Revitalizing Membership Key Theme
Of 2008 Navy League Convention
By AMY L. WITTMAN, Editor in Chief
The Greater Kansas City Council of the Navy League,
led by President Robert Cook, welcomed about 325
registrants to the 2008 Navy League National Convention
at the Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, Mo.
The 106th convention kicked off Oct. 28 with an
evening Welcome Aboard reception at the National
World War I Museum, with special guests U.S. Rep. Ike
Skelton, D-Mo., Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser
and National President J. Michael McGrath.
One constant throughout the Oct. 28-31 convention
was McGrath’s focus on revitalizing membership, even as
individuals, organizations and the nation face fiscal challenges. Noting that the Navy League is a council-driven
organization, he told attendees that it is up to them to
recruit new, and retain current, members so as to better
execute the mission of supporting the sea services.
Reflecting on the events over the course of the four
days, McGrath said, “It was great to see new members
attending the convention. The meetings were constructive and the workshops were great, providing up-to-date information to our members.
“The Navy League’s support for our sea services is
strong,” he said, “but we will need additional members
to develop funding to continue our support.”
Among the convention’s key events was the report
by the ad hoc committee formed by McGrath to study
the Navy League’s budget and accounting practices.
The panel, chaired by John Tozzi, national vice president for Strategic Planning, reported its findings to the
Board of Directors Oct. 30. The study resulted in,
among other things, changes to the format of the budget execution report to better reflect the complexities of
Navy League and building operations.
After much deliberation by the Executive Committee
prior to the Board of Directors’ meeting, the board was presented with a 2009 budget that reflects the difficult economic environment in which the Navy League must currently operate. The budget was approved without debate.
In other business, Chattanooga, Tenn., was selected
as the site of the 2011 National Convention. Next year,
Navy Leaguers will head to Corpus Christi, Texas, followed by Jacksonville, Fla., in 2010.
Several committees welcomed guest speakers, including Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, who has been nominated for the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as
commander, Marine Forces Reserve and commander,
Marine Forces North; James E. Caponiti, assistant
administrator at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s
Maritime Administration; Michael Barker, Naval War
College professor; Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Perry, assistant
chief of information–Community Outreach; Lt. Col. Pete
Markakos, Public Affairs Division, Marine Corps
Headquarters; Rear Adm. Joel Whitehead, commander of
the Eighth Coast Guard District; Rear Adm. Mary
Landry, Coast Guard director of Governmental and
Convention Chairman Robert Cook, right, president of the
Kansas City Council, stands with Samuel Sorenson, who
recently founded the Fleet Admiral Nimitz Council in
Texas, during a reception on the final night of the 2008
Navy League National Convention in Kansas City, Mo.
Northeast Florida Area President William E. Dudley
receives the Secretary of the Navy Public Service
Award–Superior from Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., deputy
chief of naval operations for communications networks,
and Navy League National President J. Michael McGrath.