Classmates, this is a letter sent to me from Carlys Lemler, a manager at the Thayer Hotel in response to the complaint placed on our class’s behalf Tuesday. esprit de corps
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. I am sorry that some of your classmates were inconvenienced by the wait times, busy signals and phone lag when they called in to make reservations for the Class of 1977 reunion. As a graduate and a Class Officer who also volunteers as the Class Reunion Co-Chair for my class, I know just how excited everyone is to get a room at The Thayer Hotel for a West Point Reunion. Unfortunately, when a Class chooses to hold off on opening the Class block until a specific date and time, and makes that public, building anticipation for that date, more classmates call than the number of rooms in the Class block and that high demand can result in the phone lines being busy, tied up, and folks being placed on hold while we answer the questions and take the reservation details down for your classmates that have gotten through to a reservations agent. We were prepared with 10 staff members working to ensure that the the reservations went smoothly, and had over 20 phone lines open. We also have a hold system with a que, but when the call que is full, someone won’t be able to get through. Therefore, similar to when people call in to buy tickets for a high demand concert, there may still be hold times, busy signals and disconnections due to the high volume of calls of having everyone call at the same start time.
After our call this morning, I took a deep dive into the calls from your classmates to further answer the questions about the reservations process for your class. The average length of call for your classmates, once on the phone with a reservationist, was approximately 6 minutes, the longest calls taking over 25 minutes. Since coming back to West Point and staying at the Thayer is such a special experience, your classmates and our reservationists spent time making sure that every detail was correct on the reservation. Our friendly and professional reservationists took the time to answer the questions of each person they spoke with: check-in times, check-out times, questions on parking, security and access to West Point, descriptions of each room type available with their respective prices, why the room block wasn’t opened earlier, why there weren’t more regular rooms in the block, why there isn’t a football game on the weekend any longer, and many more questions. Additionally, during this time, we also had people calling in for the second Class of 1977 room block, which was opened before your official class room block, by Mr. Engstrom. Folks who were on a waiting list for that room block were also calling in, and some folks who already had reservations within that block were calling in to confirm that they still did have reservations and to make additional reservations. We also had two of your classmates walk in to the hotel to make reservations in person.
I also noted the comments by your classmates in your email below regarding the room types available. The least expensive rooms were sold-out first, leaving the more expensive suites in your block for callers that got through later.
I am sorry that we did not have enough rooms to accommodate all of your classmates, we truly would be delighted and honored to host everyone from the great Class of 1977. I am also sorry that some of your classmates had to wait on hold longer than they would have liked, or had to call back to due to getting a busy signal or no answer, while we were making reservations for other classmates.
Again, I am sincerely sorry that some of your classmates were inconvenienced with the reservations process and that we could not accommodate all of the reservations requests for specific room types.
We are looking forward to hosting your class in the fall. Please feel free to call me anytime if I can be of assistance to you: 480-221-4941.
Draft itinerary for our 40th reunion October 5 – 8, 2017. We hope you’ll join us.
Greetings USMA77 Classmates!
There have been several requests for a Reunion Agenda. Please find below a rough (say again, rough) draft itinerary of the weekend. This will be finalized in the May/June time frame so there is plenty of time for your input and suggestions.
Know that the fall/winter Corps Squad schedules are months away from being announced. We will ask for consideration to schedule home Rugby, Sprint and Hockey games if at all possible, with our commitment to support these events by our attendance. Thanks for your support and your suggestions!
Esprit de Corps!
Preliminary itinerary in progress (very rough draft)
Thursday 5 October
- Golf outing
- Thayer Award Parade (tentatively scheduled pending the awardee’s availability)
- Reception at the Thayer Hotel
Friday 6 October– Activities centered around entire class gatherings
- Morning – Memorial Service
- Ike Hall luncheon
- Academy and Class updates
- Banquet at Ike Hall
Saturday 7 October
- Morning Class Picture around the Class Tree (see pic below of our tree surrounded by Jim & Diane Malcolm’s children)
- Meetings with Center of Oral History; Tours of Barracks
- 3 Meals at the Mess Hall
- Possible River Boat Cruise option
- Tailgate at Corps Squad events in the afternoon pending schedules; hopeful for Rugby and Sprint during the day, hockey at night followed by walk down the hill to the Thayer for late night beers and fellowship, then rack.
- Company centric opportunities on and off post.
Sunday 8 October
- Final farewells
- Breakfast Buffet in the Mess Hall (I have been assured the meals are slightly better at Sunday morning buffets…).
- Hotel Thayer Champagne Breakfast by reservation.
Click here to view and download updated available lodging opportunities and information.
Looking forward to a great Legacy Reunion!
Esprit de Corps!
Thank you for your quick response this afternoon – the Thayer Hotel room block is full! If the Thayer is still your first choice, please contact them to have your name added to the wait list, then call one of our other blocks to make a reservation. Most of the other hotels need a 24 hour notice to cancel without penalty if you do get called on the Thayer’s wait list, but the cancellation policy (and reservation information) is listed for each block on our reunion website: https://www.westpointaog.org/1977Reunion.
