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50yr DEROS Anniversary

2021 Night Rustic Reunion

Sirata Beach Resort

St. Pete Beach, FL

November 10th-14th

4 Nights, 5 Days

 

A Reunion

To Remember!

 

See what all we did:

Event Schedule Chart

 


THOSE WHO ATTENDED:

Dave & Sue DeKoker

Tom & Terri Canter

Jim Hetherington

Mike & Lyn Davenport

Frank Sovich

Drake Greene*

Jack & Judy Strickland

Steve & Karin Hopkins*

Don & Jan Dorr*

Bill & Bonnie Lemke

Ben & Cynthia Perkins

Don Mercer*

 

* were only able to attend a portion of the reunion.


 

Zeke’s Reunion Viewpoint:

From the onset in 2004, the Night Rustics decided to hold a reunion every two years, but as normally would have been scheduled, 2020 was not going to work out as it should have for reasons nearly every person in the World knows.  Even in 2021 there was a bit of doubt that anyone would attend then either, but it was the 50yr anniversary from our return from Nam, so I wanted desperately to be able to celebrate that huge milestone. Doubts were quickly erased when our night fighters started checking in to sign up.  I decided to have a different type of reunion structure than usual this time, due to all the stress and fears generated worldwide by our associates of the CDC in DC.  This one was not going to be packed full of attractions to attend as was usual, but to rather set it up as a very relaxing lay-back vacation-like schedule with tons of free time to just hang out at the beach and visit with great, long-time friends.  Since most of us “seniors” don’t have 3 squares a day, the scheduled lunches were dropped and only breakfasts and dinners were planned for the group.  Suggestions for things to do and see were given, however, none of the events were ever required.  Folks could pick and choose whatever they felt like doing and it was a smashing success according to the numerous comments I received from everyone who attended, be it for one day or all four, one event or the whole shebang!

 

I gave a little briefing on our fantastic Resort at the arrival social hour Wednesday at Harry’s Beach Bar and passed out the 2021 Reunion T-Shirts that had been ordered.  Some adult beverages and dinner were had in the outdoor café.  Thursday brought a leisurely noon Buffet Luncheon Cruise along the Inner-Costal waterway aboard the Calypso Breeze.  That being Veteran’s Day, we all donned our Reunion T’s and went to dinner at Crabby Bill’s that evening, we sat 8-9 to a picnic table and had some good old tourist food and were given a generous discount due to our vet status.  A comedy club was suggested for afterward, but no one choose to go.  The next day was a great breakfast at the Albert-Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg city.  The Salvador Dali museum was next door, but no one chose to tour that, some probably went shopping or touring around downtown St. Pete, the new Pier, the Marina or the 96yr old Vinoy Renaissance Hotel.  Friday evening dinner was at a very small and elegant chef operated restaurant, the Mad Fish with Chef Oliver.  The food was top-shelf delicious and beautifully presented.  Saturday brought lots more lazy time until late afternoon when we all met on the rooftop of the Hurricane Seafood Restaurant for a cocktail, which is a great vantage point to view a Florida Sunset, but the cloud bank nixed that for us.  We then moved down inside the restaurant where we had our own room, the Key Club, for our Closing Banquet.  Sue DeKoker, Reunion Assistant, created all the table centerpieces using the design of the brand new Night Rustic Challenge Coin and gold trimmings in honor of our 50 year celebration!  Zeke’s USAF wall blanket was also hung for more atmosphere and individual name cards were placed for each person dining.  Our server was also a veteran and the meal was excellent, again according to all the raves I received following the dinner.  While awaiting our meals, I delivered some personal thoughts regarding all the previous reunions we have held.  I read the names of our 10 departed brothers at arms and a bell was rung once for each one who has passed.  At the end I announced my resignation as Reunion Chairman after 17 years, so then Jack and Judy Strickland immediately stepped up to take over the job from now on.  Several said our final parting goodbyes as some would be hitting the road very early Sunday on their journeys homeward.  Nine of us still managed to meet early the next morning for breakfast at the hotel to eat and say so long!

 

What a great time of just relaxing, sitting in the sun in the sand or at the pool, imbibing for some, eating too much and visiting for all….

 

The Stricklands have vowed to “keep the Reunions coming”, so expect to hear from them in the near future.

 

 

Sue and I wish to confer a

“HUGE THANKS” TO ALL WHO HAVE ATTENDED ALL THE REUNIONS OF THE PAST, AS WELL AS MAKING THIS

50yr REUNION SUCH A GREAT SUCCESS!


See Photos of the Reunion

 


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