I Almost Met President Carter

TACF had a great restoration event at the Carter Center in Atlanta on February 16.  It was well attended and very well done by the GA Chapter.  Of course, we were honored to have former President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Carter in attendance. 

Since I had never met a President of any standing, I was prepared to chat it up with President Carter.  After all, he wrote a whole chapter in one of his books about a guy I know very well, and he has been fishing for decades the same waters I grew up fishing in central PA.  We were gonna bond, I was sure of it.  Call me naive because that’s what I was.  They don’t feed a man of President Carter’s age and fame to the wolves at public functions, and rightly so.  His entrance and exit were tightly controlled to limit the stress on he and Mrs. Carter, and it was really perfect.  As he left, he had to walk by my seat, so I stood, shook his hand and thanked him for coming.  I’ll take it!

President Carter spoke with great authority on his affection for chestnuts and the TACF mission (see picture).  He was impressively sharp and never missed a beat with no notes.  We really appreciated the fact that he cared enough to come and speak. 

So President Carter, maybe I’ll see you on the trout waters.  Thanks for supporting TACF!

 
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Thanks, Essie.

This week, longtime Secretary of the TACF Board of Directors Essie Burnworth died of cancer in Washington state.  I barely knew Essie, having met her only last April, but to know Essie at all was to love her. 

I took Essie to the airport in Buffalo in late October following TACF’s annual meeting where she was honored for her years of service and bid a fond farewell, as she was relocating to the Seattle area from Maryland to be closer to her grandchildren. I don’t believe at the time she knew she had cancer. 

 I considered taking Essie to the airport an honor then, but even more so now as it occurs to me I was one of the last, if not the last, TACF person to see Essie.   During our drive to the airport, Essie asked me about my family and told me about hers.  She gave me some advice based on her experience. Essie oozed wisdom.  How I wish I had really known Essie Burnworth.  How I hope that her grandchildren really knew her.  I’m certain they loved her.

A Thousand Words Paint a Picture

 

A "Wordle", created from the response to the question "What words come to mind when you think of TACF?".

TACF recently conducted a survey of a subset of its members to get a feel for how we can better serve our members and volunteers.  From the question “What words come to mind when you think of TACF?” the above word picture, or “Wordle”, was created.  We were amazed at how, with one glance, you can get a feel for what TACF is all about.  The bigger the word, the more often it was used in a response.  Needless to say, there are some encouraging words here.

But more importantly, after carefully looking over the results of the entire survey, we were hit right between the eyes with some feedback that was not so flattering.  This is extremely valuable information.  We are talking about this feedback and discussing ways to improve our service to our members and volunteers.  In fact, we are constantly talking about how to be more helpful to those who do so much work on behalf of the American chestnut.  

Thanks to those who responded – it was an outstanding response – and thanks most of all for your honesty.