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Greenbrier Military School year end letter.

 

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
gms.dentonstaley@gmail.com


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

Recent Cadet Passings

 

It has recently been brought to our attention the following cadets have passed away. At this moment we have no further particulars. If any of you have any information on these alumni, could you forward those details to me at: GMS.Mike.Ruth@gmail.com

Fred F. McIntosh III, Class of ’45
Old Tappan, NJ
March 10, 2022

Dr. Robert Bell , Class of '52
San Antonio, TX
July 12, 2022

Robert Nelson, Class of '53
Lady Lake, FL
No Date Available

Barham Parker, Class of '57
Black Diamond WA
February7, 2021

Mike Amling, Class of ’69
London, OH
June 2022

GMS 'Brier Patch' Yearbooks NOW AVAILABLE FOR VIEW!

 

Hello to all GMS Alumni & Friends,

I am happy to announce as of today (May 24th, 2020) that 50 years of GMS yearbooks are now available for FREE VIEW on our website!

I hope many of you find pleasure in viewing these archives of history as I certainly did in the process of optimizing, stabilizing & cropping all 4,289 total pages from a dark microfilm state. Each yearbook has been carefully lightened with level & curve adjustments for easier visibility. As seen in this photo, the PDF reader allows for the PDF to be downloaded if you'd like to keep a copy for yourself. Also, to view the yearbook in full screen, click the "Presentation Mode" button above the reader.

A huge thanks also goes to Mike Ruth '69 and our museum curator, Mary Essig, for making this yearbook project possible!

Ready to check it out? View them under the Cadets dropdown, select "'Brier Patch' Yearbooks!"

Enjoy,

Matt Winans
GMSAA Webmaster

Read James "Deak" Roberts Jr.'s New "Passing in Review" Article

 

Read the Newest and Final Edition of James "Deak" Roberts Jr.'s "Passing in Review" series!

This is a Tribute to Herb Pearis, The Force that brought GMS alumni together and The Glue that held them together for over 30 years. Two years as a Student, 10 years as an Instructor / Counselor, and 30+ years as the GMSAA Secretary, Creator / Editor / Publisher of the Alumni Record, Herb has been an integral element of Greenbrier Military School and its alumni for over 42 years.

Read it all here! gmsaa.org/history/passing_in_review/james_herbert_pearis

A Poetic Tribute to Bob Blair '56 - by Deak Roberts

 

It happened again a couple of days ago. I lost another old friend. I suppose I am of the age that I should expect these things. This may be true, but I damned sure can’t get used to it. Regardless, it stimulated the artist (as you may know, my art is poetry) in me, and I wrote this:

GOODBYE DEAR FRIEND

YOU ARE SITTING THERE DOING NOTHING AND THEN YOU GET A CALL
OR A FRIEND YOU SELDOM HEAR FROM SENDS AN E-MAIL THAT’S QUITE SMALL
YOU LISTEN OR READ IN DISBELIEF TO THE NEWS THAT IS ALWAYS BRIEF
ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS HAS PASSED AWAY AND THAT IS ALL

ANOTHER FRIEND IS GONE FOREVER AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO
YOU THINK OF THE LAST TIME YOU WERE TOGETHER JUST THEM AND YOU
YOU CAN SEE THEIR FACE, BUT YOU CAN’T REALLY PLACE THE PLACE
BUT WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE, YOU KNOW THEY ARE THROUGH

YOU THINK OF THEIR FAMILY AND HOW THEY MUST FEEL
IS THERE SOMETHING YOU SHOULD DO, SEND A CARD OR TAKE A MEAL
YOU KNOW THERE IS NO WAY TO CONSOLE THEIR FAMILY TODAY
YOU FEEL RATHER POWERLESS AND IT ALL SEEMS UNREAL

YOU REALIZE THE LOSS OF ANOTHER FRIEND AND WONDER HOW MANY
THERE HAVE BEEN SOME FROM DAYS GONE BY LIKE OLD WAYNE AND BENNIE
WHO WENT ABOUT A YEAR AGO TO JOIN THE OTHERS GONE BEFORE YOU KNOW
THE COUNT WAS RISING AS OLD FRIENDS WERE FALLING APLENTY

YOU SIT THERE ALONE AND PONDER THE PAST
YOU THINK OF THOSE GONE AND WONDER HOW LONG YOU WILL LAST
YOU WONDER WHY YOU ARE STILL HERE WHILE THOSE ARE GONE SO DEAR
AND YOU CONCLUDE THAT GOD’S WILL IS EVER STEADFAST

