On Friday night, 7 December, CAPT John C. Laible relieved CAPT Joseph R. Valenta as Commander of NOUS Northwest in a festive ceremony held at Arnie’s Restaurant in Mukilteo, WA.
As the founding force behind NOUS Northwest, CAPT Valenta steps down from his post in the organization, which now claims a membership of 37 companions with several applicants in the pipeline! That number is a major achievement under Joe’s leadership as the organization will celebrate only its second year of being chartered on 17 January 2019.
The upbeat evening at Arnie’s Friday night was a testament to the camaraderie and avid interest in our maritime history that has been built over the past two years. We now look forward to John’s leadership going forward and invite all prospective members from Washington, Oregon and Idaho to contact us for membership details.
Turning to our maritime heritage during the evening, Joe led the group in a remembrance of 7 December by describing the two aerial waves of attacking aircraft at Pearl Harbor. We also raised a toast to the life of fellow NOUS companion President George H. W. Bush, the first recipient of the NOUS Admiral of the Fleet George Dewey Award.
Joe recognized this year’s Northwest Commandery recipient of our Service Excellence Letter of Recognition as Harry E. Stengele, our Recorder who has just been appointed Treasurer. The letter recognized Harry’s outstanding contributions in making our first two years a great success. His can-do attitude and continuous efforts to keep companions informed, grow our ranks, and assist with all events, were instrumental in forming the Northwest Commandery. Congratulations to Harry!
During the After Dinner program, Joe also recognized our delegates who attended the 2018 Congress in San Antonio: John and Cricket Laible, Harry and Nancy Stengele, Gil and Sherry Beyer, and Joe and Cindy Valenta. A great representation from the Northwest!
Also covered during the evening were our plans for the 2019 Discussion Group, which is currently being finalized by Capt Valenta who will chair the group for 2019. One feature we intend to implement is a video conferencing capability for distant companions to be able to join in these discussions of current maritime subjects. No matter where you live in Washington, Oregon or Idaho, we hope to have increased participation in our Discussion Group meetings!