In my last email, I listed the dates for the reunion incorrectly. Our 40th Reunion will take place at West Point on October 5-8, 2017.
If you have reunion questions, please contact the WPAOG Alumni Events team: firstname.lastname@example.org or 845.446.1649.
Esprit de Corps,
Vice President, Class Gift & Reunion Chair
Esprit de Corps! There is much to report. Firstly, please keep in your prayers our great classmate, Greg Gorzelnik. Greg, suffered a stroke several weeks ago [Jan 12 or 19?]. Here is a note from his wife, Monica.
Greg had a basal ganglia hemmoragic stroke at 4:30 Thursday morning. He was doing his usual emails when he saw he couldn’t move his mouse. He must have called out because I woke and from then on we were very lucky with timing. EMTs arrived w/i 15 min,, firestation is less than half a mile away so the firemen could help move Greg. Roads to stroke center were clear, ambulance did 70-80 the whole way. (45 + miles) You have to come here to appreciate that! The normal fog around the Poconos held off so he was able to be stabilized and put on the air ambulance to one of the top 10 Neorosurgical centers on the east coast.
The stroke caused him to lose motor functions on his left side (he’s a lefty) and a bit of vision. He is fully cognizant He’s fighting brain swelling and inflammation.
Right now Greg is very weak after a hard night. They gave him a drug to control hiccups caused by stroke blood irritating his hypothalamus and it is having other reactions. His BP is starting to stabilize Heparin is being given and I hope to get out of ICU soon. Maybe this week. Then he’ll be on a regular hospital ward until the blood is reabsorbed or there is no more danger of stroke, then to an acute rehab hospital near home in Scranton. Full recovery is possible ….the next 18 months will tell. He’s strong, smart and determined. As to your offer, I will probably need your help keeping him in good spirits and around tailgates and 40th reunion.
Thanks for your note and prayers.
God bless the Gorzelniks.
1. THAYER HOTEL STATUS
After weeks working thru our AOG rep, Lexie Davis, a phonecon took place last Friday to meet with the Thayer management to discuss our contract. The Thayer will not move on their rates. Their position is they have already reduced rates by $50 from their standard fall wknd rate. They are a private entity now and they fight to be in the black. The goal was to reduce the wknd rate from $309 to $279 and asked what it would take to make that happen. They offered a plethora of cocktail, appetizer & meal options over the wknd(again pricey). My recommendation to our class committee was not to pressure or obligate our class in smaller groups and instead sign the contract as is with the only contracted Thayer event is the Thursday nite reception. Know that a month long best effort was made, however, it is time to sign a contract so reservations could be made.
The class committee will either approve the request or ask that more due diligence be executed. In either case a contract will be signed by the end of next week and a day and time will be established to begin accepting Thayer Hotel reunion reservations. Look for that date to be between the 15th and the 28th of Feb. We asked that the Thayer be adequately staffed to accept the calls as the rooms will probably book out within hours if not less than an hour. Know that you will be the first group to be notified of the reservation acceptance date/time and a best effort will be made to insure all our classmates have equal opportunity to make that call.
2. OTHER HOTELS/B&B’s/VRBO.com
Through the good efforts of AOG’s Lexie Davis, and my aide, Deb Reast, we have secured 180 rooms within a ten minute drive to post. There are another 80 rooms between ten and twenty minutes from post not counting the VRBO.com opportunities which may offer the best value and flexibility for our classmates’ dollar. Here is the latest updated spreadsheet. http://www.usma1977.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/USMA77_Accommodations_DSR-01.25.17rev4.xls . Again, the recommendation is to book plan ‘B’ room now in the event the Thayer rooms cannot be secured then cancel the plan B room if successful with the Thayer booking.
Rick Lynch offered to reach out to the Supe and share our class wish for a parade. Here is Rick’s note on his conversation with LTG Caslen.
Should the Thayer Award Parade take place on the 5th, AOG will arrange for our class to have our own section in the stands. Please note that the 5th is a tentative date based on the availability of the recipient.
4. THURSDAY NITE RECEPTION
Classmate Scott Anders suggested the possibility of eating in the Mess Hall Thursday nite for the Thayer Award Ceremony. Scott’s idea was run up the flagpole. Here is the AOG note after doing some homework.
On Jan 30, 2017, at 10:08 AM, Lexie Davis <email@example.com> wrote:
Hi Lexie and Marc,
My best guess as of now is that the better option is to have the Thursday nite reception at the Thayer unless we are assured of a close front view of the poop deck in the Mess Hall. will keep you posted.
5. SATURDAY CLASS CENTRIC GATHERINGS
On a football wknd reunion, options are limited but the day’s events are well scripted and it makes for easy planning. This reunion’s Saturday’s offerings will be varied and many. The only class centric offerings to date will be corps squad events. Unlike football, all other fall sports schedules do not come out till late spring. Several of our classmates have suggested rally points, tailgate parties and reception rooms secured for gatherings around rugby and/or sprint football in the afternoon and hockey at nite(near the Thayer). The intent is to do just that so long as the schedule gods look kindly on us.
