Griffon Association Successful in 2016

04/18/2017   By Gen. (Retired) Skip McCartney
 

The Griffon Association is happy with another successful year. However, I can’t help but repeat that as our membership ages, in order for the association to continue its good works over the long term, the association needs more help from both retirees and current Soldiers in the form of active memberships. To get back up in the 300 plus members we had eight to nine years ago, we initiated some plans in the last couple of years to positively affect that, which have brought some small results but still not at the level we need.

We have kept pace with our membership gains and losses but not gained much overall. Currently, we have 132 life members and 45 yearly members, plus one honorary member for a total of 178 as of December, 2016. I ask each of you who must have several friends who are eligible for membership, to contact them, encourage them to join and send them a copy of the membership application, which CSM Joe Winchester will send out to you with the picnic letter or they can join on the website, www.108thgriffonassoc.com. Annual membership is only $10. This is a small sum for anyone and the organization needs the support to keep up its good works. You can also become a life member for only $108. Thanks for the help in this vital area.

In 2016, our motto of “Be a Patriot, Help a Soldier” was certainly followed as you will see later in this summary with the donations we made and scholarships we gave. Helping Soldiers and Families in need and Veterans who have served in the past is really an ongoing service that started when we all first swore our oath. Membership and participation in the association is an easy and good way to give back even if you live a long way from Charlotte.

In 2015, as a result of our 5th Annual Soldiers and Families golf tournament, we raised $12,994.45 benefiting Soldiers and families, which was not our best year ever but certainly respectable. During 2016, your board distributed much of that money, plus some small amount left over from 2014 for what they determined were worthy causes and to benefit soldiers and families.

In 2016, we received seven scholarship applications. That was not as many as 2015 but the overall quality was wonderful. It was so good in fact that the scholarship committee (Lin Ingram, Chaplain Brian Donley and Bob Gwaltney) again had a hard time deciding among them on an order of merit list but recommended we try to give something to all and even increase our amounts if we could. We ended up dividing the applicants into two groups with the top group receiving $1,500 each, and the other group receiving $1,000 each for a total of $8500, which was the same amount we gave to 11 winners in 2015. Again, we were very pleased that we received applications from and picked winners across the Training Command as well as Griffon Association family members.

In addition to our scholarships process, we received and approved an application from a Soldier who had been injured in the line of duty. Because of delays in paperwork processing she was not receiving line of duty payments. Since she had difficulty working, she had bills going unpaid, which put financial strains on her family. We distributed $1,800 to this Soldier at her request, which was successful in tiding her over, until her financial situation stabilized and she began receiving line of duty payments.

In addition to these individual payments, we also recommitted to several groups, which we felt were carrying on great work on behalf of Soldiers and Veterans and who we wanted to support. We gave $500 to Purple Heart Homes, which is a Statesville, North Carolina based non-profit, which helps disabled Soldiers acquire new homes or remodel existing homes to accommodate their individual needs for handicapped accessible housing. We also provided $500 to Veterans Restoration Quarters, an Asheville, North Carolina based non-profit, which working through ABC Christian Ministry provides job training, housing and counseling and drug/alcohol treatment (as necessary) for homeless Veterans from across North Carolina. We also gave $500 to the Iredell County American Legion for Veterans Services and $500 to the Charlotte USO location at the Charlotte airport, which serves thousands of service members each year. Lastly, we contributed the amount of $1,500 to the Freedom and Hope Foundation, a South Carolina non-profit, which provides free overnight hunting trips to wounded warriors.

In April, 2016, around 40 Griffon Association members and guests attended the annual picnic held at Weston Lake picnic area, right next to Ft. Jackson, SC, the 108th’s second home for over 50 years. We were very fortunate to have a briefing from the Ft. Jackson CG detailing changes ongoing at Ft. Jackson and how the 108th and its subordinate units fit into Ft. Jackson’s current and future plans for supporting American’s largest basic training effort. The group also enjoyed a huge barbecue lunch with all the trimmings. Those attending agreed that both the food and the briefing was the best we had received in recent years.

