An Eagle Scout (a nephew of a fellow associate) was assigned a project, and brought on the idea of his troop creating a “Memory Garden” for our branch. We agreed and decided to have one established behind FRA Branch 94, as a way to honor our departed Shipmates, Comrades in Arms and Associates. We were fully satisfied with the results, but soon realized the garden lacked much needed shade, and it required constant maintenance.
With this issue on hand, the branch opted on a low-maintenance memorial instead. Tasked as Project Manager, I began to brainstorm. I felt that a wall, similar to that of the Vietnam Wall, would be appropriate. Engineered drawings (donated by a former Marine) and permits were obtained to initiate the memorial. The concrete slab was poured and painted, next came the granite panels (also donated by a former Marine) and finally the engraving. The project came to fruition by July.
A few days later, while doing some cleanup work around the wall, I heard what sounded like a goat. I turned around, and lo and behold, there stood a young goat, with a nice set of ram horns, munching away at the grass at the bottom of the fence. That’s great, I thought; he’ll keep the area under control for us. And so, the days passed without much nuisance, that is, until July 27.
My wife and I were at a restaurant celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary. As we proceeded to leave, I contacted the president of our branch after noticing I missed his call. He said “Bill, I have some bad news for you. Your wall has been rammed.” Immediately, I had images of a Ram truck or riding lawn mower hitting our memorial. Then he said, “The goat next door somehow got onto our yard and saw his reflection on the wall and decided it was an intruder in his territory, and rammed all three panels before some Shipmates and the owners from next door could capture him.”
Needless to say the wall was destroyed. Luckily the neighbor had insurance, and we had a check in our hands within 7 days. A new memorial was installed and engraved the following week. Some of the ladies from the Auxiliary felt so bad, they presented me with a big picture of the Naval Academy Goat mascot, wearing a chiefs hat and a note that read: “Bill, I’m sorry, The Goat”. And yes, I have heard every goat joke imaginable. FRA
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profiles in community service
One of the most important aspects of membership is how well our image as a positive influence of community service is promoted. This important tool should be used to engage prospective members about FRA. Two members, AMSC James W. Marshall, USN (Ret.) and HMC Regina Schulmeister, USNR (both from Branch 59, Cheyenne, Wyo.) have provided priceless accomplishments in their community.
Shipmate Jim Marshall was one of the charter members of Wyoming Branch 259 when it was founded in January 2003. He has served in several Branch offices including President, Vice President and Secretary. He is always doing something to promote the FRA’s service in Cheyenne. In 2008, Jim served as the coordinator for the citywide USMC Toys for Tots Program. He called upon Branch 59 and they always step up. He used fundraisers like “stuff a truck” for the toy collection, in which they gathered thousands of toys. Jim has been a true ambassador to his community. He spearheaded multiple events to help strengthen the bond between the Navy and the people of Wyoming. Jim also provided support to the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) in Cheyenne, a reserves training facility.
Throughout the past year, Jim coordinated the Cheyenne Navy Birthday Ball, Toys for Tots Drive, and other FRA events tied to Cheyenne Frontier Days. He oversaw the relocation of a 42-foot decommissioned U. S. Navy submarine periscope. It now looks through the roof of the new Grand Conservatory at Cheyenne’s Botanic Gardens. Jim was nominated for the 2017 Spirit of Hope Award by LCDR Christopher Tidwell, Commanding Officer, NOSC for his efforts in the community. The award is named in memory of comedian Bob Hope and is given to members of the armed forces, entertainers and other distinguished Americans or organizations for their patriotism and service. Shipmate Marshall will receive his award October 26 during a ceremony at the Department of Defense in Washington, District of Columbia.
Another Shipmate making waves in Cheyenne is Regina Schulmeister who is a Hospital Corpsman Chief assigned to the NOSC. She was born in Buenos Aires Argentina. Following high school graduation, she attended the Federal Police Academy and graduated in 1988 with the second highest score of her class. She received three awards in Academics and Defensive Tactics and worked as a Police Officer in Argentina for 12 years.
In 1997 Schulmeiser was selected to attend the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy in Virginia. She was the first female officer from Argentina to attend this prestigious FBI training. While in Virginia she fell in love with the country and its people. She returned to the U.S. in 1998 and settled in Wyoming.
In 2002 she joined the U.S. Naval Reserves to become a Medical Corpsman. In 2005 Regina became a Wyoming Highway Patrol officer and graduated from the academy with the Colonel’s Leadership Award. In 2009 she was selected as top trooper of the year and is currently stationed in Thermopolis where she spends her time helping her community both on and off duty.
Many of our members serve their communities and have the opportunity to interact with prospective members. You can be an FRA ambassador too. FRA
Penny Collins is FRA’s Director of Membership Development and a member of FRA Branch 24 in Annapolis, Maryland. She can be reached at email@example.com.