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Reconnect, Reminisce, Celebrate

Written by Grey Webb, August 2012.

The long hot summer is quickly coming to an end and our annual GMSAA reunion, believe it or not, is just around the corner. As you know this October, we will be celebrating Two Hundred Years of Education in Lewisburg. In my opinion Greenbrier Military School played the most significant chapter in that 200 year history. We gather this year to celebrate that role. As Herb Pearis is apt to say: “Something important happened here.”

The fact that so many of us return every year to reconnect, reminisce and celebrate our shared experiences is proof that Greenbrier Military School played a very significant part in our early lives. Those few minutes every October on the front formation court at Retreat seems to set the stage for another great weekend. Stories retold of mischievous pranks, memories of football games played on a cool crisp Saturday afternoon, or just seeing an old friend for the first time in 40 years, are just a few of the things that make the third weekend of October in Lewisburg special.

Our common experience at GMS bonds us and we recall those memories in a blink of an eye. Mention Kiwi shoe polish and we quickly bring to mind that peculiar combination of aromas with Brasso; think demerits and we all recall the beat; hear gig line and we instantly arrange our belts. So much of our life as cadets at Greenbrier was the same as those who came before and after us, making it easy to relate with others at our reunions.

For those attending our GMSAA reunion this October for the first time, you will notice changes to the old ‘Brier Campus. Of course the main building stands with it’s dignified entrance as it has for over nighty years. However, the upper drill field is now the site of new and modern multi-use buildings that have been built to facilitate the ever growing student body of The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM). Where once young uniformed GMS Cadets formed for Retreat or stood at attention for Sunday Dress Parades, now young energetic medical students stroll the campus. Education in Lewisburg, WV continues it’s 200 year tradition.

Our old campus may have changed, but not the memories. The term “Greenbrier Spirit” is often heard at our reunions. I’m not sure what that means exactly. If you ask, I’m sure you will not receive the same answer from any two alumni. As with most alumni, it’s a personal thing. After these many years, the connections we make are more important to us; they seem more meaningful. GMSAA reunions provide that connection to our shared past. Please use this special occasion to attend and find out for yourself what the “Greenbrier Spirit” means to you.

One last thing. Herb always says that, “We do church the best.” Let me personally invite you to attend the Sunday morning church service at the Old Stone Presbyterian Church. Without a doubt, it will lift your Spirit and send you off wanting to return the following year. Can I get an Amen?

--Grey Webb

Holiday Greetings from Grey Webb

As this is my first President’s Message I would like to thank, first, the Board of Directors for placing their confidence in me and allowing me to serve this great Association. Second, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding accomplishments of Duke Schneider. His stewardship and leadership has secured the future for our Association. His steady hand and vision for GMSAA has given me a positive example to follow. I’m sure all will agree with me that Duke truly represents the Greenbrier Military School Spirit.

Congratulations to our new Board of Directors: Calvin Garvin ’65, Ken Lewis ’57, Lee Martin ’64, and Perry Woodside ’64. They join our board for a five year term and I look forward to their support, advice and counsel. Leaving the board after serving their five year term are: Barney Burks, Jim Downer ’71, James “Deak” Roberts. We are grateful to these gentlemen for their valuable time and experience. If you are interested in serving on our Board, please contact Herb. We’re continually looking for those alumni who want to help oversee and guide the work of GMSAA.

This coming October will mark a milestone in the history of GMSAA. From the founding of the Brick Academy by Dr. John McElhenney, the forerunner of Greenbrier Military School in 1812, there has been an institution of learning in Lewisburg for 200 years. Although it has been 40 years since that sad day when Greenbrier closed, the fact that there still exists an active and committed alumni association is remarkable. The hard work of those alumni members in reviving our group should not be overlooked. Like Phoenix rising from the ashes, our Association has not only grown but flourished.

Our accomplishments are many. We’ve grown from a small group of alumni meeting in October to rekindle old friendships and recount stories (and possibly a few fibs) to a well structured association with over 2000 alumni and family on our mailing list. Our museum is furnished with memorabilia that defines our experience at the ‘Brier. The memorial park provides a fitting and sanctified place for those alumni who lost their lives defending our nation. We’ve funded thousands of dollars in scholarships to well deserving medical students at WVSOM. Our new web site has been recently updated and made more user-friendly and our biannual Alumni Record provides that personal connection that keeps us informed.

