• Jim Ratti, '82

40th Reunion Update - 13 Oct 2021

This update is from Deb & Miles Kirkhuff:

USAFA Class 1982 - 40th Class Reunion

UPDATE #2

(as of 11/1000 Oct 21)


CURRENT STATUS. I’m sure many are wondering what the latest is on our 40th class reunion scheduled for the fall of 2022. I wish I could provide you dates but unfortunately reunion weekends are dependent upon the Mountain West Football schedule and which weekends the Academy & AOG designate as reunion weekends. This process normally occurs in the last week in Feb or early March.


PLANNING PROCESS

As you know, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on AFA class reunions for 2020. Some classes canceled and others moved to 2021. The AOG is supporting 17 class reunions this fall in conjunction with a contractor called Armed Forces Reunion Inc (AFRI) AFR Awarded USAF Academy Class Reunions Contract - Armed Forces Reunions Incorporated. According to an article, the AOG contracted with AFRI this past Apr. AFRI only does military reunions, both large and small. If you're interested in finding more about them, just click the link above. The AOG will be evaluating the reunion planning and execution process this year, and is in a wait and see mode regarding how it might affect reunion planning for 2022. With that said, we will be taking a two pronged approach to planning. One approach will be similar to previous reunions and the second will follow what we currently know about the process with the AOG and AFRI.


BILLETING

Our Hotel POCs (Dutch Masters and Tom LaValley) have been hard at work checking out the local hotels near the Academy. We established a set of basic requirements for a host hotel based on class feedback from past reunions. Once we collect data on all the hotels, we can then evaluate each one based on our established criteria. Some of the characteristics they are looking at include: distance from the Academy; size of banquet rooms; room rates; estimated room blocks; additional meeting rooms; and available parking. The goal is to select a hotel that meets the majority of the class needs. We anticipate having our top three hotels identified by mid-January.


REUNION COMMITTEE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

We’ve started to populate the reunion committee positions but still have several open. Please let me know if you would like to volunteer or if you would like additional information about certain positions.


1) Squadron Reps (Doolie & Grad). We are still looking for volunteers to step up as Squadron Reps for both Doolie and Grad squadrons. Even if you don’t know at this time if you are going to be able to attend the reunion, you can still help by establishing a line of communications within each squadron. We will provide you with a contact list specific to your squadron so you can start contacting squadron members and track down the MIAs. We are aware that, for various reasons, some classmates choose not to have their contact information made public and we respect that. Our intent with the squadron rep is not just for reunion purposes but to offer an avenue for those classmates to be able to connect with former squadron classmates in a non-public forum and if they choose, to receive class/AFA information and still not have their contact information made public. The communications would be between the squadron rep and the individual squadron member.


Volunteering as a squadron rep doesn’t obligate you to host a squadron mini reunion during the class reunion - the main purpose is to facilitate information flow at the squadron level and provide a means to strengthen ties between old classmates.


2) Merchandise. Research and provide a recommendation on the differences between using Cole Products and some other source (e.g. Lands End) for our class merchandise. Also research the feasibility/demand for items to include in the registration Swag Bags.

3) Gone But Not Forgotten (GBNF): Daryl "Bones" and Martha Jones are leading the coordination efforts, but they would love to hear feedback from each of you (keep doing; stop doing; here are some suggestions, etc.) The only desire is to honor the legacy of our GBNF classmates.

a) GBNF Liaison Lead. Tasked to locate volunteers to act as GBNF Family

Liaisons, track and maintain information pertaining to class GBNF Families and Family Liaisons. During class reunions, if no assigned GBNF Family Liaison is present at the class reunion, The GBNF Liaison Lead will attempt to locate a volunteer to act as GBNF Reunion Liaison on behalf of the assigned GBNF Family Liaison. Maintain contact information pertaining to GBNF Spouses/Families and rosters of GBNF Family Liaisons. Keep GBNF-FL’s updated with current information to disseminate to Spouses/ Family. Send contact GBNF Leads contact information to the Communications Director to include into the class web site for continuity and contact purposes for Families/Spouses. Once notified by Director GBNF (Martha & Daryl Jones) / Communications Director (Jim Ratti) of a recent GBNF, assign a GBNF-FL to the new spouse/family.

