My Last Article as a National Officer – Bruce Smith, National President 2018-19

Hello Brothers and Sweethearts!

This is last article that I am required to write. But, like I wrote last month, I am sure I will be checking in with all of you when the mood strikes me.

I first want to thank all of my brothers and their sweethearts for such a memorable journey through the chairs.   The love and brotherhood I received everywhere I journeyed in PDK land was phenomenal.   I would like to thank my Chapter, Beta Nu, for their moral support as I traveled.  A special shout out to PNP and Emir Jim Myers for being my travel buddy on most of the adventures.   Jim’s heart is into Phi Delta Kappa more than anybody I have ever been around.

I was blessed to have several other PNP’s at Beta Nu to bounce my ideas and receive guidance from.  Thank you to Brian Nelson, Greg Sumpter and Jon Handy.  All of the brothers I have spent time with in the chairs have been fantastic.  They taught me what I need to do and how to do it.   I have leaned on and learned from brothers Chris Linsinbigler, Craig Brutout, Jeff Woolf, Chris Parks and Greg Trombly quite a bit over the years.

I have built many wonderful friendship that will last a lifetime.  Scott Dull, although he never liked me (LOL), has become a fantastic friend and mentor.  Pappy Reid is another PNP that I bounced many of my ideas off of.  All of the officers under me are learning the ropes and will do the Fraternity well as they move on up the ladder.  Hopefully they can each improve PDK every year until the end of time.  God Bless you all.

I wanted to go over some of the things in my life that have changed since I got in the chairs.  When I started I had two grandchildren, Lilly and Myles.  That number is now SIX!  Kamryn followed by Grayson, Carson, and Creighton joined the family.  My youngest child, Alex, got married to a wonderful and smart young lady.  I am very proud of all of my children and their spouses.  I love my family!

I am so blessed my dad became a brother at Delta Nu.  I also was able to put a 50 year pin on his friend Pete Martin in Plymouth this year.  Beta Eta came to Kokomo to initiate my dad.   It was incredibly moving just sitting back and watching the initiation by THE BEST ritual group in all of PDK.

I listened to several of the PNPs to get the Spring SEC back on the road at a neutral site.  I decided to do that when it was my time.  We now have had two great weekends in the Smoky Mountains.  I am looking forward to see where Doug Leach picks for next year.

I got the opportunity to get back into coaching baseball after a 10 year absence.  I love baseball and I love coaching.   I had the idea to get the 20/20 into a national bank (PNC) to make it easier for everyone after me to make deposits and not have to flip banks every couple of years.  It seems to have worked out nicely.

I missed an article once and I wanted a fix so that it would never happen again.  The SEC came up with emailing our article to each other and the editor.  That way you get six reminders to get your article into the editor!  It seems to be working well.

Sadly I saw two Chapters close their doors for good during my VP year.  Since they were both Indiana Chapters I kind of took the reins on both of the closings.  We brought all of the Marion brothers into Beta Nu.  Emir Buck Rodman from Beta Beta joined the brotherhood at Delta Nu.

I have witnessed the outstanding charity work that the individual chapters do grow each year during my years in the chairs.  We picked St. Judes Children Hospital as our National Charity.  I have seen many great brothers step and take care of all kinds of issues and problems at their chapters.   I have witnessed several chapters find new charities to help out and spread the massive amount of love to others in need.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my wonderful wife Sarah from the bottom of my heart for all the love, support, traveling (booking the flights, rental cars and hotels) other help and proofreading my articles during my journey.

It has been my pleasure to have been given the opportunity and the support as I made the journey of my lifetime through the National Officer Chairs.  Seven years and it seemed to fly by.  I LOVE the Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity and I will continue to do whatever I am called upon to do.  I will jump in if I see a problem and I can help fix it.  I am a very blessed man!    I hope you all have enjoyed my monthly articles for the last seven years.  It has been my pleasure to serve you all!  I  hope to see many of you at the National Convention in Kokomo this July!

Until next time remember to tell your loved ones every day that you love them.  Hug a brother and get involved.  Proud to be a Phi Delta Kappa!

Am I Really Almost Done? – Bruce Smith, National President

Hello Brothers and Sweethearts!

This is my second to last article that I am required to write. Trust me I will always write articles when the mood strikes me. I enjoy writing more than most do. I enjoy talking too, as most of you already know. I do want to thank all of the National Officers for not missing any articles this year. I forgot to email mine in once in my seven years. I felt like horrible about that mistake. We came up with a system at an SEC meeting to make sure it should not happen again. So far it is working well. That is what I like about problems, there is almost always a good fix when good minds get together and work it out.

The Chapter Chase is in the books again. Thank you to National Master of Ceremonies, Doug Leach, for getting it all set up. Thank you to Beta Eta for bringing the majority of the travelers. Thank you to all of the Indiana Chapters for your fantastic hospitality. I missed the stops in Peru and Plymouth due to my baseball coaching responsibilities. I apologize to both of those chapters. I was hoping to be able to do the whole chase again this year but a quitter made it impossible.

