Minutes of 2019 Annual Meeting
John Brandt and Ed Bloch
Y’s Men’s Annual MeetingY’s Men’s Annual Meeting
May 23rd, 2019
Remarks by John BrandtY’s Men President 2018-2019
Good morning, Y’s Men.
This morning I’ve invited a senior member to lead us in the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, a flag and a country that he served both in the military and as a civilian in our community. He also represents all the Y’s Men who have reached their 10th decade and remain vital and engaged with life.
As your outgoing president, I am filled with gratitude for the countless acts of kindness and support from the membership. I am also grateful for the many contributions to our club that have made this year a year to remember. While it may be tradition to review the year just past and highlight all the great stuff we’ve shared, I’d like instead to take these few minutes to appreciate what being a Y’s Man adds to our lives. Each of us has had wonderful things happen this year. Think of the one that stands out in your mind. It may be a new addition to the family, reconnecting with an old friend, a trip to a destination that renewed your faith in being alive or a moment of joy that will stay with you forever.
Take a few seconds to frame that experience in one sentence. That’s what this year was all about. Our being more open to having that experience is partly due to this group.
We are a band of brothers. The things we share are part of a greater whole, one that keeps us connected to each other and to ourselves. I can’t tell you how many times this year I have framed an experience to friends that has involved you men.
It’s like small magic. Years ago, I attended a magic show on Broadway, during which the magician covered a cage containing a beautiful woman and uncovered the cage in seconds to reveal a Bengal tiger. Sitting in the eighth row of the orchestra, I was stunned and amazed at the magician’s skill. It also reminded me that inside of every beautiful woman, there is that tiger. Kind of resets your respect for the “me too” movement.
The woman and the tiger are big magic. But it’s the small magic that gets you shaking your head, thinking, “How the hell did he do that?” You really have to pay attention. There is Y’s Men’s big magic. The Holiday Party, Spring Fling and this Annual Meeting and Luncheon qualify. But there’s Y’s Men small magic every day and, if you’re not really paying attention, you’ll miss it. We meet to sail, ski, play bridge, discuss global issues, travel near and far, share great music and theater, make great literature come alive and drink coffee together every week. That’s the small magic I’m talking about.
As Y’s Men, we’ve made a tacit agreement with one another to stay in the game. In the fourth quarter of our lives, we’ve committed to one another to cross the finish line in a way that validates our entire voyage. We’ve decided to be winners, with the rest of the Y’s Men as our partners. That small magic is the tie that binds us together. I’ve come to appreciate that element more than any other aspect of my year as president. It’s about us and it’s a valuable lesson.
There are so many contributors to this year’s success, it would be impossible to name them. But, happily, Art Greenberg, one such contributor, has made it easy for us to see them all.
Open your program and if you see your name on the list of committee chairs, please stand up.
These are the men who drive the stunning array of Y’s Men activities. Thank you all. The enrichment you provide is part of what makes this experience so special.
Next, there are three men who have been key contributors to surviving my presidential ordeal. They’ve stood by me each week to make our Thursday meetings interesting, smoothly run and more inviting.
Please welcome to the stage technical guru Neil Goodkind, and sound system wranglers Peter Kolbrener and Toshi Bekku. Neil Goodkind, Peter Kolbrener and Toshi Bekku with John Brandt.
Next, Minnie’s Boys. Come on up. We all know that humor is one of the foundation building blocks to surviving the fourth quarter of our lives.
My dad used to say, “If you don’t laugh, you cry.” These weekly doses of levity have enriched our meetings and given all of us material to take out into the world to share. Please give a hand to Marty Yellin, Roy McKay, Ted Voss, Steve Raffel and Mike Guthman. Jay Dirnberger is traveling, so I’ll deliver his gift at the Memorial Day Parade, in which he’ll march. As for the rest of you, please turn around.
Minnie’s Boys: Jokesters during the 2018-2019 season were Roy McKay, Marty Yellin, Mike Guthman and Ted Voss. Not in the photo are Jay Dirnberger and Steve raffle.
Last, The Order of the Owl was established to recognize and honor Y’s Men whose commitment to excellence and dedication to making the organization a more vital part of life, have enriched our future. Because we expected Peter Nathan would be absent at today’s meeting, he received his award last Monday. But he’s here today. Peter Nathan received the Order of the Owl prior to the annual meeting. Through the years, Peter’s many contributions to the Y’s Men have opened new vistas and enriched our appreciation of life and our relationships with each other. The Global Issues Forum is but the latest example of his good works. He is a Y’s Man among Y’s Men. Peter, from this Y’s Man and on behalf of all of us, thank you for making us all better.
The second addition to the roster of the Order of the Owl is Bill Blaufuss. Bill Blaufuss receives the Order of the Owl from John Brandt.
Through his years of service to the Trips and Events Committee, Bill’s tireless efforts has made the Y’s Men’s trips and events an experience extraordinary, clearly beyond all expectations. He and his committee have enriched the Y’s Men and made us a more cohesive and vibrant band of brothers.
Through the years, Bill’s many contributions to the Y’s Men have opened new vistas and enriched our appreciation of life and our relationships with each other. As I said, he didn’t do it alone, but he was at the helm and made the voyage one to remember. Bill, from this Y’s Man and on behalf of all of us, thank you for opening new vistas to us and ensuring a fuller appreciation of life. Congratulations.
And, because of the enhanced programs and rising costs, next year’s annual dues will increase to $70, a small price to pay for being a Y’s Man.
And now, standing in for immediate past president, Jay Dirnberger, here is Mike Guthman to announce the nominations for next year’s officers and ask for your yay or nay vote. Mike.
(Guthman does next year’s officers’ announcement and election)
And now, it give me great pleasure and, with the knowledge that the future of the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston is safe in his capable hands, our next president, Ed Bloch.
