April 2009 President’s Report

By Ira Pollack


            In this month’s newsletter article I would like to thank the outgoing Board of Directors for their service to the Museum for the past two years. The Board has had many new challenges before it with many different decisions to make, all for the growth and benefit of the DRM.  At this time I would like to also welcome in the new Board members to their two-year term. As usual all have much work ahead of us, and there are not enough volunteers to cover everything that we do or need to do. We have shortages of volunteers everywhere - at the Front Desk, on the train crews, in the railyard – take your pick. The Museum needs your help; it needs you to come forward to help sustain us through these lean volunteer times. The weak economy has also affected the DRM, but I am hoping that local people will come to see us instead of traveling long distances. We must be able to market our product and reach out to the Greater Fairfield County regions, by offering a fun, inexpensive getaway.

            I would like to announce that Pete McLachlan has come forward to fill the Volunteer Coordinator position. Peter will be responsible for meeting the new volunteers, then steering them towards areas of their interests, and integrating them into our system. I wish Pete well with this very important position, and will help him in any way that I can for its success.

            In other news, I am in the process of negotiating with the City of Danbury and State Department of Transportation to extend our lease in the yard. I feel that we need a better time buffer than what exists now with our lease. Time will tell, but last week we did meet with the City Attorney to help us expedite this extension of time with the State.

            We also have received a material or coal conveyor from Mr. Bill Ratajack of Brewster, NY. This typical type of railroad artifact was delivered during March, and will fit very nicely next to our coal pile. It was originally used along the Maybrook Line in Brewster to load trucks with material dumped from hopper cars. My thanks go to Mr. Ratajack for this unique donation to our collection of railroadania.

            In closing my report, I am very proud to say that the DRM is 15 years old as of March this year. What a story it has been, from its early beginnings on Ives Street, to occupying the station, to receiving our first piece of rolling stock. I was there in the beginning, with all of those great expectations of what was to come and what a rail museum would mean to me, my family and friends, the city, and of course, the railyard. I could not believe that Danbury was going to have a Museum, and I had to be part of it. So much has happened in these years. Look at what we have become, look at all the hard work that was done to get us to this point. It is truly amazing what has happened here. My only regret is that some of those early members are not here to experience what we now have today. Those people had that strong passion for our success, and I guess it is that same love that keeps us all going today. We must remember back to those early days, but always look ahead to our future, to what we must do to continue the legacy of our founders and success of our Museum.

            Happy Birthday DRM!