Association 2008 National Reunion.....
The 2008 Patrol Gunboat Association was held in Seattle, WA.
The 2008 Seattle reunion was simply awesome. As far as I can tell, the only major problems we had personally were due to some rather poor planning on my part. To begin with, Nancy and I neglected to make our plane reservations early enough. I am guessing that we are not the only ones who procrastinated when it came to making our airline reservations, and the result was much higher fares. In the process of reminding everyone else, we simply forgot. We still got there however. We arrived at the Seattle airport on Tuesday, August 12, 2008. We had arranged for a rental car, it turned out to be a mid sized van which we quickly filled with luggage for Nancy and I along with my son Paul, Nicci and my grand daughter Samantha. We also had several suitcases with hospitality room stuff along with two laptop computers. From this you can assume that the airlines made a substantial profit on our baggage, I would assume that the extra charges more than made up for the extra fuel usage
From the airport it was a quick trip to the hotel where we got checked in and started to unload the van. We were lucky that the hospitality room was not being used that day for another function so we were able to take the flags, flag bases, memorabilia and other historian items directly to the hospitality room. We also had the hotel shipping and receiving office send over the hats and cups as well as several boxes we had shipped directly to the hotel. Nancy staked out her claim on the registration table and got things ready to start checking in people. It was a long day, particularly because of the three hour time difference between Seattle and Virginia Beach, but after ten reunions, we were able to make it to bed at a reasonable time.
Wednesday morning we were surprised to find out that rather than everyone having to go to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, the hotel actually set up a hot breakfast buffet in the hospitality room. Since I'm talking about the group breakfast, let me mention how this this finally worked out. When I was negotiating the contract I tried to get two rates, one for rooms without breakfast included, another with breakfast included. The hotel offered us the with breakfast rate at $20.00 more per night for all reservations made under the group contract. I kind of balked at this since the breakfast would not be included for early arrivals and late departures. Add to that the fact that if only one person stayed in a room, they would be forced to pay $20.00 per day more to get one breakfast when the cost of breakfast in the hotel restaurant was only $12.00 per person. So, I decided to shelve the idea of the breakfast buffet and accepted the without rate of $109.00. When the final contract was presented to me to sign it stated that the rate would be $109.00 per night, single, double, triple quad and breakfast was included for all guests staying at the hotel. Honorable person that I am, perhaps I should have pointed out the error to the hotel, but..................
After breakfast, Nancy unpacked hats and coffee mugs while I got busy setting up the numerous flags that we have received from many of the namesake cities. Next it was time to put out the refreshments. Seattle has an interesting requirement for groups wanting to provide beer at their reunions. The law requires that each group purchase a liquor license. I remembered that from when my father had the reunion for the USS Canberra Association in Seattle. So, while I was working on setting up the Hospitality room, my son Paul went with a member of the hotel sales staff to a local liquor distributor and purchased a license for the Association. As soon as Paul returned with the license, the hotel delivered the keg of beer, got it packed in ice and tapped. Soft drinks and bottled water was loaded into our cooler and bags of assorted snacks and munchies were placed on the snack table. By 3:00 the hospitality room was setup and we were ready to begin registration. The room was pretty much packed by dinner time. Cold beer, soft drinks, and lots of sea stories flowed freely for the rest of the night.
Thursday almost everyone started out with the hot breakfast in the hospitality room. It made for a great start to our Thursday Schedule. Nancy did some early registrations and by 9:00 am we were on the bus and headed out for our Thursday Tour of Seattle. Starting out with a good view of the Seattle skyline we headed North to cross the worlds longest floating bridge. Our guide pointed out many interesting sights along the way including the headquarters of Amazon.com and Starbucks. We made a fascinating stop at the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Ballard and saw where the ships pass through historic Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. We also got to see the salmon running the locks. Following lunch at Pike Place Market we headed to the Space Needle for a bit of time on our own. We were back at the hotel by 4:00 for more time in the Hospitality Room and dinner on our own.
Before I move on, I would like to tell you about an incident that we had during the Thursday tour. While at Pike Place, Market, one of our member's had some medical difficulties as a result of his being diabetic combined with record setting hot temperatures. Add to this the excitement that goes with attending a PG Reunion for the first time, one of our shipmates may have overdone it a bit. Since the bus was not permitted to remain while we visited Pike Place Market, our shipmate got off the bus and tried to cool off and relax a bit, but in the end he decided to go back to the hotel. Shipmate Jim Thomas and I stayed with him while I attempted to locate transportation for him to return to the Holiday Inn. Since I couldn't find a cab, I called the hotel and asked for the sales manager, hoping she could get me a number for a local cab. I was absolutely stunned when she said that she would leave immediately and come pick him up. With our shipmate taken care of, Jim and I grabbed a bite to eat and caught the bus with the rest of the group.
The next morning Nancy got a few new arrivals registered, got them their ball caps and 50-50 tickets and then closed things up so we could get on the bus for the Friday Tour. The first stop was Pioneer Square. Lunch was to be "On Our Own" at the Seattle Waterfront with some extra time to look around the many shops. After lunch the group headed for the Museum of Flight, one of the best attractions Seattle has to offer.
Friday night was our usual buffet dinner. Since there was no entertainment scheduled, following dinner we held an open mike session so guests could make comments, tell a few stores and relax in the company of friends and shipmates.
Saturday morning we took a few minutes and discussed the future of the Association at our 2008 Patrol Gunboat Association Business Meeting. Topics included finances, membership issues and the date and location of the 2009 reunion.
SATURDAY BUSINESS MEETING
Those who attended the Buffalo reunion may remember the trip to the cemetery. I made arrangements with a small cemetery close to the hotel for us to visit and do some grounds maintenance and replace flags on some of their Veterans Graves. This was strictly a voluntary project for those who wanted to do something for those veterans who have gone on before us. While Buffalo was a small cemetery, Seattle's Evergreen Washelli was huge with several hundred graves. We were assigned a small section where we replaced more than 200 flags.
The bar opened at 6:00 and everyone was seated in the banquet room in time for us to start the opening ceremony promptly at 7:00. During dinner we held the drawing for the winning 50-50 tickets with the winners sharing $915.00 in cash prizes. Following dinner we had a very interesting presentation from Sharon Wilkin, Assistant State Service Officer and Assistant Department Service Officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, State of Washington. Originally from Johnson City, Tennessee, Sharon joined the United States Navy in July, 1982. She retired as a Chief Petty Officer in 2002. In September 2002, Sharon began working as a veteran service officer supporting veterans and their families within the State of Washington. In 2006, Sharon was selected as the Assistant State Service Officer and Assistant Department Service Officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department for the State of Washington.
The evening ended with drinks and dancing to the music of "Gold Rush" from Kent, Washington.
ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END
Sunday morning many of us met in the hotel lobby to share hugs as we promised to meet again at the next annual Patrol Gunboat Association reunion. The hospitality room closed at noon.
Updated by Terry W. McManuels
Copyright © 2006 PGRA. All rights reserved. Revised: 08/29/11.