The future of GMSAA is bright. Our Greenbrier Leadership Institute is in its fourth year and is expanding to other venues in West Virginia. (Please read about our matching grant elsewhere in this issue of the Alumni Record) The GLI Program is truly becoming the living legacy we had envisioned, providing the youth of West Virginia with resources which promote character and leadership development, established on the GMS values of truth, duty and honor.

As I mentioned, our web site is new and improved. If you haven’t had the chance to visit, please do so. The sort capabilities have been greatly enhanced allowing you to find old classmates much easier. Let me also remind you while visiting the web site, to click on ‘The Cadet Store’ tab. If you haven’t seen the great selection of GMS items available, I think you’ll be surprised. Jim Downer has done an outstanding job of maintaining the store and now with the convenience of PayPAL, shopping is much more convenient. All profits help offset our operating costs and shipping is FREE.

We are looking forward to seeing you for this year’s special reunion. Plans are in the works for a great weekend. If you haven’t been to a GMSAA reunion or haven’t been back for several years, make sure you plan to attend this October, 18-21. From what I hear, rooms are going fast in Lewisburg. Phil McLaughlin has set aside a number of rooms at a special rate at the Greenbrier Hotel. Make sure you mention GMSAA when making your reservation.

Grey Webb

Greenbrier Leadership Institute Challenge 2011-2012

During the past four years, your Greenbrier Leadership Institute (GLI) of the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association achieved considerable growth in its mission to pass on the leadership qualities and traits we learned as cadets. When the last retreat formation is held for our alumni, the only thing remaining with real staying power will be the legacy of leadership, we leave behind for future generations of young people.

Our goal is to build and expand the GLI to a point, which will put it on a path to sustainability and growth. When we were in Lewisburg this past October, we were invited to have lunch with Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier Hotel and GMS Alumnus, to discuss the GLI and the benefits it provides to the students of Greenbrier County. He recognized the value of our principle based leadership program and wanted us to expand it within Greenbrier County . He issued a challenge to the alumni of our GMSAA. He will provide $75,000 a yeart for three years to expand the GLI program within the Greenbrier County School System if the GMS Alumni will match his offer.

This is a unique opportunity to permamently establish and expand our leadership program as a lasting tribute to Greenbrier Military School, while providing a needed sevice to the youth of West Virginia. Please contribute as much as possible. so we can reach our goal of $75,000 for each of the next three years. Our first year campaigh begins now and will end on 1 September 2012

Beaman Cummings '63
Executive Director GLI

GMS Reunion Article in WVSOM Newsletter


Posted in: Oct. 19, 2011 - Vol 18, Issue 34
WVSOM Newscenter Campus and Community News

Greenbrier Military School alumni returned to Lewisburg Oct. 13-16 for an annual reunion. Some weekend events included leadership classes for students in Greenbrier County schools, a flag ceremony in front of the main building, dinner/dance at the alumni center and a Sunday service at Old Stone Presbyterian Church.
About 125 alumni and their guests attended the reunion activities throughout the weekend.
Soham Dave and Adele Plazak were recognized during the reunion for scholarships they received from the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association.

Images Needed for Photo Gallery!

GMSAA is in need of your photographic skills, well maybe your parent's photographic skills. We are adding a new photographic gallery to the website and need you to send us your photographs. The gallery will be broken down into the following categories:

• Reunions,
• Formal Balls and Informal Dances,
• Athletics: Varsity and Intramural Sports,
• Parades, Drills and Military Events,
• General Cadet Life and Goofing Around (not that we ever did that),
• Miscellaneous,
• Plus, we need some pictures of Cadets with Family and Friends at and around GMS.

If you have photographs you would like to share and have access to a scanner, scan your photographs at high quality, full resolution JPEGs, original size, or you can scan at 300 dpi, TIFFs, also original size. Email them, with the information noted below, to:

Please add a brief caption of what the photo is about and most importantly who is in the photo.

When you send these include your name and a note stating these are your photographs and you give permission to the GMSAA to use these photos on the website.

Or, if you would rather send us the original photographs (but will take an extremely long time to post on the website), please send those to:

GMS Alumni Association
P.O.Box 922
Lewisburg, West Virginia 24901

Thank you for your help,
Mike Ruth, Class of '69

Cadet Store Now Online!

