Out Front – January 2022
As tempestuous as this past year may have been, may everyone’s best memories be kept close at heart, and if I could offer one word of encouragement as this New Year begins, it would be: appreciate. Appreciate the splendor that surrounds you, sincerely appreciate the people who love and support you, and genuinely appreciate the life you have been given, as our tomorrows are never promised.
As the New Year starts, I appreciate the honored privilege given me to serve the New England Chapter and its membership as its President. At a time like this, we all need to be there for each other. I want you to know that I’m here for you anytime. I want nothing more than for you to take care of yourself, your friends and your family. Please stay safe and we’ll push through any challenges in 2022 with grace and positivity.
Our Chapter’s Board of Directors deserves a Thank you. The members of the Board have taken on the weighty responsibility of sticking with and running the Chapter so that it can continue meeting the needs of its members. The commitment they display in keeping up with the changing impact of COVID and its required guidelines affect our mission is commendable. Decisions made by the Board aren’t undertaken lightly, as each Director knows that the outcomes of those choices affect each and everyone of the Chapter’s members. Their diligence is sincerely appreciated.
A final Thank you goes to you, our members, who we strive to serve every day. Your support and understanding when things don’t go quite right, and your input via suggestions, compliments or complaints, helps the Board do a better job for you.
Moving forward into 2022, we have a number of new programs we’re working on to offer, such as virtual racing, wheelchair football, billiards, and bowling to point out just a few. We also still have our 75th Anniversary Gala scheduled for June 26, 2022, so please look for those invitations to come via email. We’re also renovating our Chapter office for 2022 so that it reflects the image of the professional Veterans Service Organization that we are. Once compete,our intention is to have another summer open house the same as when we first moved into this new location.
Talking about serving members, I want to take a moment to recognize the passing of Gateway Chapter President and National Director Stan Brown on January 12. While I only knew Stan for just a short 6 years, he was a model man of how to live life with the purpose of serving others despite the personal challenges he may have had. Stan was a fixture of service as a National Director on the PVA Board of Directors effecting policy organization wide, but even more so in the community which he lived and served. One of his proudest accomplishments was helping make the Soldiers Memorial building more accessible to veterans. His story is incorporated into the museum exhibit there today. Enough can not be said about many things he did to serve his brothers and sisters in-arms. His presence in the world will be greatly missed. I will sincerely miss my conversations with him, seeing his smiling face and hearing “Gateway, Stan Brown” at our National Board meetings. Rest in peace my brother.
Stan’s passing is even more poignant to me as, I was just at the VA last week waiting on an appointment where I just happen to read on the bulletin board someone’s posting of Robert Smith’s “Clock of Life”.
“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.”
Keeping this in mind, we should endeavor to make a positive difference everyday in the lives of each person we meet, as we neither know when their clock or ours will stop.
Michael G. Negrete
Chapter President and
PVA National Vice President