Hello to everyone.
I think for the most part we would all agree that it is good to see the year 2020 fade away in the rear-view mirror. 2020 has been a year of unprecedented happenings changing the very nature of our culture and world. As I write this the pages of my calendar are rapidly flipping over into April.
In a normal year, my spring President’s Message would be reporting on our February BOD and General Membership Meeting and Annual Farm Toy/Memorabilia Show and April Swap Meet meeting at the clubhouse. As we navigate 2021 with hope of returning to a sense of normalcy, we know that it will be far from it. Several of our members have suffered from the coronavirus disease. It remains premature to stick our necks out scheduling anything and then scrambling to get word to everyone if cancelled.
As a First Responder I have been blessed to have received both doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. When a good portion of the public receives the vaccine we hope for fewer limited inside gathering restrictions. Another thought that came up while talking with our VP Dick Monkelbaan is that with milder weather coming we might consider meeting outside. A folding head table and each member bringing their lawn chair would work. I believe that with non-essential organizations such as tractor clubs consisting of mostly seniors, some will still be hesitant to come out of hibernation from the safety of their home.
I cannot express how anxious I am to call our next meeting to order. The BOD and I prefer to error on the side of member health safety in attempting to schedule our breakout meeting until the public has an opportunity to get the vaccines. Random phone calls to numerous members reflect they are not yet having vaccines. My hope to gather in spring for a BOD and GM meeting at first president Lew Esten’s plow day weekend utilizing his handsome open barn has just been dashed. Unable to serve food, requiring all to sign in, and talk of requiring to see participants and guests vaccine cards, and those without shots proof of a recent good COVID test is simply too much to ask. Add onto all this the responsibility and liability if following the event folks come down with the coronavirus. In summary Chapter 35 will ride out the pandemic awhile longer. My sights are now aimed at an early summer picnic meeting hosted by member Tom Macauley at his beautiful Mt. Morris, NY farm where we can also view his IH tractors. Once we get something like this under our belt regular meetings will fall into place.
Chapter 35 lost another dear charter member #094 January 25, 2021 when Bob Bell of Perry, NY passed away at age 76. Patty and I paid last respects on behalf of the chapter at the Eaton-Watson Funeral Home January 29, 2021. See my tribute to Bob in our newsletter Farmall Flyer. A well-known farmer and family man may Bob Bell rest in the peace of the Lord. Bob’s nameplate along with Roger Sondericker’s has been waiting here for our next meeting at the clubhouse. So now these two nameplates go onto our new annex plaque hanging directly below the filled original memorial plaque. Gosh can you believe Bob and Roger’s names make 40 active members that have passed away since we organized just 15 years ago? Director Dave Meacham and I were talking recently and agreed the loss of these 40 precious individuals hurt our meeting attendance and committee work because nearly all of them were very actively involved, “Let’s get it done” type members. May they rest in peace as we that remain forge ahead working together.
The cost of gasoline is creeping up again. Once we get rolling with club activities, I hope GA$ prices do not keep IH faithful folks from returning. This coupled with a fear of getting back out into the COVID frightened public could impact attendance across the country. If this is a concern of yours officials are telling us not to be afraid to continue social distancing and wearing of masks.
A call from member #232 Brant Sherlock of Moravia, NY told of the passing of his wife Betty Jean, February 24, 2021 after a brief illness. She and Brant were married 61 years. You may recall that Brant’s claim-to-fame trademark tractor is his 1967 504 Hi Crop. Brant must now adjust to living alone in a place filled with fond family memories. It is a part of life we all must eventually deal with the best we can. Family helps. This is when the kids kick-in and give support and comfort just as we did for them when they were growing up. On behalf of our nearly 200 members, I send our sincere sympathy to Brant and his family as they grieve their loss.
I was recently contacted by our friend Ben Trapani of PA Chapter 17 IH Collectors and asked if I could help him connect with folks who created the popular IH Trivia Night during the last Winter Convention. This project took me back to talks again with Winter Convention Hosts, NC Chapter 42 President John Moon and Neil Fishel. As a result, Chapter 35 will be enjoying this fun experience soon either at meetings or here in Farmall Flyer. All this because of good ole’ networking among chapters, something that is part of our overall IHC organization goals. Stay tuned.
A couple of my IH related stories have been published in magazines this winter, a sure sign of the boredom the pandemic has created. I’ve learned years ago to brace myself for numerous contacts from readers around the country resulting in a pleasant experience like none other usually leading to new friendships. A call from a gentleman by the name of Jim Donald Brown from Iowa out in the heartland of our great country reinforced my belief that our hobby is alive and well. The energy and excitement he demonstrated recharged my batteries causing me to sit back and enjoy his stories and want our club activities to get going ASAP. We can get tunnel vision in our small immediate world and a call like Jim’s causes reality to set in. I really delight in being president of NYS Chapter 35 representing our membership and fielding calls from IH collectors everywhere. Our hobby is as strong as ever as evidenced by networking activity.
As with numerous chapters across the country we have experienced a reduction in members during the past few years. It has been defined as “a sign of the times” by chapter presidents I trade ideas with regularly. Having to resize accordingly we remain determined to have fun as we strive to meet our organization’s true purpose of promoting IH related activity. Your BOD strives to bring a personal touch for our 200 members throughout the state as best we can as the sole chapter in our large state. And so, no matter where you call home in The Empire State, you are not forgotten by our club officials, and far-away members are equally important to us. I welcome your calls and email suggestions for growing the club. Thank you for renewing your membership with our Membership Secretary and Director, Dave Meacham. You know that I belong to some other chapters of IHC, chapters that are a thousand miles away. Never-the-less, by maintaining an active status with them I feel enthusiastic and as excited as belonging to my local chapter.
This writer is a big supporter of a program created by the National IHC called HARVESTER HERITAGE. I know several of our members appreciate this as much as I, but many are unfamiliar with it. I urge you to read about it in the recent issue of Farmall Flyer where you can learn all about it.
Our VP Dick Monkelbaan has been safeguarding our chapter merchandise tent through the pandemic and suggests we get it out of his place by selling it through our next newsletter. The BOD approved its sale last April with a reserve of $300. Details are in Farmall Flyer.
We at the helm of Chapter 35 wish you a very happy and healthy 2021 as we all wave goodbye and good riddance to last year. As previously announced our unopposed director slate and officer positions for 2021 were approved by the BOD and therefor was no need for an election by ballot.
Thank you for your continued admiration of the products and credo of the International Harvester Company and the skill and expertise of the workers they employed and the products they made. Thanks also for your interest in NYS Chapter 35 and the preservation of International Harvester Company and keeping their history alive. Your board wants to express their thanks as we strive to get through the challenges faced by all chapters at this time. FOREVER RED NYS CHAPTER 35!
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