YOU REALIZE IT IS NOT FOR US TO WONDER WHY
GOD DECIDED WHEN WE ARE BORN AND HE DECIDES WHEN WE DIE
IN BETWEEN EACH DATE MANY THINGS IMPACT OUR FATE
AMONG THOSE ARE THE GOOD FRIENDS FOR WHICH WE SAY GOODBYE

THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT WE HAVE SUCH FRIENDS
AND IF THEY ARE WRONGED BY US WE SHOULD MAKE AMENDS
FOR FRIENDS ARE NOT SOMETHING WE USE TODAY AND THEN THROW AWAY
GOOD FRIENDS ARE WITH US UNTIL ONE LIFE ENDS

SO WHEN THAT TIME COMES AND COME IT WILL
WE THAT SURVIVE MUST CHERISH OUR FRIEND STILL
WE MUST CHERISH OUR TIME TOGETHER AND MEMORIES THAT LAST FOREVER
AND THANK GOD FOR THAT FRIEND WHOSE LIFE IS NOW STILL

POETRY BY DEAK, JUNE 5, 2017
Jim Roberts (Deak)

Rev. P. Roger Bowen's Closing Prayer on 10/16/16

 

We pray for children
who put chocolate fingers everywhere
who like to be tickled
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak popsickles before supper
who erase holes in math workbooks
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead in,
who never go to the circus
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistsfull of dandelions,
who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
who cover themselves with Band-Aids and sing off key,
who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw temper tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the car pool,
who squirm in church and scream on the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything.
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move but have no being.

We pray for children
who want to be carried and those who must,
for those we never give up on and for those who don't get a second chance,
for those we smother...and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

We pray for the least of these – we pray for children.

Amen.

Written by Ina J. Hughs, for the Children's Defense Fund

President’s Message, March, 2014

 

It is an honor to greet my fellow alumni for the first time in these pages as your new President. I begin by thanking our Board of Directors for their dedicated service in leading our Association and for the confidence they have expressed in me by electing me to this responsibility. Thanks to Larry Springer, Charlie Duncan and Fred Woitscheck for their five years of service as Directors as we welcome new Directors Bill Deck, Denton Staley and Sam Woods. Very special thanks to Grey Webb, who has lead our Association as President for the past two years. Grey has successfully initiated several important changes in the governance and operation of our organization. He has kept the officers and directors involved and informed these past two years, which has insured a smooth transition of leadership. We are grateful for his service to our organization.

I am sure many of you have had the same experience as I when you try to explain to non-GMS friends about our Association. They marvel at the facts that the alumni of a school that closed 41 years ago: (1) continue to return to the site of their unique common experience each October, (2) have a vibrant organization with a museum and memorial plaza and (3) are actively sharing our values with new generations of West Virginia youth through our GLI Program. We are truly a very special organization that has a great deal to be proud of and to celebrate.

Change is inevitable, and this year is no exception. After more than 20 years as our Association Secretary, Herb Pearis has retired from that position. Herb has been so much more than that title would suggest. He has been the face and voice of the organization, the one that answers the phone, the institutional memory, the editor of the Alumni Record and the magic hand behind the scenes that insured that everything went smoothly throughout the year and especially at our reunions. For those who were not with us at the reunion, Herb and Joann were recognized and honored with the gift of a trip to the Canadian Rockies. If you are interested in participating in this gift, details are provided elsewhere in this Alumni Record. Herb will continue to help us with responsibilities that require a Lewisburg presence, but will give up major responsibilities of the position.

Bob Boles, ‘70 has been elected as the new Secretary of our Association and we have a new telephone number. The new number is (304) 520-3214. The phone will be answered by a voice which will identify the GMSAA and offer you the options of connecting to myself, Bob Boles, Herb Pearis or Beaman Cummings, Executive Director of GLI. The call will then be automatically transferred to each of our designated numbers (home, office or mobile). Please make a note of this number.
Bob Boles, I and others have begun working on the 2014 Reunion and look forward to another successful gathering in Lewisburg October 16 – 19, 2014. So, mark your calendars now and “Come Back to the Brier”. We look forward to seeing you in Lewisburg October 16 – 19, 2014.