We did have a third coach this year to help us out. He got his feelings hurt and quit. A week or two later his son quit the team. It just reminded me of something my dad told me years ago, and that was “Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win!” That mentality still follows me into all aspects of life.

I know this is also very true when it comes to fraternal matters. If enough of the brothers quit caring about their Chapter it will fail. If there are no new members to take over for the ones that do it all now surely that Chapter will fail. I am not a quitter, sometimes when I really should quit I still continue to battle and try to win. It all comes down to how much you care and appreciate what you are fighting for.

I love our Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity. I will continue to work to better the Fraternity for as long as I draw a breath. I love the brotherhood. I love traveling to other chapters. I love the events and the charities we support. I just can’t see my mentality for success ever changing. How about you? Do you believe in PDK enough to continue to fight the good fight? Do you care enough to step up your game to help your chapter and the fraternity as a whole? I sure hope you do. We need your support. False allegiance is really not acceptable now, is it?

I hope to see many of my brothers and sweethearts in Kokomo for the National Convention in July (17th to the 20th). I am sure Beta Nu will put on a great convention. The convention tells me that it is getting close to my time in the National Officer Chairs to be done. Next month I will convey some of my final thoughts as a National Officer in Phi Delta Kappa. It may be my longest article ever. Then again it just may be tears on the page.

Don’t forget to buy your 20/20 tickets from any National Officer. Some really need to get their allotment of tickets sold. National VP Todd Gullett is our best salesman when it comes to 20/20 tickets. His salesmanship has helped out with all of the SEC members travel expenses over the years. He has made it possible to donate extra money to our National Foundation and St. Jude’s and other charities. Thank you to everyone that buys the 20/20 tickets to help support the SEC brothers, the National Foundation and St. Jude’s. It is people like you that keep the fraternity growing and doing the great work we do.

Until next time remember to tell your loved ones every day that you love them. Hug a brother and get involved. Proud to be a Phi Delta Kappa!

Here Comes The Fun!

Hello Brothers and Sweethearts! It sure was a fun time down in Florida at Seralago.   President Chris Lawrence and his FL Alpha Lambda brothers made sure everyone and everything was well taken care of. There was plenty of delicious food and beverages to keep us all wet and well fed. The best part is still the fun of sitting around listening and talking to so many different brothers. One thing a Phi Delta Kappa brother can do is tell a story that can keep you captivated.

The Saturday morning meeting had 51 brothers in attendance! Wow that is absolutely fantastic! It was a great meeting, fun and informative. Thank you for letting us Yanks attend this great weekend event. Brother Chris Lawrence told that this weekend used to be called the “Yankee Retreat” I will say to get out the cold Indiana winter, even if just for a long weekend, is a true blessing! The love, fun and most of all the brotherhood is what make PDK so special.

At one point late in the afternoon on Saturday Brother Pat Martucci turned the music down and got everyone’s attention. He said something along the lines of “Hey look around! Nobody has their nose buried in the cellphone! Just groups of people sitting around talking and laughing!”   By God he was right! Granted this was not a small crowd of people either. This type of fun is why I love PDK!

Early in the morning on February 9th Sarah and I along with Brian and Chiquita Blunt took off in Brian’s van and headed South and East to Winchester for “The best all you can eat breakfast in America.” We were not disappointed one bit. This was a twofold visit. Later in the evening Beta Eta was hosting their annual Sweetheart Dinner and Dance.   After breakfast we dropped our dress clothes off at Scott and Diana Dull’s “And the Horse You Rode In on Ranch”.

We then took off exploring East Central Indiana. We had fun chatting, jamming to some music and ended up in Muncie at a pawn shop. We did get back in time to rest and then attend the evening event. As they always do Beta Eta hit it out of the park with the evening festivities. The prime rib dinner prepared by PNP/Emir Scott Dull and his crew was delicious!   The party was in honor of our National Sweetheart, Beta Eta’s own, Brenda Woolf!

The after dinner program began by introducing all of the dignitaries in house. This included all of the past Chapter Sweethearts at Beta Eta. Heck even their past princes were also introduced. Congrats to all! After the program the Sean Lamb Band had everyone up dancing.   It was another fun and fantastic night of PDK love and brotherhood. I am so blessed to have PDK be such an important part of my life.

Sarah and I love the fun we get out of traveling to different cities and different Chapters. We always have a good time with our brothers and their sweethearts. If you get a chance please get out to another Chapter for one of their events. I bet you will have FUN too!

Until next time remember to tell your loved ones every day that you love them. Hug a brother and get involved. Proud to be a Phi Delta Kappa!

Happy New Year Brothers and Sweethearts

Hello and Happy New Year, brothers and sweethearts.

Sarah and I had a fantastic trip to Mississippi Alpha, The Hospitality Chapter. We left on Thursday afternoon after I got off of work. We drove and got south of Nashville, TN and then found a descent hotel to sleep for the night. Friday was a day I was looking forward to on this trip. Most of you that have talked to me understand my love of music.

