by Ira M. Watkins
I would like to take this opportunity to say farewell and extend my sincere appreciation for having had the privilege of serving as the Chapter President for the last two years.
At our next Board of Directors (BOD) meeting on 5 January, I shall pass the gavel to newly elected Chapter President Colonel (Ret) Richard “Rich” Underwood. A swearing in ceremony for the president-elect and officers will be conducted at the conclusion of the BOD meeting. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance is restricted to only BOD members.
Rich is an accomplished leader, and I am confident that he will exert quality leadership that will result in sustain successes for the Chapter regardless of the challenges. He will be supported by the elected BOD members who have a superb record of making the objectives of the Chapter a priority, and who will work tirelessly to ensure the achievement of Chapter objectives.
My experience as the Chapter President was fulfilling and memorable. It was a learning experience to see first hand the continuing efforts of the North Carolina Council of Chapters in advocating state legislation that will enhance the quality of life for the military community in North Carolina.
Even more fulfilling and memorable, was the opportunity to witness the generosity of chapter members in supporting our membership goals, fund raising efforts and programs. Each of you are unbelievably valuable to the success and relevancy of the Chapter. Your contributions whether big or small have made a lasting impact on the Chapter’s capabilities. I thank each of you for your membership and generosity toward helping others within our community during my tenure as Chapter President.
To the BOD members whom I had the opportunity to interact with over the past two years, there are insufficient words to express my appreciation for the commitment and work that you exhibited to ensure tasks and objectives were accomplished in a superior and timely manner. I am exceptionally proud of the flexibility and patience demonstrated by BOD members during the pandemic. As a result, efforts to conduct the business of the Chapter and meet Chapter objectives were not adversely impacted.
Finally, I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to communicate with our surviving spouses on a regular basis. I learned through that interaction that they are a unique and resilient group. They have earned a special place in my heart for the support that they provided to their spouses and their continue service to the community.
In closing, I want to convey my best wishes to Rich and the BOD for success in the new year. To enhance that success requires all of us to unite behind them and for more of our members to volunteer their services. Let us move forward together, look out for each other, make the best of the days the new year has to offer, and take advantage of all opportunities to exemplify our motto of “Never Stop Serving.” Stay Healthy, Stay Safe and Stay Connected.