August 2006 Presidentís Report

By Ira Pollack

††††††††††† Hope all is well with you this summer.

††††††††††† To start off my report to you this month I will recap the presentation we had on July 14th in the yard. A reprint of my speech is included for those of you who couldnít be there for this small but important event. I wanted to thank the people responsible for their help in getting the 44-ton locomotives to our Museum, and also promote what we have to offer as a museum to our guests.

††††††††††† We began the day with a quick tour of the building, the layouts, displays, gift shop, library, etc. We then took a ride on the #41 RDC Budd car to the turntable, gave rides, and finally made our presentation at the roundhouse area. After my speech, Con-gresswoman Nancy Johnson spoke words of praise about the Museum, followed by speeches by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, and Mike Toner, Vice-President of Marine Operations at General Dynamics. I think everyone had a grand morning celebrating the occasion, but more than that, celebrating our Museum and what it is. Many thanks to our staff who also made this day possible by being there that morning.

††††††††††† Good morning. On behalf of the Danbury Railway Museum, I would like to welcome: Congresswoman Mrs. Nancy Johnson, The Honorable Mark Boughton, Mayor of the City of Danbury, Executive Vice-President of Marine Operations at General Dynamics in Groton, Mr. Mike W. Toner, members of the press, and volunteers and members of the Danbury Railway Museum.

††††††††††† We have gathered here today to celebrate and thank all those involved in saving the two General Electric 44-ton locomotives from extinction. Through your help and determination we have successfully preserved two pieces of our railroading past, and of our Stateís industrial heritage. We truly appreciate your considering us and thinking of us for this most gracious donation to our Museumís growth and future.

††††††††††† I must say that this is and was quite a story or saga right from its inception over six months ago. With many false starts and misconceptions, we were able to persevere with the support and help of many of the people here today. I will add though that not everyone who participated in this project could attend todayís celebration, and my thanks go out to them also. I would like to acknowledge Peter Richter and Pete La Bouliere of CDOT, Bob Walkup and Dave Ritcowski of Providence & Worcester Railroad, Bob Bass of the Housatonic Railroad, and Pete Holmberg of the Bethel Fire Department. These were people behind the scenes who, like me, had a vision of saving these locomotives.

††††††††††† Our initial plans for the locomotives are to assess them mechanically, and to put ďCarolĒ or NH 0814, into our rail yard tour service. As time and finances permit, we will do the same with ďDianeĒ, the ex-Union Pacific locomotive.

††††††††††† In closing, once again, I thank you all for your continued support in this project and your support for the Danbury Railway Museum.

††††††††††† In other news, we are still in dire need of people coming forward to volunteer in the same areas that Iíve been writing about for several months now. We still need someone to coordinate our volunteers and deploy them into our many different departments. The Museum must stay open, but without front desk staff during the day, the doors will close. It has been an embarrassment to us all that we have had to close early a couple of times in the past several weeks. The Museum also needs someone with marketing experience to come forward to promote the Museum on a regular basis. Advertising and marketing our product is so very important for our continued growth and financial stability. I must also let you know that we must have a more stable training program for our new train crews. Itís very hard for me to tell a new volunteer to wait until I can find someone to train him; that tells that person that thereís really nothing there and that volunteer doesnít come back again. What a loss! Iíve said this time and time again: itís the volunteers that make or break this organization. I, as President, need your help. Please come forward to help us grow.