October 13, 2021
Dear Members of the West Point Society of Naples,
It is a special honor to serve as President of the West Point Society of Naples (“WPSN”). Our Society continues to demonstrate a commitment to excellence through the generosity, aid, encouragement and participation of you – its members of The Long Gray Line, parents, volunteers and local cadet candidates. The geographical boundaries of the WPSN cover an area from Sarasota south through Collier, as well as Hendry and Glades counties so our adopted motto “Serving Graduates throughout Southwest Florida” is truly appropriate. This past August, your WPSN once again was awarded the Distinguished Society Award. This marked the 20th consecutive year the WPSN has earned this award. On behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you for all your support!
I would also like to acknowledge and thank Garrett Dietz ‘73, our outgoing President. In the last few years and throughout the unique challenges they presented, Garrett’s tireless efforts and steady leadership have ensured that our society is solidly positioned to serve its members. When you see him, please let Garrett know how much his leadership was appreciated.
We are excited to be returning to in-person events beginning in November with a Fall Luncheon in Fort Myers. The Army-Navy football watch party at Bokampers in Naples will return, as well as the Annual Meeting/Luncheon and Founders Day celebration held at the Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples. Please make sure to bookmark our website www.westpointsocietyofnaples.com and/or keep an eye on your in-box for WPSN event announcements and R.s.v.p forms from Cathy Speer our essential and devoted Secretary.
As graduates we understand the importance the Honor Code played in our development as officers. The USMA Honor Code simply states that “[a] Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.” We learned to believe in and lead by the principle of honor during our time as cadets. Non-tolerance is what moved us to action and ensured evil was not allowed to take hold. The defense of Truth is intended to be written into the DNA of every graduate of USMA. It is by supporting and participating in the development of virtuous character in these young leaders that we can sustain hope for the future of our nation and Army. This is what makes our Society and its primary mission to find worthy candidates for admission to the Academy so vital. Through the effort of assisting in the development of strong leaders of character, we help build and protect the traditions, values, and commitment necessary for our country to be strong and free.
The USMA Field Force in SWFL covers Florida Congressional Districts 16, 17, 19 & 25 and is led by Russ Schott ’91 (south) and Marty Bowling ’68 (north). The Field Force team of volunteers is currently working twenty-five cadet candidate files from Congressional Districts 19 and 25 and forty cadet candidate files from Districts 16 and 17. There are currently forty-seven cadets at West Point from SW Florida. In addition, there are two SWFL individuals attending USMAPS and one individual in a WPAOG-sponsored Civil Prep. program for the Class of 2026. The West Point Parents Club of SW Florida is headed by Tanya and Mike Sheffield. The Sheffields’ son, Noah, is in the Class of 2023. If you are interested in volunteering or helping either of these teams, please contact me and I will put you in touch with the appropriate point of contact.
The WPSN Board of Directors works closely with both the Field Force volunteers and the Parents Club to ensure we are focused on supporting our cadets and finding the best cadet candidates in our area. These efforts are possible in part due to your generous gifts of time and treasure to the WPSN. Many of these volunteers will be attending our in-person events in the coming year so take advantage of those opportunities to ask questions and get to know each of them.
In the next few weeks, you will be receiving an invitation to renew or complete a membership form. Our dues have not changed in the last twenty years. Your membership contribution and any additional donations are greatly appreciated and necessary to our efforts of supporting the United States Military Academy at West Point, local graduates and spouses, cadets and candidates. Every donation helps! Last year the WPSN added the ability to accept stock or mutual fund donations in addition to the traditional cash or cash equivalent donations by members. If this is something you are interested in doing to help our efforts, please contact me or our Treasurer, Keith Basik ’87, for details. The WPSN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your donation is tax deductible.
I look forward to seeing and speaking with you this season. It will be enjoyable to once again share memories and experiences of our time at West Point and while serving in the Army. I wish you all the best for the future.
GO ARMY! BEAT NAVY!
/s/ Christopher Y. Williams
Christopher Y. Williams ‘87
President, West Point Society of Naples
IMPORTANT DATES TO NOTE:
November 17th – Fall Luncheon
December 11th – Army Navy Watch Party
January 29th – Annual Meeting & Luncheon
March 10th – Founders Day Dinner