The side trip was to Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The 3614 Jackson Highway Muscle Shoals Sound Studios was our destination. This was/is the home studio of The Swampers. These guys recorded some of the best music ever recorded. We had a tour of the facility and the recording studio. It is Rock and Roll Heaven, Man. I was surprised at how small the studio actually is. Ask me details when we meet and I can fill you in. Google The Swampers and you will understand my obsession with checking this place out.

After this side trip we journeyed on to Meridian for their Chili Cook Off. Friday night was spent at the Chapter House catching up with old friends and making some new ones. Beta Eta, Winchester sent a good group of brothers and sisters down to Meridian too. Dang that was a fun night! Saturday was the cook off. It had been raining in Meridian for several days. The back yard was kind of a muddy mess. All of us Indiana folks had to get some boots or cheap shoes to slop around in the mud. The tickets allowed us a chance to sample every different chili there. There were some interesting flavors made by the chefs. I liked all of them. Outer Guard Nate Moore and his wife Hannah won the completion based on votes by all of those who sampled the chili. Congratulations, Brother! White Trash Chili was the ruler of the day. There was a band playing some Southern Rock, country and straight up rock and roll. It was a fantastic afternoon. We stayed at the Chapter House until late in the evening. Thank you so much to all of the brothers and sweethearts at Mississippi Alpha for such a wonderful time. You deserve the title of The Hospitality Chapter. It was bittersweet not seeing PNP Greg Trombly’s smiling face at his Chapter House. R.I.P. brother Greg, we really do miss you.

The following weekend we had our first Northern Brotherhood Meeting in years. Kokomo, Beta Nu hosted the meeting. I wanted to get this meeting back up and running. The attendance was about what I expected because of the less than one month notice. I think everyone enjoyed the meeting and the brotherhood. The discussions were worthwhile and the time was well spent. We will keep this going! Thank you Beta Eta for all of the brothers that traveled to Kokomo.

I waited until our We Care Weekend was finished in Kokomo to write this. This year our collection total was a bit off from last year. The total collected was $11,600.00! Of that $1,892 was in change, yep, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Thank you to PNP and Emir Jim Myers for all of the planning and get the brotherhood involved. I sure wish more Beta Nu brothers would do their part and help out.

We lost brother Don Hicks to a fast acting cancer. Don was a great brother at our Chapter and was also a brother of PNP Otis Hicks. Don was such an upbeat and cheerful man. He will be missed by all of us. Beta Nu did the funeral ritual at Don’s funeral. This is such a moving ritual to see and hear. My Beta Nu brothers did a very beautiful and heartfelt reading for Brother Don. You did a great job, brothers.

I hope everyone out there had a blessed Christmas and the start of a Happy New Year! God Bless you all and your families. And God Bless PDK! Until next time remember to tell your loved ones every day that you love them. Hug a brother and get involved. Proud to be a Phi Delta Kappa!

Merry Christmas and All That Jazz

Merry Christmas and All That Jazz

By Bruce Smith, PDK National President 2018-19

Hello brothers and sweethearts. Sarah and I had a wonderful trip to Florida Alpha Lambda. We flew in early enough on Wednesday that I was able to attend their business meeting in the evening. President Chris Lawrence ran a great meeting.

The Chapter was putting the finishing touches on the Pasco County BBQ event for that coming weekend. Every brother at the meeting volunteered for a task to make sure everything was covered for the weekend. I was able to sit back and watch the brotherhood take on such a monumental task with ease. e brotherhood working together in unison made me very proud as National President.

This was my first trip out of Indiana since the National Convention. I cannot accurately describe the feeling one gets when they are treated with such respect and pampering. All of the brothers made sure that Sarah and I were well taken care of. It is almost embarrassing for a man like me. I have never been in a position to receive the truly kind, caring and loving treatment I received at Alpha Lambda. Thank you brothers, I really felt the brotherhood and the love from you all.

The cooking event on Saturday was unreal. Emir and PNP George Taylor will have a full report on the event. One of the bonuses of being the National President is that I got first dibs on the meats after the judges were done with their sampling. My God, those teams sure did cook up some of the best chicken, ribs, pork medallions and brisket I have ever eaten. I would recommend going to this event to any PDK brother or sweetheart. Again, thank you Florida Alpha Lambda for making this humble Indiana guy feel like a King for several days! You guys ROCK!

It was so sad to hear about the passing of PNP Greg Trombly. I spent five years in the SEC chairs with Greg. It would be hard to find anyone that loved to travel more than Brother Greg. His enthusiasm and love for Phi Delta Kappa was off the charts. His smiles and hugs will be missed by all who ever took the time to get to know him. R.I.P. my brother, my friend.

Christmas will almost be upon us when this magazine gets to your hands or computer screen. This is the time of year that families get together and share their love of each other over meals, drinks, caroling and present-opening. If you know of a brother or sweetheart that may be alone on Christmas please open your heart and your home to them and show them some love. God Bless you all and your families. And God Bless PDK!

My article next month I will fill you all in on our trip to the Hospitality Chapter in Meridian Mississippi. I know the brothers and sweethearts will show us a great time. I love traveling to PDK events and meeting old friends and making new ones. What could be better than that?

Bruce Smith

PDK National President 2018-19