February, 2004 Newsletter

As the Council approaches the second anniversary of our founding, we continue our efforts to provide coordination, financial, and moral support to the Marine units and organizations throughout Oklahoma. This newsletter will bring you up to date on our recent efforts and provide a short summary of upcoming events.

For those of you who may not know, Council member Cecil Lister recently passed away and will be missed by virtually every Marine and veterans organization in the state. Cecil was very active and was always available to anyone who needed help. Cecil was an outstanding Marine and a trusted friend.

Our November 21st Marine Corps birthday luncheon with Brigadier General Terry Robling (standing in for Lieutenant General Jim Conway) was perhaps our best effort so far in terms of location, attendance, and overall success. Thanks again to those financial sponsors of the Iraqi Freedom coins that were such a big hit at the luncheon Ė they provide a special touch for the occasion at no cost to the Council. Our intent from the beginning was to ensure that these luncheons were entirely self-funding and we have tried very hard to keep the price of the tickets as low as we possibly can. Our use of the Pith Helmet at the end of the luncheons has been of tremendous value in ensuring that the luncheon does pay for itself and we deeply appreciate your willingness to ďpitch inĒ each time. With the experience of the past several years behind us, we are finding that these events are becoming much easier to set up.

As you know one of our original intentions was to establish relationships with each of the Marine units and organizations in the state and identify the best way to support them given their individual requirements. During this past year we continued to provide community service awards for each of the reserve units (Broken Arrow and Oklahoma City) and financial support to the Marines at Vance Air Force Base in order to reduce the costs of tickets for their Marine Ball. We also provided financial support for a family night at Broken Arrow prior to the deployment of a detachment of Marines to Iraq. For the second year in a row we provided financial support to purchase the trophies for the Fort Sill Marine Artillery Detachmentís Devil Dog run that helps raise funds for their Marine Corps Ball and we are currently working with the Marines at Fort Sill in the remodeling and updating of the Marine Corner. Support to the Marines and Marine option Midshipmen at the University of Oklahomaís NROTC unit consisted of our paying their way to the birthday luncheon in exchange for their continuing support in helping us conduct the luncheon. Finally, some of our members have contributed a number of OU football and basketball tickets which were passed along to the Marines at Vance, the Recruiting Station, and Fort Sill.

There are several individuals within our membership that the Council is supporting in their efforts to independently assist Marine families or recognize superior performance by Marines. One such effort is providing financial assistance to the mother and father of a former enlisted recruiter who is now at Camp Pendleton preparing to deploy to Iraq. The father is being treated at the VA hospital for cancer and the family is in need of financial support until they can get back on their feet. Another effort is to purchase a Beretta 9mm as the Commandantís Award for the most outstanding Marine or Marine option graduate from the NROTC unit at OU. Major General Hugh Hardy had sponsored this award until he recently passed away. Another recognition program that is independently sponsored provides a $1000 cash award to the Marine or Marine option recipient of the Dan Daly award at OUís NROTC Unit. We believe these exceptional individual efforts deserve our support and recognition.

The Recruiting Stationís recent posting and relief ceremony sent Sergeant Major David Boerst to become a District Sergeant Major and welcomed Sergeant Major Billy Garcia as his relief. Iím sure we will all have a chance to Sergeant Major Garcia in the next few months and welcome him aboard.

Recently the Council was asked to provide financial support to the Young Marine organization under the tutelage of Gunnery Sergeant Adams at the OU NROTC Unit. The Council joined forces with the Sooner Detachment of the Marine Corps League to provide funding for three of the Young Marines to attend leadership camp this summer. This is a great organization being run by GySgt Adams on a totally volunteer basis (not affiliated with the NROTC unit) and its young folks deserve our support.

We recently formed a Presidentís Advisory Committee for the purpose of assisting the Council officers determine the best and most efficient ways to accomplish our stated objectives. This allows more participation on the part of interested Council members and is a valuable source of ideas and support to the officers. The initial members of the Advisory Committee are Gary Lumpkin, Kenny Prewett, Rusty Johnson, Brenda Blair, Phil Norton, Ed Beesley, and Floyd Gilreath. We are delighted that these members have accepted this opportunity and look forward to working with them. If you are interested in this committee, please contact me by phone at 405-364-1090 or by email at oklahomamarines@gmail.com.

We have scheduled our annual meeting for Thursday - 20 May. We have not yet decided on a location, but we will be getting the word out soon on both time and location. Hope you can make it as it will be enjoyable and a great time to see everyone again.

One of our Council goals is to grow our membership by ten new members a year. If you know of someone who would like to join our ranks please get in touch with us. It is important to our long term goals to continue to bring in new members.

We will be conducting our annual membership renewal drive in a couple of months and would like to remind everyone that while donations are not required from Council members, we cannot exist without your generous support.

While your Council Board feels confident that we continue to build on a great start for the Coordinating Council, we also know that whatever success we have is absolutely dependant upon your generous and continued support and contributions. We thank each of you for your outstanding and unselfish contributions. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

Semper Fidelis,  

Phil Hughes

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