I was assigned my Honorary Commander just before COVID, which pretty much curtailed any public events on the Minot Air Force Base. I can remember our first Military Affairs zoom meeting, then MAC Chair Randy Hauck made mention of the many new Honorary Commanders that had been assigned and “we will induct them as soon as things get back to normal.”
As I shared with you last week, my Honorary Commander was Mark McDonald, Chief of Staff for the 91st MW.
In spite of COVID, Mark and I managed to grow our friendship through one on one meetings, albeit we wore masks and bumped elbows rather than shaking hands. As President of the Downtown Business and Professional Association, I would share some of the happenings in Minot’s city government, and he would keep me informed of MAFB events that were worthy of coverage by the Northern Sentry. It was what you would call almost a perfect relationship.
Well, the official Honorary Commander induction for the class of 2020 never took place. As we gradually moved out of COVID protocol (I was quickly schooled on HPCON grades) getting things back to normal, whatever normal was or is, took quite a bit of time and effort. Right now, I can’t really tell you when Mark and I were able to conduct our monthly lunch meetings at Rockers without masks, but it seems like quite some time ago that we last met with our faces covered until our order arrived.
On Thursday evening the Honorary Commander class of 2023 was officially inducted at the Jimmy Doolittle Event Center on base. In itself, the meeting was pretty historic in that the JDL Event Center was one of the victims of the COVID era. For almost two years there weren’t many base/city events. Now within a matter of two weeks we had the Military Affairs Committee meeting (January 5) and the Honorary Commander induction just last Thursday, January 19.
All of the above history is leading to a report of a very festive atmosphere among those who attended Thursday’s event. The JDL staff served a great variety of hors d oeuvres, and there was a dessert table stocked full of great desserts.
The evening started with a welcome from Col Maginness of the 5th Bomb Wing, and ended with Minot Chamber/EDC Chair Kevin Black. Others who shared the podium were Mayor Tom Ross and Col Kenneth McGhee from the 91st MW (Bully).
It may have taken me a few paragraphs to get to the point of my article. There were some Honorary Commanders who met for the first time, and I am betting the conversations that took place were in the category of “seems like we’ve known each other forever, we have so much in common.” There were Honorary Commanders like Mark and I, and our spouses Sue and Cathy (got it right this time Cathy) who talked about grandkids, trips to Minneapolis and California and “how did your Christmas go?” I am pretty positive that the McDonalds and the Wilsons will be friends forever.
So will the many others who were in attendance, including Bruce Christianson who was and still is, very good friends with General Tony Cotton. “You know he was home for Christmas,” said Bruce. I had to laugh because I have been trying to get an interview with General Cotton for quite some time.
Honorary Commanders certainly are important to the relationship between the City of Minot and the Minot Air Force Base. But more important is the relationships that will last far beyond Thursday evening. Never been an Honorary Commander? Well call the Minot Chamber/EDC and get your name on the list. Pretty sure that I can guarantee that your Honorary Commander will be a friend forever.
How Can It Be?
Take the time to read Amy Allender’s article in this week’s Northern Sentry. I have to chuckle because yesterday I spent most of the day scraping snow off my driveway, with gloves or without a cap. Well, it was a warm day in Minot. Days where the mercury rises above 32 degrees in January give us hope that spring is just around the corner.
Best Kept Secrets
Ft. Stevenson State park continues to offer winter activities for the whole family. Snowshoe trails, fat tire bike rentals, and wildlife viewing, just to name a few of the activities they offer. Less than an hour away, just south of Garrison, ND.
Ole and Lars go ice fishin. Ole pulls out his new thermos and Lars says to him, “Ole, whatcha got der?”.
Ole says, “Well Lars, dis here’s a thermos. It keeps hot tings hot, and it keeps cold tings cold.”
After a while, Lars gets curious and says, “Vell Ole, whatcha got in dat der thermos?”
Ole says, “Vell Lars, I got a popsicle, and two cups a coffee.”