Greg Gorzelnik, a few weeks back, approached the hockey and rugby coaches to see if they could request home dates for their teams that day. Pls know that should we be fortunate with these corps squad games/matches, we will arrange for tailgates for sprint or rugby and do our best to secure a good size reception room at the Kinsey Center for hockey.
Thanks to all for sharing your support for these ideas.
6. ON POST ENTRY
Pls go to this link to see the latest protocol for on post entry. Important. thanks http://www.westpointaog.org/page.aspx?pid=3201&storyid21242=18269&ncs21242=3&erid=19678618&trid=20477c74-4aec-47aa-b2e7-60cb06accbf3
7. CLASS AUTHORS
Pat Linehan has offered to be the point person to gather a list of works by our class authors. If you or anyone classmate you know has written anything that was published pls let Pat know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our hope is to have a Friday table with copies of our class authors’ books to be purchased and put on our class book shelves at home. thanks, Pat, for taking this on!
8. CLASS GIFT
Please visit USMA77.com to see the advantages of utilizing stocks as opportunities for our class gift. If you haven’t made your gift, pls consider doing so early and often. THANK YOU if you have already given and, if possible, pls send more our way. It is greatly appreciated.
Appreciate you taking on the role of company class rep. It is so important to reach out to our classmates regularly and encourage the best attendance possible for our Legacy 40th. Esprit de Corps!
Disclaimer: I am not a tax advisor, or an attorney, but I’m pretty sure either of those would agree with the below.
If you have appreciated stock or (some) mutual funds, you can donate those to the AOG without first cashing them in. This offers a great advantage to both you and the AOG, and here’s how:
- You will get to deduct the market value of the stock/mutual fund at the time it is donated
- You will not be taxed on the gain, as you have not realized any gain
- As a non-profit, the AOG will not be taxed on the gain when they sell the stock/mutual fund
For example, let’s say you bought stock several years ago for $1,000 and it is now worth $2,000. If you donate the stock to the AOG, you will be able to take a $2,000 deduction (assuming you aren’t otherwise hitting an IRS limit). If you sold the stock and then donated $2,000 cash to the AOG, you would still get the $2,000 deduction, but you would have $1,000 in capital gains which you may owe taxes on. So if you’re considering a generous gift to the AOG and you have some appreciated stock/mutual funds laying around, you will want to research this.
Please consider designating your gift for the “Class of 1977 Fund”.
Greetings USMA77 Classmates!
Esprit de Corps! Our lodging mission is to drive as many rooms as close as possible to USMA. Our social coordinator, Deb Reast, and our AOG representative, Lexie Davis, have performed an exhaustive search for available lodging in the area and have created the attached spreadsheet below. For the convenience of less-experienced spreadsheet users it is tabbed by room availability(updated regularly between now and the reunion), an alpha listing, lodging miles from USMA, lodging drive time to USMA and lodging rates.
Please visit the websites of the lodging sites you are considering. Also included are several bed & breakfast lodges. These work especially well for small groups of (company or team) classmates who prefer a place to themselves.
Also for your consideration is VRBO.com. This is a website dedicated to renting out homes of varying sizes from cottages to estates. You will have all the amenities of home because it is, in fact, someone’s home. Some homes will sleep only 2-4 people while other homes can accommodate a dozen or more folks.
Please make a reservation ASAP. Even if the first option is a room at the Thayer, consider making a plan B reservation now and you can cancel later once your Thayer room is reserved. October on the Hudson is a very busy time, as every proprietor has reiterated. Hotels within 30 minutes of West Point are limited and rooms sell out early. Right now there are excellent choices available to us.
Making a reservation as soon as possible is suggested. Every hotel and B&B has a cancellation policy, in the unlikely event your plans change.
Click here to view and download the updated available lodging opportunities and information. This download is updated bi-weekly. Here is a preview of the spreadsheet:
|Name||Minimum rate||Minutes to USMA|
|Hilton Garden Inn Nanuet||$135||42|
|Crowne Plaza Suffern||$129||38|
|Five Star Inn West Point (IHG)||$146||5|
|Hampton Inn & Suites||$129||35|
|Bear Mountain Inn||$259||21|
|Bear Mountain Inn – COTTAGES||$149||21|
|The Cromwell Manor||$190||9|
|La Bel Worstel||$160||5|
|The Hudson Rivercrest||$175||7|
|Stockbridge Ramsdell House on Hudson||$125||20|
|Overlook on Hudson||TBA||9|
|Four Points by Sheraton||$109||30|
|The Bird & Bottle Inn||TBA||25|
|The Pig Hill Inn||TBA||26|
|The Storm King Lodge||$189||14|
Looking forward to a great Legacy Reunion! Esprit de Corps!
rich trotter, usma77, F-1/G-1
Fellow USMA 1977 classmates – Enjoy this short video selection of photo clips like this one from the Howitzer.
Here’s the video link: http://bit.ly/1UjFXKf
For classmates and members of The Corps who want to brush up on our Alma Mater before next year’s reunion or share in “reminiscences of Benny Havens, Oh!” here’s to Army Blue. Enjoy the lyrics.
Voting has closed for the choice of class gift for our 40th reunion. Your opinions and votes are most appreciated and the class gift will be announced shortly.