By Charles Snee
The annual general membership meeting of the American Philatelic Society drew a packed crowd of more than 160 people Aug. 5 during Stampshow 2017 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Va.
Among the highlights was the awarding of medals to 13 society members in celebration of a half-century of affiliation with the nation’s largest stamp club.
Mick Zais, APS president, draped the medals around the neck of each 50-year member before posing for a picture with each person.
Here are the 50-year APS members honored at the meeting (in alphabetical order): Shirley S. Damon, Richard B. Darmon Jr., Kenneth O. Eastman Jr., Eric R. Edgerton Jr., Clark Frazier, Gary Hendershott, Fred Hennemann, Richard L. Johnson, William P. Latzko, Roger E. Nicoll, Jerry S. Palazolo, Richard A. Peterson, and Stephen J. Tauber.
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Twenty-three APS members received a certificate and pin recognizing their 25 years of membership in the society. They are: Frederic S. Boatwright, Joseph F. Chytil III (deceased; award accepted by his wife, Janet Chytil), Gregory R. Ciesielski, Charles Denno, Andrew S. Dzuracky, David R. Fadness, Thomas A. Fontana, William C. Fort III, Donald R. Geisler, Roger Grider, George A. Kuhhorn, Matthew E. Liebson, Nicholas A. Lombardi, Richard D. Martorelli, Stephen B. Pacetti, David J. Reedy, Richard Rizzo, Lewis Smith, Charles E. Snee IV, Dennis D. Swanson, Charles, C. Wooster, Oliver K. Wyrtki, and Joseph Zec.
Earlier in the meeting, Cathy Brachbill, director of education for the APS, recognized the next generation of upcoming philatelic talent when she introduced the 2017 and 2018 members of the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship.
The trio in the fellowship class of 2017 were honored with certificates of completion and a copy of the Encyclopedia of United States Stamps and Stamp Collecting.
Sommer DeRudder, who is headed to Stanford University in the fall to study economics, was the USPS Federal Union Fellow. She pursues the stamps of Germany and wrote about Canada stamps in the July 2017 issue of the American Philatelist.
Central Atlantic Stamp Dealers Association Fellow Ian Hunter graduated from high school earlier this year. Brachbill noted in her comments that Hunter described his YPLF experiences as “exhilarating.”
Hunter developed his own dealer business plan, along with Connecting The World of Philately, a website devoted to seeking synergies to expand the hobby’s reach and scope in the digital age.
Jessica Rodriguex, the Lauson H. Stone Fellow, focused on developing strong collecting networks from coast to coast. Her single-frame exhibit titled “Costa Rica: 1889 Soto Series” received a large vermeil medal at Stampshow 2017.
Brachbill then introduced the incoming 2018 YPLF class: Anastasios “Tasos” Kalfas, Donald and Bonnie Lee Fellow; Darren Corapcioglu, Lauson H. Stone Fellow; Dani Leviss; Kathleen Meagher Fellow; and Victoria “Grace” Rogansky, Michael M. Oetken Fellow.
Scott English, executive director of the APS, then announced the 2017 winners of the Nicholas G. Carter awards for exceptional volunteer contributions.
Ed Andrews was recognized for his volunteer efforts at the national level. Carter awards for local volunteer support were presented to Ed Laveroni, Guy Purington, and Ann Wood.
Charles Epting was honored as the outstanding young philatelist for 2017.
APS staff reports followed, with APS President Mick Zais leading off with an upbeat assessment of the society’s financial health. “Our finances have never been better in my memory,” he said.
Bruce Marsden, APS treasurer, backed up Zais’ positive comments, saying the APS was “mostly ahead of budget” for the first six months of 2017.
During his remarks, English acknowledged the challenges faced by the more traditional wing of the hobby that focuses on going to stamp shows.
“Time and illness are our enemies,” he said, noting that more must be done to attract those collectors in the 35-to-45 age demographic.
He emphasized the push to invest in more technology, with the goal of making the APS the “go-to resource for philately.”
“We are embracing our community and keeping it together because of the generosity of our members,” he said.
In keeping with a longstanding tradition, J.J. Henry, the APS member with the longest tenure (member No. 30648) present at the meeting, made the official motion to adjourn the meeting.
Updated Aug. 9, 2017, to include the names of the 50- and 25-year APS members recognized during the meeting.