, Terrell Sessums, Robert Koehler, Ed Neugaard, John Skillman, Bill Floyd, Robert Yarnell, and Kevin Yarnell.


Welcome guests:

Wives: June Bolen, Judy Copeland

Other guests: Charles Klug, a prospective member; Captain Tracy MacDonald, his wife Jennifer and daughter Vickie.


The President introduced the guests.


The minutes of the February meeting were approved.  


The secretary took a moment to review next month’s JROTC luncheon including the seating arrangements and paying for the cadets lunches.


Chuck Copeland, our treasurer, reported net income for the month of $154.33 and a balance of $2,975.89.


Registrar Alan Bell reported, as Color Guard Commander, the group’s participation in the 29th Annual Massing of the Colors, on Sunday, March 7th. President Lloyd complimented the group on their participation and encouraged more of these activities.


President Lloyd returned to the issue of awards for members and asked for a volunteer to do the necessary research.


A member suggested to Luke that we might purchase additional flags from other eras in our history. In the discussion that followed a member observed that smaller flags that could be displayed on the head table might be easier from a logistical standpoint. John Skillman will visit Heads Flag and see what is available.


Jack Bolen shared a bit of his background and personal story as part of an effort each meeting to get to better know our fellow members. Other members willing to share at future meetings are asked to speak to the President.


The President reported that neither of the schools we had contacted decided to participate in the Elementary School Poster contest. We’ll need to consider expanding our reach to other schools next year.


Vice President Yarnell gave a brief report on a state law currently under consideration in the legislature. The bill would require a civics course in the middle school curriculum and students would be required to pass the course in order to matriculate into high school. The House has passed the measure and will be taken up by the Senate in the coming weeks.


The meeting recessed for lunch.


Luke introduced the Vice President who introduced our speaker and honoree, Tracy MacDonald. Captain MacDonald is a 23 year veteran of the Hillsborough County Fire Department. He was educated locally having graduated from Hillsborough Community College Fire School. The Captain has spent 15 years on the search and rescue team special operations and took part in the aftermath of both Charlie and Katrina. He is stationed off Falkenburg Rd. in Brandon at station 33.


Captain MacDonald took the floor and related the story of a rescue he performed regarding an elderly lady who drove her car into a pond. The captain observed that this was a case of being in the right place at the right time. After returning from a call Captain MacDonald went to retrieve an item from his car and from that vantage point observed a car drive into the pond. After alerting his team he ran to the car and found a woman who seemed physically alright but was clearly panicked. He was unable to open the door at first but was able to break the glass after receiving a tool from his team that had reached the scene. As the water continued to rise the Captain, still unable to open the door, opted to try to pull the woman through the window. Just as he was about to try this, the door opened and he was able to remove the woman just minutes before the car submerged.


As it turned out the woman was the mother in law of one of the firemen working at the Falkenburg station. The Captain found out later that she had a great fear of water which explained her hysteria. He also pointed out how many things worked out to allow for the successful rescue. First the course taken by the car from the road to the pond was impeded by several trees, a fire hydrant and light poles. The chances of the car not hitting one of these obstacles was small. Second, the significant amount of training by the crew played a key role. While not specifically trained in water rescue, the crew was able to respond with the correct assistance in a timely manner.


Questions followed by the membership allowing the Captain to explain some of the current issues and procedures in effect in Hillsborough County. He also related some of his assignment to Mississippi following hurricane Katrina.


President Lloyd presented the Captain with the SAR Heroism award.


Bob won the 50/50. The treasury was enriched by $7.00.


The President led the recessional, Jack Bolen gave the benediction, and the meeting adjourned at 1:37pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary