THE GUANTANAMO BAY ASSOCIATION - WHAT WE ARE ABOUT?
In order to understand what the Guantanamo Bay Association is about, we should first look at why and how it got started.
OCTOBER 2006: A significant number of Guantanamo Bay veterans attended a reunion in Chattanooga, TN. Even though most of us had never met before, we had a wonderful time and, upon departing for our homes, exchanged addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
OCTOBER 2007: Shelia Evans took the initiative to contact the people who expressed a desire to get together again; published information in veterans’ magazines and websites, etc.; and wound up hosting a very nice gathering in Fort Mitchell, KY. The stated purpose of that event was to see if there was enough interest in establishing an official organization, one with stated objectives. This meeting was attended by a group of approximately thirty past and present residents of Guantanamo Bay.
Prior to getting down to the business at hand the group had an opportunity to get to know one another and to sample some of the sights and sounds of the surrounding area. After a couple days of sightseeing and exchanging sea stories, on the third day, a business meeting was called to order by the event organizer, Shelia Evans. The first order of business was to hold a discussion to see if there was enough interest to form an association for conducting annual reunions. By a unanimous vote it was decided to pursue the establishment of an officially recognized nonprofit social organization. Next on the agenda was selecting a name. The Guantanamo Bay Association was the name most favored. This was followed by election of officers, who were charged with seeing to all the administrative details that would be required, and to report back to everyone at our first official reunion the following year in St Augustine, Florida. Elected were Shelia Evans, President; John Kellett, Vice President; Mike Warman, Treasurer; John Durrett, Secretary.
2008: Over the next few months following the Ft Mitchell meeting, Mike Warman obtained a FEIN and opened our association bank account. Mike then wrote the articles of Association and By-Laws which were required by the IRS. He then submitted an application to the IRS for us to become registered as a 501 c 7 non-profit social club. Soon after receiving approval from the IRS, Mike began publishing our quarterly newsletter. During the same time John and Paige Durrett, established our website www.gitmobay.org and www.gtmobay.com while Sheila and John stayed busy collecting names of people interested in becoming members in the association. They also started a list of everyone they contacted. This information was later put into a database which over the past few years has grown to over four hundred names and addresses.
Annual business meetings are conducted during the reunion.
2008: Reunion St Augustine, Florida Mike Warman, planner
2009: Reunion Gettysburg, Pennsylvania John Kellett, planner
2010: Reunion Branson, Missouri Shelia Evans, planner
2011: Reunion Niagara Falls, New York George Kennedy, planner
2012: Reunion Pensacola Beach, Florida Fred Keller/Shelia Evans planners
2013 Reunion Chattanooa, Tennessee Mike Warman
2014 Reunion site will be selected in Pensacola