As of last week, the GMSAA Cadet Store is now online, which you will see a link above in the MAIN menu bar. Select that link to go to the store. The Cadet Store is very easy to navigate and there are many search options available using the menu on the left side of the store's main screen.

For example: if you enter the word GOLF in the search field above the Store's main window and press 'GO' your search will retrieve only items that relate to golf. If you select "Apparel and Fabrics" under the Categories menu of the left side of the window, and then enter GOLF in the search field, only apparel relating to GOLF will be displayed.

After selecting items from the store and adding them to your cart (you can continue shopping after each selection) you can view your cart in two ways, 1) in the upper left corner of the Cadet Store Menu click on the words 'Shopping cart' or 2) select 'View cart' in the same window. Your items and a description of your items will be displayed.

You can proceed and checkout by selecting the 'Checkout' link. Please note that you will be prompted and required to sign in to continue to purchase. Which means you need to be a registered user of the GMSAA.ORG website. So if you have not registered yet, this would be a good time to do so.

After signing in, you will be forwarded to the Checkout Screen where you complete the Billing and Mailing information. You will see that there is a choice of paying by credit card using our secured PayPal site, or by check. If you choose the pay by check option, place your order then send a check to the GMS Alumni Association at the address provided at the bottom of that screen. If you choose PayPal, follow instructions when prompted after reviewing your order.

Review your order and if it suits your approval, press the 'Submit Order' button on the lower right corner of the screen, and there you go, your order has been placed. If paying by check, orders will not be sent until check is received.

Also, it would be a good idea to print the Review Order page for your records. The Store will be demonstrated at the reunion.

Can you identify anyone in this picture?

We have so many pictures as this one-- a good picture, but we don't know who is in it.
Could anyone identify individuals in the picture L to R in the Front row or Back row?

The only person I can think of in the attached is Ruben, longtime black cook, middle of back row.
If you haven't yet, Register to leave a comment about this picture.

Feel free to also click the image if you want a bit bigger view.
Click to enlarge

Welcome to the NEW Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association Website!

September 14, 2011
Fargo, North Dakota

As temperatures drop and the fall colors begin to appear across the upper mid-west, I begin to reminisce about this beautiful time of the year in Lewisburg as a cadet and as alumn. When I joined the GMSAA Board last October, one task I was asked to oversee was the redesign and development of our Association's website. As coordinator of the Graphic Communications Program at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), I provide instruction in web design, and thought this would be a good project for some student involvement. Not only would they get some real-life experience working for a client, we, the association, would be able to teach some young adults about GMS and the history of military schools in the U.S.

The original idea was to have a contest to come up with an interface design and award the winner(s) the job of developing the site. What really happened was I interviewed a number of graduating seniors who would have the programming background needed to develop the searchable database. Not only would this person need to have a good eye for web aesthetics, but also be knowledgeable in a number of web-based applications, such as CSS, Drupal, SQL and so on. The task was to develop a very intense database, an online store, reunion information, newsroom, Greenbrier Leadership Institute information, almost everything we had on the old GMSAA.ORG site, but more user friendly and with smaller-faster digital space.

Since the end of May 2011, Matt Winans of Fargo, ND, a brand new graduate of MSUM has worked diligently and professionally on developing our new look and the entire back end programming of the site. Matt spent hours on the phone with Tony Sadler, Phil McLaughlin, Jim Downer and Herb Pearis. Matt has spent close to 30 hours meeting personally with myself and has even had a meeting with Mary Essig, our Museum's Curator.

One new innovation is the Online Reunion Registration form. Where you can register for the all the Reunion activities, pay dues and will soon have a section for making donations. You are also able to pay by check if you do not want to use PayPal. This is very user-friendly. I registered this way and now JoAnn doesn't have to worry about rubber checks and the association has my money right away. The Cadet Store will operate in a similar fashion once it is up and running.

Try the new Cadet Database by looking for lost and not-so-lost friends. Type in any of the following: last name, last year or year graduated and company to find information on a cadet. There are two levels, one level is open to the general public and will retrieve a limited amount of information on any cadet. As a registered user, which we hope you will become, you will retrieve more in-depth statistics and information about a cadet as well as faculty and friends. This is an excellent tool.

So, welcome to the new GMSAA.ORG site. There is more to do, like an archive of Alumni Records and our Museum page, but I am sure you will find this enjoyable and easy to use.