b) GBNF Family Liaison - (GBNF-FL). This individual is specifically assigned to a spouse or family based on familiarity with the family/spouse, friend or former squadron member, if possible. They would be a conduit for anything related to the class, class reunion or USAFA. Based on the relationship of the Liaison and the spouse/family, they would establish the necessary frequency of contact and type information flow. They would maintain current spouse/family contact information. Keep GBNF Liaison Lead updated on Family/Spouse contact information. The Liaison will also determine from the family/spouse the extent they wish to want their personal information public or whether or not they only want contact through the Liaison. If the GBNF-FL is unable to attend the reunion, the GBNF Liaison Lead should assign a replacement Liaison (GBNF Reunion Liaison) for the Family/Spouse.

c) GBNF Reunion Support - (GBNF-RS). This individual would act in the place of the GBNF Family Liaison during the time period of the reunion. Close support between the GBNF Family Liaison and the GBNF Reunion Support is critical to ensure seamless support. GBNF liaisons for GBNF families (contact GBNF families when Jim Ratti receives notification from the Association of Graduates; help collect pictures & items needed for memorial service video; Inform the families of reunion activities; escort GBNF families or find a substitute during the reunion especially for the memorial service).

d) GBNF Assistant Coordinator

e) Memorial Service brochure (Printed/ digital?)

f) Memorial Service location representative

g) Memorial Service choir or Chorale coordinator

For any questions regarding GBNF positions please contact Martha and Daryl Jones at bonesandSJ@msn.com

4) R.E.D. (Reflection, Encouragement, and Devotion).


5) Class Banquet & Reception


6) Non-Academy Activities


7) ‘82 Women’s Event


8) Speciality Mini Reunions


  1. Parachute Team Mini Reunion

  2. Soaring IP Mini Reunion

  3. Wings of Blue Mini Reunion

  4. Prep School (Included in AOG Master schedule)


9) Jack’s Valley (not sure it will happen but we can certainly look into the possibility)


10) Assistant Website Master. We need someone who is willing to help update the class website with reunion info. This person won’t be responsible for the entire website - only the class reunion portion. Familiarity with the Wix web-based editing platform would be ideal, but anyone with basic web and word processing skills can pick it up fairly easily. Jim Ratti will show you how the process works and guide you along the way. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Jim directly at rattijm@mindspring.com or at (937) 760-2333.


COST OF ATTENDANCE. This has always been a delicate question to answer. As far as the cost to attend, reunions have never been inexpensive events. The cost ultimately depends on how many days you plan on staying, how many and which events you choose. Although there are basic fees that the AOG levies upon each person who registers for a reunion, for the most part, it’s up to you how you choose to spend your money. I have reviewed all 17 reunion registration websites for the 2021 reunions. I looked at basic registration fees (some included registration gifts), room costs, banquets, receptions, golf, lunch at Mitchell Hall, football game and tailgate and a few other class-specific items. The average cost (not including individual travel) among the 17 classes having reunions in 2021 ranges from about $475 - $630 per person. To lessen the sting of the cost you might want to consider starting to put money aside now. The costs might seem more than you would normally spend on a family trip, but this is our 40th Reunion, a significant point in our lives. Most of us are still very active and are able to enjoy life to its fullest. If we wait until our 45th reunion, we will quickly run out of Senior Citizen parking slots.


COVID 19 IMPACTS (2021) REUNIONS. In the next update we will provide feedback we received from the classes that had or are having their reunion this fall and the impact COVID-19 might have had on their reunion at the hotels and on the Academy.


SUMMARY. Please let us know if you want to volunteer for any of the positions above. Again, if you need additional information just send an email or text. I will take phone calls but I generally don’t answer numbers that I'm not familiar with (I don’t need an extended car warranty). Just leave a short message and I will get back to you. Any and all questions are welcome concerning the reunion. If I don’t have the answer, I will get you one.


Remember, the estimated cost might seem expensive, but if you try to spread it out on a monthly basis ($45-$60/pp) then it might seem more palatable to the pocket book. We only have our 40th once! It is a major milestone in our lives and we are not getting any younger. You accepted the challenge to get off the “bus” when you first arrived back in June 1978, no sense stopping now. Please plan on joining your fellow classmates at what we hope will be a memorial event.


Miles & Deb


USAFA Class 1982

Reunion Leads


MDKirkhuff3@gmail.com

719-659-6665


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