Hello, my name is Emmitt Denton Staley. I am a 1972 graduate of GMS and was recently elected to serve on your Alumni Association Board and subsequently have become your new Secretary. I would not say that I was elected Secretary but instead was the only person gullible enough to take on this task. In less than two months, I am overwhelmed at the discovery of the huge amount of work and time that Herb Pearis and Bob Boles have given our association over their course of service. I accept the office as my way to honor Herb, my teacher, advisor and dear friend. I have asked Bob to continue as my mentor as long as possible to lend continuity to this office at a time that will need someone with a grasp of our school history, a working knowledge of our Association processes, and a commitment to cementing our legacy through our scholarships at Greenbrier East and West, and at WVSOM. That is why I am communicating with you today.
Much has been said and written about how we are a “graying” group and in talking to our members, it is obvious that many of us are asking the question “how long will our association and/or our reunions continue?” That is a question asked not out of a morbid fascination but instead a real sense of responsibility to the association. A responsibility, I would point out, that we learned at GMS. The Board of Directors has approved a plan that will take us through the steps of closing the business side of the association when the time is right. This plan was created by your board several years ago as they looked down the road at our smaller membership numbers and shrinking resources. You could call it our estate planning document. But once the plan is initiated, it won’t mean we stop getting together in Lewisburg the third weekend in October. Yes, we are planning for the inevitable, but we will still be able to get together for years to come.
Communication is key to a healthy association. As I see it, the board has worked hard to be as transparent as possible with the membership. We have a nice balance of new and seasoned board members working for our association. There are some tough decisions your board will need to make in the next few years, but with everyone working together, we will succeed.
One of the big decisions made last year was minimizing our mailings and changing how we will be communicating with you in the future. In the past, we have had at least 3 annual mailings go out to the membership. Producing these in the traditional way results in an expense of $1200 to $2500 per mailing. In the future, we will be using e-mail and our website as our main communication tools. We will also be providing a link in every Facebook post that will direct you to the website for more information. The board does not want this to be difficult for anyone or to lose our connection with you. If you really need conventional (snail) mail, contact me at the information below, and I will try my best to accommodate you.
A great way for you to help make this a successful transition is to help ensure your Cadet Database information is up-to-date. Also, I am as old school as any of you, but even I've managed to navigate our modern website to share a Greenbrier Remembrance – a chance for all of us to share our stories about “The Brier”. It's surprisingly simple, just head over to our Greenbrier Remembrances page, type out your story directly on the site and it will be instantly posted for all our alumni to see. If you're a registered user, you can edit or delete your post anytime – no need to call in your grandkids for tech support. Another option is to share your memories and media in our Official Group on Facebook. Make Col. Benjamin proud.
This is an exciting time for GMSAA. So that you will understand my commitment to you, I am adjusting my will so that our Scholarship Fund will be the recipient of a bequest from my estate and have instructed my lawyer to notify our association of that fact in writing. This is one example of how you can help fund our Scholarship program. Another option is to make a year-end gift. These contributions could be tax deductible because GMSAA is a 501C-3. Please note you are free to do both. Donate to the association in your lifetime and remember us in your last wishes. The amazing thing I have learned in the last few months is that we have alumni from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s that plan to be coming to Lewisburg for many years to come. I think there are quite a few of us that have our eye on that bottle of scotch in the GMS Museum.
Thank you for your time to read this. Please make sure we have your email and phone number so that we can keep in touch. You can update this info by using the “Request an Update” button on the upper-right of your online Cadet Database profiles, or by contacting us directly through our at Contact Form. We will be looking into another fundraising and bequest drive in the next few months with the goal of raising $250K to finish securing our Scholarship Fund into perpetuity. If you would like to start the ball rolling on our fundraising goals, by all means, push it off. Remember, our scholarship program is our legacy to the school.
E. Denton Staley
GMSAA Secretary, Class of ’72
PLEASE HELP GMSAA THIS YEAR
Your support is vital to the continuation of our legacy. We invite you to make a tax-deductible donation to the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association. To contribute, you can mail your donation to the address below, or visit our online Donation Form and choose how you would like to allocate your donation:
- The GMS Leadership Scholarship Fund
- The WVSOM Scholarship Fund
- The GMS Museum Fund
- General Operating Fund
Truth • Duty • Honor
GMS Alumni Association
P.O. Box 922 Lewisburg, WV 24901