Ed, this is going to be a great ride. And here, to make it official is your personalized Y’s Men’s gavel.
We stand ready to help you in any way you like.
Remarks by Ed BlochY’s Men President 2019-2020
Thank you, John, and good morning Y’s Men. Ed Bloch addresses the Y’s Men.It was a hard fought campaign and I am proud to have defeated all the other 22 candidates vying for this position. I feel confident in declaring victory today and accept your overwhelming vote to serve as president of the Y’s Men in the 2019-2020 season!Seriously, though, I am both humbled and honored to serve as president of this very special organization. Humbled by the challenge of reaching the high bar set by the presidents I have observed since I joined the Y’s Men more than ten years ago. And I’m honored to have a role in making next year an outstanding one for all of us.
Speaking of high bars, John Brandt is going to be a tough act to follow. He has led us through the year with style, energy, enthusiasm, humor and well-honed showmanship. Please join me in thanking him for his accomplishments. I am very glad that he will be serving on our board as immediate past president and welcome his guidance. While I may hold the title of president, the job, like nearly everything we do as Y’s Men, is really a collaborative, team effort. There may be a quarterback but the talents, energy and volunteerism of those who become involved usually results in a successful outcome. I feel blessed to serve next year with a remarkable group of men. You should know who they are and I would like to introduce them to you now. Please stand when I call your name.
Peter Chelico, first vice president,
Bob Mitchell, second vice president,
Phil Johnson, treasurer,
Ross Burkhardt, assistant treasurer,
Dewey Loselle, Secretary,
Maury Wind, assistant secretary.
Those are our officers for next year. But the bench goes deeper.
Our directors are:
Roy Fuchs, in charge of communications,
Randy Abrams, continuing his successful tenure as membership chair,
Don Roth, community service,
Neil Goodkind, historian and technology guru,
Bill Blaufuss, trips and events.
We also have three directors at large:
Peter Nathan, Peter Donovan, and Deej Webb.That’s quite a team.
And quite an opportunity for you to get involved in areas that you find of interest. Our program also lists the committee chairmen presiding over a wide range of appealing activities that offer something for every Y’s Man.
John’s motto this year for the Y’s Men is that those who have the most fun win.That hasn’t been so for most of our lives. We were brought up to compete for career advancement, compensation, power, and material things. But now we have an opportunity to compete for fun, laughter, fellowship, enlightenment, and engagement. This is the currency that’s important with Y’s Men.Most of us have grown up believing that career success is fulfilling, that we can achieve happiness through self-sufficiency, that life is an individual journey, and that we can choose our own values.But if you examine those beliefs you find that career success alone does not provide positive peace or fulfillment, that happiness is not found on your own, but through thick and rewarding relationships, that rather than an individual journey, life is best lived and trust earned by being part of a group, that values are better absorbed by taking part in the conversations and activities that take place within an organization.The Y’s Men provides a powerful platform for making enduring connections and friendships. With nearly two dozen different activities we have the opportunity of sharing our interests and getting to know one another. Whether it’s simply attending our weekly meetings or participating in one or more clubs, you will become engaged, active, interested – and find enduring friendships.
You may recall a story brought to our attention by Y’s Man Rick Ellis with which we began this season. It was a chat between a father and son. They talked about adult life, marriage, responsibilities, and obligations. Never forget your friends, the father said, they will become more important as you get older. Regardless of how much you love your family and your children, you will always need friends because:
Time passes.Life goes on.Children grow up.Jobs/careers come and go.Illusions, desires, attraction, sex….weaken.People can’t do what they did physically when they were young.Parents die, but you move on.Colleagues forget the favors you did.The race to achieve slows down.But true friends are always there and are the bulwarks of our life. The fellowship of the Y’s Men provides those important friendships. So, as we end this season and look forward to the next, let’s be aware of what this exceptional organization offers all of us – the chance to be involved and engaged and to have the best times of our lives.
I think it will be important to communicate what we have not only to current members but to the outside world. Our new member effort, under the leadership of Randy Abrams, has achieved a record number of new members this year. We hope to do the same or even better next year. And most gratifyingly, we have brought in younger members who will be the life’s blood of our future leadership. Most important, if you have suggestions for new approaches, or see something that could be done better, don’t hesitate to talk to me or others. As I said, this is a collaborative organization and your input is always welcome. My proverbial door is always open.
We have usually thought of the annual meeting and picnic as the final event of our season. It really isn’t. There is one more, and it’s the Y’s Men float in this Monday’s Memorial Day parade. This year’s float celebrates the contributions of the United States Merchant Marine which suffered the highest casualty rate of any of the services that fought in World War II. It’s most timely because yesterday, May 22, was National Maritime Day. Our thanks to Y’s Man Bill Caldwell for telling us about it.Roy McKay and his team have put together a beauty again this year. But additional help is needed for the final construction this weekend and teardown after the parade. All you need to bring are gloves, patience, humor and energy on Saturday, May 25th at Penna’s Garage, 48 Indian Hill Road in Westport, and you’ll have a great time.Then come back to Penna’s Garage from 11:00 to 12:30 on Monday, May 27th, after the parade, bringing all of the above as well as portable screwdrivers for another fun-filled exercise searching for all the screws holding the boat together.See Roy during lunch today to sign up. And be sure to turn out on Monday for the parade to see our float and its participants. As always, we are sending a message with our annual Memorial Day float that is aimed at a deeper understanding and appreciation of this important national holiday.
It’s profoundly touching.Y’s Men, thank you for the confidence you’ve placed in me. I will make every effort next year to continue to earn it.
And now let’s eat. Lunch by Fortuna’s is served. Buffet lunch, catered by Fortuna’s Deli, completed the meeting.