Ring out 2015, bring in 2016

Greetings all and Happy New Year.  2015 turned out to be a year of challenges and great accomplishments.

Our mission expanded in both numbers served and programs offered in 2015.  MBV served thousands of veterans through the fishing programs, SCUBA training, Northern tour and growing Physically Challenged Access program.  In addition to the above, dedicated volunteers addressed and completed over one hundred projects on the custom dive boat “Freedom”, with it’s one of a kind Lift to Freedom “L2F” dive platform, bringing this one of a kind project to operational status. These very successes created challenges in organization and resources.

Milestones were also established with the expansion of our partnerships and cooperative efforts with other organizations dedicated to serving those to whom we owe so much.

None of this would be possible without our dedicated corps of volunteers, members, donors and sponsors.  Thanks to you all and to the officers and 2015 board of directors for your dedication, leadership and contributions.

We experienced both joy and loss in 2015.  The first with the marriage of our favorite Army Airborne Veteran Jeanne Paynter, nee Obrien, to now husband Chris on board the Independence to start the New Year, and the latter with the loss of longtime volunteer, Board member and “Independence” Boat Director Tom Paltz.  We said good bye to Tom with full military honors and spreading of his ashes from the deck of the Independence onto the Monterey Bay; the place where he was most happy. He is missed.

2016 is promising even more. I am happy to announce the 2016 Board of Directors and several new Operational Director positions.

Introducing the 2016 Board of Directors: Bill Reisig, C.J. Von Drehle, Pat McCoy, Kimberly Stuhler, Anthony Russo, James Bogan, and two new Directors for 2016 Jeanne Paynter, John Knight

In addition to the existing Operational Directors; John Whitacre (Executive Director), Kirk Johnson (Veterans Relations), Diane Whitacre (Membership), Bill Reisig (Freedom Boat Director and Freedom Dive Program) and Gary Crawford (Volunteers), a couple of new key Operational Director positions are now filled:

Director, Northern California Operations:  Michael Steinbaugh

Director, Information Systems:  John Knight

This team will be leading Monterey Bay Veterans through an exciting 2016, which will include the rechristening and dedication of the vessel “Freedom”.

Be sure to check the calendar for upcoming events and volunteer opportunities  (The A.T.T. Pro-Am is just around the corner).  Plan early and make your travel and lodging arrangements for the Derbies and SCUBA classes.

In order to fulfill our objectives for the year we are counting on being able to expand our volunteer roles and filling several remaining Operational Director positions.  If you have time to dedicate to the mission of service to our disabled veterans, especially if you have boating and/or project management experience, please contact us to discuss the opportunities available.

As always, all members and guests are welcome at our board meetings, which are held on the last Tuesday of each month at the Monterey Youth Center at 5:00 pm.  We hope to see you there.

Here’s to another banner year in 2016.