Greenbrier Forever,

Bill Isbister ‘52

Charles Edward Stokes Elected to GMSAA Hall of FAme

 

Charles Edward Stokes, Jr., Colonel United States Army (Retired). Greenbrier Military School (GMS) Class of 1956. He came to GMS from Buffalo, WV and sent four year at GMS. He served as Executive Officer of Band Company, playing football on the Junior Varsity (High School) Team. He played trumpet and a very distinguishable revile and taps. He currently resides at Holden Beach, NC.
Charles has a Bachelor’s Degree from West Virginia State (WVSU) and a Master’s from Louisiana State University in Political Science. He is also a graduate of Senior Services College (War College with less that 2% selection from all services) and the Foreign Service Institute
His teaching experience includes International Relation and African Affairs, Campbell University, Military Science, WVSU, Comparative Political Systems and Government & Politics of Latin America at the United States Military Academy (West Point), and University of Maryland (Overseas Program, Korea).
Charles military career spans over 25 years. He is a Viet Nam Veteran. His Awards and Decorations include Master Parachute Badge, Ranger Tab, Bronze Star with V device, Air Medal. Legion of Merit, and two Purple Hearts. Most of Charles’ service was as a Tactical Strategic Intelligence Officer (TSIO) which includes Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs (PSYOPOS-CA). The standards for the Branch assignment are very high and include Combat Arms Basic and Advance Course, Airborne, Masters Degree, Language skills (reading, writing, and speaking). Advancement in the Branch includes service as a Detachment Commander, Staff Officer at the Battalion level, Instructor in a Service School, Staff Officer at a Brigade or higher organization. Officer in a Special Forces Group, Headquarters Company Commander, and Political Military Affairs Officer in a Psychological Operations Command, and Propaganda Officer .
Charles’ last active duty command was Deputy Commander of the Special Warfare Center and School, FT. Bragg, NC his duties included overseeing curricula directed toward engaging Special Operations in the Global War on Terror. He was responsible for the entire Special Warfare Center and not just the Special Forces School.
To truly appreciate and understand Charles’ contribution to our national interest, one must look at the dates of his service, locations, political and historical significance, and the state of world affairs. 1964-65: Commander of the 681st Intelligence Corps Detachment, Dominican Republic: 1967-68: Commander, 181 MI Company, 101st Airborne Division, Republic of South Vietnam, and operational control of the 2nd South Vietnam Military Intelligence Company; 1978-80: Commander, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion Of which there is only one active duty Battalion in the entire United States Army; 1980-82: Commander, Recruiting Battalion, WV achieveing a successful rating of 8th out of 56 (previously the rate was 52 out of 56); 1982-85: Defense Attache, Guatemala, during a time when Nicaragua was near collapse and falling under communist control, Honduras was in conflict with the Contras and El Salvador was having civil strife, and the Northern half of Guatemala was being overrun by communist guerillas.; 1985-86: Director of International studies at John F. Kennedy Center, Ft. Bragg, NC; 1990-93: 1st Gulf War, Charles was selected as support manager, wrote execution , alert, defense plans for expatriates, and evacuation plans for the Saudi families, Support Manager for Saudi Naval Base, Jubail, Saudi, Arabia; 2000-2002: Republic of Nigeria, source of 17% of the United States’ crude oil , recognizing the need for a stable and civilian government. Charles provided consultation to reform Nigerian Armed Forces and wrote their National Security Strategy and Defense Policy; 2003-07: Lead seventy monitors and support staff investigating allegations of abuse and atrocities against civilian in Sudan and Kenya. Charles considers his assignment as Deputy and later Project Manager of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team his most noble position ever held; 2006-2007: Ethiopia, neighboring Somalia and considered one of the most dangerous areas of the world. Somalia was previously controlled by warlords and is best known for the incident of “Blackhawk Down”. Somalia is now controlled by Ethiopia, and Charles was charged with Curriculum and Coordinator and Principal Instructor in the Ethiopean Defense and Staff College; 2008-09: Charles was hired by the Department of Defense as Program Manager, Special Operations in Zamboanga, Philippines. The area is an Al Qaeda stronghold on the Sullu Sea which is considered by many as the second most dangerous region in the world for piracy and second only to the Horn of Africa/Somalia.
Charles has had a most interesting career and has brought credit to GMS, his country and himself. We are proud to name him to the GMS Wall of Honor.

The Greenbrier Military School Story DVD

 

The Greenbrier Military School Story DVD is now available for purchase in the Cadet Store.

Go back in time and enjoy this 45 minute documentary that presents the Greenbrier Military School Story: Celebrating 200 Years of Education in Lewisburg, WV.

Greenbrier Military School was part of the educational landscape of Lewisburg for many years. In 1812, Dr. John McElhenney established a school known as "The Old Brick Academy". This school was the foundational institution from which Greenbrier Military School was born. Young men were educated at Greenbrier in a structured, discipline environment living by the standards of Truth, Duty and Honor until it closed in 1972. Greenbrier changed the lives of many who attended the school over the years. This program tells the story of the school, the staff, and the cadets.

The DVD was produced by GMS alumni Phil McLaughlin ('58), Bob Boles ('70) and Mike Ruth ('69) with generous support from the GMSAA.