I want to thank Tony Sadler, Herb Pearis and Phil McLaughlin for all their guidance and patience working with Matt and myself. And I especially think we all need to offer a big round of applause to Matt Winans for a bang up job on this project. His professionalism and technical ability to do this has saved our Association thousands of dollars.

Dr. Mike Ruth, GMS '69

Department of Cinema Arts and Digital Technologies
Minnesota State University Moorhead
Moorhead, MN

Leadership Program Extends GMS Legacy

At a dinner party several weeks ago, the conversation turned to what event or circumstance made the biggest difference in your life. The dinner guests represented a variety of professions and careers and as you could imagine, the stories ran the gamut. When the discussion reached me I recounted my three years at Greenbrier Military School.

I can’t tell you if it was the drill and ceremony, the weekly inspections, the beat, or the many other activities I endured that eventually formed my character. Certainly for many of you, it was all those things and more. They say we are the sum of our experiences over time. If that’s true, that may explain how our time at Greenbrier contributed to our success as productive citizens.

Although we have graduated our last Cadet and the Battalion is growing smaller, there is a program that is offering today’s youth those values and principles that we have always held in high regard. The Greenbrier Leadership Institute, (GLI) through the guidance and direction of your Alumni Association, provides programs and resources that promote the core values of truth, duty and honor that we learned as Greenbrier cadets. Along with live leadership programs, GLI will be offering online instruction and packaged educational materials including DVDs available to schools and libraries throughout West Virginia.

I encourage you to attend the next leadership session during our upcoming reunion on Friday, October 14 in the old GMS auditorium on the campus of WVSOM. I’m sure after seeing the interaction and enthusiasm of the students you will believe as I do, that The Greenbrier Spirit is still alive. You will see first hand, why this program has received high praise from educators throughout West Virginia and why GLI is quickly expanding to new venues in 2012.

The future success of The Greenbrier Leadership Institute will depend directly on the financial support of our alumni and friends. For the last three years GLI has operated totally with alumni volunteers. To continue the good work and reach more youth, we’ll need to replicate the program using all forms of technology as well as conventional resources.

That’s why we need your help. When writing your check for the upcoming reunion weekend, consider adding an additional amount in support of GLI. You can be assured your generous financial gift will be used to extend the legacy of Greenbrier Military School for generations to come.

Grey Webb, Vice President, GMSAA

Greenbrier Leadership Institute Continues to Grow

The Greenbrier Leadership Institute of the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association is making tremendous progress providing leadership development services as well as gaining attention statewide. In April we completed our third annual program with selected high school students from the Greenbrier County School System. In June, we made two presentations to West Virginia school administrators. On
June 3 we presented to the Region 6 meeting of the school administrators and June 29 to the statewide meeting of administrators. Both presentations resulted in our developing important liaisons in schools statewide.

As a result of the June presentations we were invited to conduct a staff and teacher leadership development program this fall and next spring for the Barbour County School System located just south of
Morgantown. Also as a result of the June presentations we were engaged by the West Virginia Department of Education to provide a leadership development program this fall to school counselors across the state at three locations including Beckley, Morgantown and Charleston.

Additionally, we are pleased to report that the development of our DVD supported programmed learning program last year was profitable. It boosted contributions from our alumni that yielded support significantly beyond the program cost. The DVD supported program has been used with students and staff in West Virginia that could not attend our live programs and even in a school district in Bourbon County, Kentucky. We will continue to provide it free of charge to school districts within and outside West Virginia as requests occur.

We will conduct our fourth annual Leadership Program for Greenbrier County Schools during our GMSAA Reunion this October. The staff and teacher program will start at 8:30a on Thursday, October 13 and the student program will begin at 8:15a on Friday, October 14. If interested in attending either program, please be seated prior to the start of the program, which will last approximately four hours.

The Greenbrier Leadership Institute is timely, gaining momentum and gives the GMSAA a chance to produce a lasting legacy for Greenbrier Military School. However, the Greenbrier Leadership Institute receives only minimal funding from the GMSAA Board of Directors and is in great need of additional support if we are to capitalize upon the current high interest statewide to build a true legacy for GMS well into the 21st century.

We are well on the way to preserving the legacy of GMS for years to come if we receive adequate support. Leadership development through the Greenbrier Leadership Institute is our path and our gift to the youth of West Virginia and beyond. Please make contributions to the GMSAA Leadership Fund to ensure our legacy.

Beaman Cummings ‘63
Executive Director, Greenbrier Leadership Institute