The Association originally scheduled its 6th Annual Soldiers’ and Families’ Golf Tournament for the 26th of September; however, torrential rains that morning literally put the course under water and cancelled the tournament. Fortunately we were able to reschedule the tournament for October 24th at Pine Island Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, the same course that has hosted us since the beginning.

With the help of solicitations by employees of Knight Communications, publisher of The Griffon, and after months of work by members of the Board and other Association members, who obtained sponsors, donors and golfers, volunteers from the Association joined together to host close to 90 golfers (we started with our largest field ever until the postponed date did not work for a few foursomes). This time the weather cooperated, all had a wonderful time and we got some great news coverage in the fall issue of the Griffon. The 208th Army Band provided military music during registration and played the National Anthem and the Army Song as the Colors were presented by the Statesville High School Junior ROTC Color Guard.

As happens every year of the tournament, golfers were treated to a box lunch, dinner after the round and numerous opportunities on the course to win prizes provided by sponsors to include closest to the pin on par 3s, longest drive for men and women, winning a car and a golf cart for a hole in one on two of the par 3s as well as prizes at the end for two net flights for 1st, 2nd and last place. Golfers opened their wallets again to buy mulligans and red tees, participated in a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction, which contributed not only to the fun but the fund for Soldiers and Families.

All this hard work, fun and generosity resulted in $13,187.60 net being raised by the Association for support of Soldiers and Families from across the 108th Training Command spectrum, including Soldiers and Families from the 95th, 98th and 104th subordinate Divisions. The association is very pleased to be able to provide needed resources for Soldiers and Families trying to take advantage of educational opportunities, funds for Families under financial stress as a result of a Soldier’s deployment, funds for financial assistance to Soldiers who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty, support for Family Support activities such as funds for Care Packages and phone cards to deployed Soldiers and support for other charitable organizations who support Soldiers and Veterans.

Your board met recently and scheduled the spring picnic for Saturday 29 April 2017. We will have the picnic again at Weston Lake adjacent to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, a place which should be well known to all. In addition to a good meal and reacquainting with old friends, we hope to have a presentation from the Training Command G-3 and/or a representative from Ft. Jackson. Please place the event on your calendar and make plans to attend with family and bring a new member too. We will get out more information on the picnic to the membership shortly.

We are also looking forward to another Reconnect event at Ft. Jackson sometime in the spring and/or fall, which is sponsored by the South Carolina American Legion. We will not know the exact date until a few weeks in advance but will let everyone know as soon as we know. For those who have attended in the past, this is a great opportunity to re-visit the 108th’s second home.

Our Seventh Annual Golf Tournament will take place on the 25th of September, 2017. For you golfers, who have not been able to attend in the past, please plan to bring a team this year and we always need some help from non-golfers for registration etc. For those of you who participated in 2016, we thank you and look forward to seeing you again in 2017.

Lastly, we added a couple of events to the schedule in 2013. Since then, members of the association have attended as guests at the Carolinas Freedom Foundation’s Freedom Breakfast in Charlotte in conjunction with Veterans’ Day. We did not march in the Charlotte Veterans’ Day parade this past year, but hope to have a contingent involved this year — let me know if you are interested in either event. As an extra benefit, you will get to see Tom Phlegar lead the parade with his leggings and tri-corner hat, while playing his drums with the Revolutionary War color guard. Those two events take place in 2017, on the 13th (Breakfast) and 11th (Parade) of November and we hope to have increased participation among our members in the Charlotte area.

As I started this summary, I will also again end on an appeal for your help in getting more members signed up among your friends and acquaintances. Thanks for everyone’s continuing support. Hooah!!

Seventh Annual Golf Tournament

25th of September, 2017

For you golfers, who have not been able to attend in the past, please plan to bring a team this year and we always need some help from non-golfers for registration etc. For those of you who participated in 2016, we thank you and look forward to seeing you again in 2017.

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The Griffon Spring 2017

Vol. 41.1 | Spring 2017

The Griffon
The Griffon is written and published quarterly in the interest of the 108th National Training Command.
 






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