Web Sergeant Mike Suhor and I attended the Convention in Maitland, Florida. The convention hotel was very nice and the hotel employees treated us with exceptional courtesy. The food was excellent and the meeting rooms were spacious -- even Rosie's Hospitality Room.
Detachment 472 received another "Meritorious Unit Citation" from the Department (yellow and white with the yellow on the ends); this one was for the support we give to the Big Bend Young Marines. If you already wear this ribbon, you can add a star to it.
We received a streamer for our flag from the First Florida Regiment of the Young Marines for sponsoring the Big Bend Young Marine Detachment.
Speaking of the Young Marines, their Division Commander, John Gionet, was awarded Marine of the Year for the Department of Florida for 2018 -- a well-deserved selection! He also published the program for the convention and did an excellent job.
The Commandant of the Year picked by the Department was Reggie Nealy who, in addition to running The Villages Detachment (#1267), supervised the Scholarship Fund and its ticket sales for the last year and tried a new fund-raiser with Casino Night. This Marine is a dynamic leader.
Detachment 472 also received the "Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service Award" for sending in our report on time and including 3,676 hours of non-VA volunteer hours. There are no ribbons for this award.
Jim Brainerd was presented a Distinguished Service Award for his excellent reporting on the State of Florida Legislature for the last year. No ribbon is attached to this award.
I attended the meetings and round-table discussions for all of the Commandants and all of the District Vice Commandants. The two main topics were the Injured Warrior Fund of Florida and the Scholarship Fund of Florida. Neither one of these two programs needs money! They both have plenty of money! What they need is participants! Do you know a combat wounded veteran that has a bill (up to $3,500.00) that must be paid? Do you know a Marine or Marine's relative that could use an extra $500.00 toward tuition for college?
All of the Department staff who were up for re-election have been re-elected (including me as District 1 Vice Commandant). George LaMont is doing an excellent job and he deserves another year as Department Commandant. He will lead a contingent up to Buffalo, New York, on 12 August 2018 and I plan to go along.
I was also elected as the Pack Mad Dog and I will train and test PUPS at next year's convention for their advancement to Devil Dogs. Whereas I will not show any leniency toward District 1 PUPS, I will not pick on them any more than the other PUPS who wish to become Devil Dogs.
The Department of Florida is having problems with its web site: They cannot access and update the information the way we want them to. Mike Suhor had some words of advice, but, as usual, nobody was listening to anybody else.
There will be more Department meetings in the Sheraton in Maitland, Florida. It is a four-hour trip but well worth the drive in terms of convenience and comfort. Whereas the detachment is the grass roots and backbone of the Marine Corps League, the department level deserves the attention of the rank-and-file Marine: To recognize it as part of the Chain of Command and to contribute more heart and hands to its many worthwhile endeavors.
Dick J. 10 June 2018