We will write the history of the Military Officers Association of America - Sarasota Chapter, on this blog. We are requesting stories and history written by the former Presidents and key participants and any member of the organization. We will publish them on this blog as we receive them.
Troy is the Good Looking Guy On The Right Next to His Great Looking Superior Officer Elke
On a request from Craig Hullinger, I decided to embark on trying to write my piece of history for the Military Officer’s Association of Sarasota. This may be bit long winded but I’ve been a member for over 20 years.
I was informed about the Retired Officer’s Association (ROC) by a neighbor of mine, Dick Neu, who was the Secretary at that time. He brought me a copy of the Sarasota Breeze, which was in tabloid form, not like the current issue. That issues had an article about the last Military Gala and had several photos. Dick suggested that I attend one of their luncheon meetings at Michael’s On East, so I called the events chair, in February, on a Wednesday before the Friday luncheon, and was told that I was too late, come next month.
So, I showed up the next month, and promptly met BG John McLain, who was the greeter, and CAPT Mike Miller, the 1VP. Mike ushered me to a table for the Under 60’s Group. The only people I remember from that first meeting besides those two, was Tom and Pauline Mazzone, who continue as members to this day. Some younger members, about their mid-50s were there, but they are only dim flashes in my mind as they haven’t kept up their membership.
That first luncheon was in March, and the total membership at that time was in the vicinity of 750. The ROCs club ran a Prescription meds pick-up service in conjunction with the Base Hospital at MacDill, the club charged $3.00 a trip and you could get up to 5 scripts filled. A driver from ROCs would got to MacDill and wait until all the scripts were filled and then would return with them back to Sarasota. John and Pat McLain were the honchos of this project. And they had a healthy clientele, about 300 people a month came by for their refills. They ran this operation out of the Community Room at the Westfield Siesta Key Mall, where we also had our Board meeting.
As I continued to attend luncheons, CAPT Mike Miller, the 1st VP, came to me and said that he had just fired the Secretary of the ROCs and would I take over that job. So, in May 1998, I became the Secretary of the ROCs. As I mentioned earlier we had our Board meetings at the Westfield Siesta Key Mall, about the same time that I came on Board, Max Jonah took over the Sarasota Breeze and developed the format as it is maintained today.
In 1996, when LTG Crowell, was President, he had approached CAPT Mike Miller and asked him to develop a group for our younger members, some of whom still worked and couldn’t make the 3rd Friday luncheons. The thought was that this group could get together on the weekend and share their experiences, etc. This group became known as the “ Under 60s”
At the Military Gala in December 1998, we had an eight -piece band, consisting of mostly elderly men, playing big band hits from the 40s. Everyone went home by 9 PM. I ran for and was elected to the Board as the Secretary and Jon Gordon was elected as the Treasurer. CAPT Mike Miller was elected President. Our swearing in was the high point of the evening.
CAPT Mike Miller continued as the ROCs President for 1999 and 2000, Jon Gordon and I continued as Secretary and Treasurer. In 2000, Col Jerry Crawford started serving as 1ST VP and took over as President in 2001 at the Military Gala 2000. That year was the first year that we hired a relatively unknown band from North Port, LaCroix, who are with us still. The dancing lasted until 1 PM with a request for more.
When Jerry Crawford became President, he asked me to be his 1st VP, with the idea of me moving up. I had sworn that Secretary was enough work for me, but Jerry was a good friend, and I agreed to help him. His wife, Flora, took over the luncheon reservations from Hope Hertz and our luncheons began to make money.
One of my West Pont classmates and good friend was appointed to the MOAA Board in 2000, LTG John Dubia, and I invited him to speak at one of our luncheons. He turned out to be a terrible speaker, but he did announce the implementation of Tricare for Life, a major push from MOAA during that time period. Everyone was excited because it meant that our Rxs prices would go down, and they did. However, there was another cloud to this silver lining.
The Pharmacy at MacDill stopped allowing other people to pick-up scripts because retired people had Tricare for Life and could get their scripts at the local pharmacy or Express scripts. This caused our membership to tumble. At the end of Jerry’s term, we had 720 members, after the renewal period ended and the dust cleared, our membership had dropped to the 500s. That’s how many people relied on our Prescription delivery service. If this benefit wasn’t available, why belong to the organization?
Jerry had another idea, he had attended the Florida Council Convention in Pensacola in 2000 and thought that Sarasota would be a great place to host one. So he grabbed his 1VP and we put together a plan. First off, we met with Ron Buchert, from the Tampa Chapter who was running the 2001 Convention at Sea. Ron gave us the convention manual and talked with us for several hours about how to do it, as he had run one in Tampa and the CAS for 2001. Also, we both signed up for the Convention at Sea, and made a pitch to the FCOC Board for a convention in Sarasota for 2003.
And wouldn’t you know it, the person who succeeded Jerry was Troy Scott 2003 Convention Photos of the FCOC Convention