Sky Soldiers and friends,
On May 22, the Memorial Foundation held our annual face to face meeting here in Columbus, GA. It was great to see everyone again since we did not meet last year due to COVID-19 precautions. We held our business meeting, conducted an onsite Memorial inspection with the grounds keeper and electrical company and had two dinners where our discussions and comradeship were long overdue. It is so good to see friends face to face after a year of quarantine and troubles.
After 15 years on the Board, our good friend COL (ret) Ken Smith stepped down. His dedication and service to the fallen of our Brigade is the epitome of professionalism and service. This Memorial would not have been a reality without the work of him and the original board members who created our foundation. He will be sadly missed, and we wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors.
We conducted elections for board officers as terms of service were expiring and we filled the vacancy created by Ken’s retirement. I, Rick Weik was re-elected as President, Eric Baus was elected as Vice President, Eddie Hair was elected as Secretary and Floyd Riester was re-elected as Treasurer. We also approved and welcomed two new members to the board of directors. CSM (ret) LaMonta Caldwell (GWOT) and former SSG Sam Maskowski (Vietnam). Both Paratroopers have a great reputation, and we look forward to serving with them in the future.
Lastly, we were finally able to dedicate a tree and marker for the late Karen Riester. Karen served for many years as director of protocol and great service to the Gold Star families through the years. She was truly a classy lady, dedicated wife to Floyd and a great friend. We know she is looking down at us and wondering why we made such a fuss. We miss you, Karen.
Hope to see you all at your Memorial soon,
CSM (ret) Rick Weik
President, 173d Airborne Brigade National Memorial Foundation