TI Retiree BBQ & TIRET 20th Anniversary - September 24, 2009

by Israel Morales, Club Historian

All the planning and preparation for the Club's 20th Anniversary Celebration as part of the TI Evening for this year was well worth the effort. We had hoped for a great night and with the exception of the delay in getting everyone seated we got it

The sign-in went smoothly with some of the board members, Charles & Sylvia Slanina, Don & Lynn Stefan and Mary Lee & Howard Cameron manning the tables. After the sign-in tables there were easels with posters offering some historical club information gathered by Israel Morales about the beginning of the club and the initial members roster. Going into the cafeteria Lonnie Buckner passed out door prize tickets while Nora Morales gave each attendee a small measuring tape as a memento - perhaps to measure the club's 20-year long existence. As they walked into the cafeteria retirees could see the Texas themed table decorations which had been made by club member Estella Garcia and setup on the table with the help of Marian Gruber and Lynn Stefan. As the guest retirees entered the cafeteria, they continued their socializing with former workmates they hadn't seen for some time. There were a lot of handshakes, hugs, and laughter as former workers ran into each other.

We had an enthusiastic crowd that marked their spots on the tables and continued their visiting. Although not expected, provisions had been made for an overflow crowd and some later arriving retirees were directed to the auditorium until the seating situation could be evaluated.

Once the seating was evaluated and adjustments were made, the food line was opened up and again the guests took advantage of the opportunity to continue their conversations. Who could blame them, they were seeing co-workers which they hadn't seen in no telling how long! They talked and laughed all the way to the serving tables and then some.

The barbecue consisted of chicken, sausage, and beef served with sides and deserts of potato salad, beans, and pumpkin and pecan pies along with a beverage. If anyone went home hungry it wasn't because there wasn't enough food. There was plenty and it was excellent! As the guests dug into their meal the sounds subsided and the cafeteria got quieter - for a while.

Bob Gruber opened the program with a hearty welcome, announced the evening's schedule and also mentioned that we had a record attendance present. First on the program was Angelica De Los Santos of Human Resources. Angelica praised the Retiree Club and had a big surprise for the retirees, a video recording from several corporate officers congratulating TIRET on their 20th anniversary.

Bob then introduced the PRYME TYME DIXIELAND JAZZ BAND + KAY EMBERG - the evening's featured entertainment. Their music was good and appreciated. The guests tapped their feet or gently slap their knees to the beat of the music. The band received a loud applause that continued until they played one more song as an encore.

Next was the presentation by the Club's Historian Israel Morales who opened his presentation by reminding the guests that this night was made possible by the founders of the club 20 years ago. He thanked Burt Bassham and the cast of hard working early club members and followed by recognizing the 19 surviving members of the original 68 who signed up in 1990 and held continuous club membership for 20 years. Of these members only seven were able to attend. Those attending were recognized by having them stand. They were Dorothy Cobb and husband Paul, Nita Davis and husband Bill, Abe Abdalla and wife Connie, W. D. Cross, Bob Fagan, and Russell Timm.

Lynn and Don Stefan were recognized for being the longest serving committee members in club history. Lynn has been Editor and Don has been distributor of the the club bi-monthly newsletter the VIGOR since 1995. An engraved mantel clock was presented to them for their hard work and dedication.

Israel followed with a short talk on how the club was founded twenty years ago by "founding father" Burt Bassham. A booklet titled the "20th anniversary of the Founding of TIRET" was presented to all TI Retirees or their surviving spouses.

Before going on with presentation of free gift certificates to local restaurants, president Ralph Garcia gave thanks to all the volunteers for helping with the different assignments.

He gave special thanks to Historian Israel Morales for the great job he did for assimilating past data about the club from 1989 - 2009 which resulted in a booklet given as a memento to all retirees attending the event.

Ralph also thanked Bob Gruber, chairman of the TI Evening for his excellent job in making sure all the pieces fit together and the right assignment and jobs were carried out to have the successful evening.

Before the giveaway of door prizes, the members were asked to patronize some of the establishments that also donated extra certificates or gift cards to be given away that night. Included were Lopez Mexican Restaurants, TGI Fridays, Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse, Applebees, Chilis', Olive Garden and Pappas restaurants. The lucky retirees who won the door prizes were Dan Church, Opel Kuykendall, Eurlene Hines, Sally Anderson, Estella Garcia, Gwen Butler, Brenda Redman, and Charles Slanina. The table decorations remaining were raffled off and won by a person sitting in the chair designated as the winner.

The night was a huge success because of the contributions of the following club members:
Charles and Sylvia Slanina, Don and Lynn Stefan, Howard and Mary Lee Cameron as they signed in the guests at the door; Lonnie Buckner giving out door prize tickets; Nora Morales passing out favors; Estella & Ralph Garcia and Marian Gruber for decorating the tables; Israel Morales preparing the posters on the easels; Lawson Cook helping photograph the evening; Tom Johnson for signing up new members (18 at last count); Bob Gruber program cordinator; Israel Morales with the 20th Anniversary Presentation; Ralph Garcia for the hours spent in obtaining the door prize certificates that area restaurants donated.