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Stalag XVIIB Reunion
April 30 - May 3rd  2009
Kansas City, MO

Approximately 120 people showed up in Kansas City for a great reunion.  Among them were the following Ex-POWs:  Oren Albright, James E Baker, “Pappy” Barksdale, Lin Chew, Benjamin Clarke, Richmond Dillon, Frank Dolsen, Eddie Dostie, Virgil Faust, Lloyd Henson, Carl Hitchcock, Bob Hulsey, Lloyd Kern, Ralph Kesling, Michael Kulmatiski, Louis Langston, Robert Lash, Judd Lischke, Henry McCowan, John “Stoop” Morrissey, Ralph Moulis, Robert Myllykoski, Joe Ortiz, Vince Pale, Jim Prusa, Lamar Rodgers, Charles Rosenauer,  John Russell, Frank  Sexton, Delmar Swyers, James Traylor, Maynard Unger, Robert Watson, Edward Whaley, Warren Wylie and Ed Youngers.  Warren Jones, a member who lives in Mulberry, KS dropped in for Sat and Sunday.  On Sunday we got a new member, James E Clark, whose daughter had seen some TV coverage of the reunion, so he got in his car, drove down and joined.  Welcome to our organization. 

April 30th was registration in the hospitality room which was open all day with the help of all the Kriegie Kids.  A couple of new ones took over bartending duties, Kelly Wall, grandson of Carl Hitchcock and Jay Eudy, grandson of Ed Whaley.  They thrived on the atmosphere and the people there.  Both stated it was a blast to be there.  On Sunday Mark Geary tended bar most of the day.  The Kids were great in doing the job of go-fer, if you needed anything and you were seated all you had to do was ask be it for food or drink.

They really kept the hospitality room well stocked.  They all wore badges that stated “I am a Kriegie Kid”. Vince had his merchandise table set up in the hospitality room also.  Dorothy Lehman selling 50/50 tickets and Linda Thompson selling chances on the two quilts she made and raffled for the benefit of the hospitality room fund, which by the way made $455.00 towards next years hospitality room. 

Joe Mark Ortiz was giving away two booklets to Ex-POWs only, one titled “The Sweat Box” written and illustrated by Ben H. Phelper, the other was “A Wartime Log” by Ben H Phelper.  Everyone was grateful to him for this opportunity to get two more of Phelper’s work. 

May 1st, found the hospitality room jammed all day and that evening the busses to take us to see Jamie Farr in “Don’t dress for Dinner” picked us all up at 5:00 pm and took us to the theatre.  The food was excellent, the show a delight.  Everyone commented on how much they enjoyed it. 

May 2nd, busses picked up about 44 people at 8 am to enjoy the tour of the city and the World War I Museum.  Another great hit, according to those that went.  When the busses returned the Kriegie Kids also had added sandwiches to the hospitality room so most every one snacked there for lunch. 

   The Memorial Service was held at 2 pm during which time Chaplain Lash presented each Kriegie present a New Testament with POW/MIA photo on front and a booklet of Blessed Promises from Scripture.  This was done at his expense.  Thank you Bob.  Bob’s two daughters Linda and Kathy done the programs for the Memorial Service.  After the service, group pictures were taken first of the Kriegies, then wives and widows and then the Kriegie Kids. 

Commander’s Reception followed that evening with cash bar at 5 with a great buffet dinner following at 6:00 pm.  Music was provided by Skip Hawkins, paid for by Tina Geary.  Thank you Tina. 

May 3rd, a group of Patriot motorcycles lined up in front of the hotel at about 9-9:30 am, forming an avenue of flags as all the Ex-POWs marched through receiving thanks, handshakes, salutes in their ceremony to honor our men.  A tearjerker for all of them and all of us watching.  They then all gathered behind the Ex-POWs with their flags as a backdrop for picture taking.  And pictures were taken by the dozen.  After that all Ex-POWs, wives, kids, who ever wanted to were given motorcycle rides.  This was all set up by Shawna of the Park Place Hotel, whose husband had just returned from a tour of duty in Kosonov and rides with the group.  A big debt of gratitude to her for adding this to our reunion.    The hotel invited all the patriots in and gave them breakfast on the hotel.  They were really thankful for that and then they went up to the hospitality room to mingle with the Ex-POWs.  A beautiful morning.   All week they predicted rain but it did not come.  

