James W. Etherton Detroit Chapter 82nd abn div assn family picnic 2011
2011 Family Picnic
Where friends and family gathered to share good times, stories, tall tales and good chow.
And when chow was on, you didn’t have to tell anyone as we all lined up and had plates full of everything, from hot dogs and burgers, to chicken, every kind of salad you can imagine, cakes, cookies, chips, and all anyone could ask for. Nobody went hungry.
Our resident chef Col John Walus worked all day to make sure everyone was satisfied, and satisfied we were. Out in the hot sun all day he never waivered, and everyone was more than happy…and full.
We had skydivers who were skilled beyond words. Larry Franks with 4500 jumps is an AFF Instructor and Free Fall Coach.
Who came in for a perfect landing close to the target, despite the wind. Everyone’s hearts were lifted and excited. Excellence in the happening.
Pat Solar, long time member and jumper with 8200 jumps, World Record Holder, national and state record holder, and free fall coach among other recognitions.
And comes in for the landing easy as can be. High form for the ground winds coming in off Lake St. Clair.
And Art Farley with 900 jumps in 7 years, video artist, and free fall instructor.
Close to the target in perfect stand up style. We’re proud of our jumpers and everyone applauded and was appreciative. Took your breath away.
We had robots. These are the same robots they use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Each robot has a unique capability and is designed to be fully capable and maneuverable. These also starred in movies like “Hurt Locker” and others and were “movie stars” in their own right.
They were big hits with kids and adults alike, who spent all day taking turns maneuvering them around the area all day.
Leonard Zazula with Dave Reed in the middle and Ron Wills with whom Leonard served in the 505th but neither had seen each other in over fifty years, renewing old memories and good times. Dave and Ron are from the Mid Michigan Chapter who drove all the way in just for the picnic.
Past President Jerry Halkey was there coming all the way from Tennessee just for this picnic with posters, shirts, pins, hats, and more, with finances to help the chapter. Always in good form.
With John Sullivan having a great time with family and friends. John served with the 82 nd during WWII and “lost all his equipment on his first jump.”
Arno Whitbrand having a great time. Arno served with the 101 st during WWII and was a gliderman making Holland amongst other campaigns. Arno has had a chance to revisit those old battle grounds with tours run by our own Steve Mrozek.
Walt Propotnick decades long member of the chapter puts a full page add each year in the national convention magazine along with Jerry Halkey honoring those from our chapters who are no longer with us. They don’t seek recognition using only their initials and never their whole names. Unsung heroes. The caliber of men and women in our chapter.
Members, family and friends of 425 Regimental Association were on hand to share in the festivities (though that’s Tino Madrid from the Toledo Chapter in the yellow shirt and the grin) and helping make it one of the best picnics ever.
The 555 th PIB Assn was there with a static display that was fascinating to all covering the history of the unit and many chapter members when they were “younger.” Everyone was impressed with the work, the history and the display.
Our new “James W. Etherton Detroit Chapter, 82 nd Airborne Division Association flag took its first standing in honor next to the American flag and the 555 th PIB flag. Your chapter did good. Jim would have been proud.
And our original chapter flag will always fly out front, reminding us from whence we came and this picnic originated. It will always fly at our picnic, our installation of officers party, and our Christmas party alongside our new chapter flag. Over 200 members, families and friends attended and shared love, laughter and memories. Many worked behind the scenes to make this successful as those did who came before them. We will never forget our history, and our history making members. God bless everyone and hope to see you again next year. As always, everyone’s welcome.