Montgomery County Retired Teachers Association holds November meeting

The November 8th meeting of the Montgomery County Retired Teachers Association was called to order By President Kathy Steele. Kathy Steele led the Pledge of Allegiance and the invocation was given by Jerilyn Yerkes. The membership acknowledged and thanked the members who served in the armed services. Birthdays of members were read and President Steele read a quote by Peter Marshall about freedom: “May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right. President Steele also offered some thoughts on veterans as people who served each and every one of us in difficult circumstances. We owe them our respect and gratitude.

Vice President Kim Nixon introduced our speaker retired professor Tobey Herzog. He thanked the teachers for their service to the community. He told his personal war experience in five chapters. While working on his professional track to become an English Professor, he was drafted into the army during the Vietnam War. His Chapter One is the experience of being at Fort Gordon in 1968 and working in personnel and administration. He then learned of the lottery in 1969 in which he would not have been selected because it was based on birthdates and his was not chosen. He was sent to Vietnam and talked about the experience of servicemen in that era.

In Chapter two of his experience he was back in Indiana finishing his PHD and becoming a professor at Wabash College. He had students who talked about relatives and the war so he began teaching about it through literature teaching a course titled “An Introduction to War Literature.”

In Chapter Three Professor Herzog began writing books of the Vietnam experience and by 2018 had written four books focusing on war writers such as Tim OBrien and others.

Chapter Four of his life of war literature focused on Listening to stories of the war experience. Herzog did a documentary of interviews of local war veterans. This was part of a project of the Montgomery County Historical Society. It was very well appreciated and copies were given to the families of the people interviewed including women who had served in Vietnam.

The fifth chapter of his experience of the war occurred in May 2014 when he attended his retirement party. During the party he was presented with tickets to go to Vietnam with two guests. He and his two sons visited the places he had experienced during the Vietnam conflict.

Professor Herzog said that many lessons had been learned in the time he was in Vietnam and studied and taught about it. He said that strong bonds are established between enlisted soldiers and that politics plays no role in their relationships. He also said that when you thank veterans for their service that you should seriously consider their sacrifices and ask what you can do for them.

In the business meeting President Steele announced that the IRTA had awarded a $500 Active Teacher Grant to Cassandra Bever, a teacher from North Montgomery. She is the area four winner. She will use it as partial tutition for the Breathe for Change program. It is a 200-hour yoga teacher training program. She will use the skills to provide classes for teachers and students dealing with stress and trauma.

The minutes of the October meeting were read and approved. Larry Manlove gave the treasurer’s report which was also approved. Lynn Robison reported that the books had been audited and that everything was in order. Jan Armbruster read a thank you from the Family Crises Shelter and asked people to get their volunteer hours to the committee by December. A collection will be taken for the Blue Star Mothers. Kim Nixon said that money from the MCRTA had been sent to the Youth Service Bureau. The Member concerns chairman Mary Lefebvre reported that cards had been sent to shut-ins and to a member who was ill. Next month Christmas cards will be sent out to shut-ins.

Legislative Committee Chair Diane German gave the members contact information for Dr. Tim Brown and Phil Boots. The members were asked to contact these legislators to inform them of the need for a 13th check which we did not receive this year.

Debbie Howard announced that we have a new member, Rosemary Stutzman. We now have 196 members. There was no report from Constitution and By-Laws or Nomination Committees.

President Steele introduced Colleen Page from AMBA who asked all who need help with insurance to give her a call.

President Steele made an announcement that the new county administration building will need new art work to be donated or purchased from local artists and donated. Contact her if interested. The meeting was adjourned and door prizes were awarded.