At 1pm the annual business meeting was held during which time Lydia read letters from Jack Jones, Roy Livingstone, Ed McKenzie and Ned Handy.  Vince told about the honor flight which takes WWII vets to see the World War II Memorial in Washington.  Go to www.honorflight.org and you will find an application along with schedules going to DC from all areas of the country. (If you do not have a computer, ask your kids or grandkids or a neighbor to check it out.)  Two proposals in MN were presented along with one in N Denver and one from Myrtle Beach, SC.  Myrtle Beach won all but one vote.  I think Stoop wanted to keep it close to him as I understand he does not like to fly.  Stoop had Toby Peterson with him to help him and he also helped everyone else.  What a great person to have around when you needed help.  Stoop was a delight with his singing, dancing with his oxygen tank, or playing it as a guitar. 

Banquet cash bar was at 5pm, followed at 6pm with the posting of the colors by  members of VFW Post 7397 in Kansas City, preceded by Richard Pitts playing his bagpipes.  Thank you Richard.  Commander Dostie welcomed all and presented Tracey Jackson a Certificate of Appreciation for her work with the newsletter.  Vice Commander Ortiz presented Commander Dostie a thank you plaque for being Commander the past two years. Dinner was served followed by our speaker, Jim “Moe” Moyers from Lake Wales, FL one of the directors of Rolling Thunder, the group that entertains and honors the Ex-POWs every year on POW/MIA day at Andersonville, GA. (go to www.powridehome.org to see last years pictures and write ups.) It was a pleasure having him there.  I should state the general account paid his registration and they drove out there and where I expected to pay their airfare, I wanted to pay him something for his mileage.  He would not take a penny.  So next time you are thinking of donating money to a worthy cause, make it to the “Ride Home”.

 After speech the following officers were installed: Commander Joe Ortiz, Vice Commander Ed Dostie, Adjutant/Treasurer Lydia Dostie, NE Director Vince Pale, SE Director Bob Hulsey, SW Director Charles Rosenauer with Jack Jones staying on as NW Director.  

Linda Thompson approached with the two beautiful quilts she made.  First winner was Toby Peterson, second one won by Ed Dostie.  This was followed by 50/50 drawings, 6 $100.00 winners:  Pat Moulis, Ralph Moulis, Francis Dolsen (who donated it back to the hospitality room), Alan King, Rose Mary Teaford and Richard Jacobs, Joe Mark Ortiz won $25.00.  Kitty Bagwell donated a set of the coins from Iraqi and that was won by Ralph Moulis.  Stalag XVIIB presented each Kriegie present with a XVIIB clock.  Had three extra so put the names of widows in attendance in an envelope and drew for them.  Winners were Shirley Allen, Florence Sexton and Gertrude Nicklin.  Many people received an autographed CD donated by Jim Owens, dinner guest of Stoop Morrissey.  Jim did a few one liners and one song for us.  Tracey Jackson had 4 fleece vests with Stalag Insignia on them, a warm up suit and several hats were drawn at random for the Kriegies.  All of this was followed by singing of God Bless America, led by Vince who had made the centerpieces for the tables with flags so everyone was waving an American Flag while we sang. 

The end of a beautiful reunion.  Music followed paid for by Joe Ortiz and the dance floor was loaded most of the time.  

Thanks to all who came,  the Kriegie Kids who worked so hard to make the hospitality room the place to be. To the hotel management who kept us supplied with ice or whatever we asked for. Judy for keeping us in ice and setting up the banquets, Diane for helping with whatever we wanted, Lulu for her personal service be it in the lounge or bartending at the banquets. And we can not forget to  mention Shawna again for getting the Patriots.  I do not know of anyone who did not enjoy this 64th reunion. Looking forward to seeing everyone in Myrtle Beach next year for the big 65th

Lydia