By Bob Lubonski President, Atlantic Division, TCA Summer-Fall 2014
Editor's Note: Convention Pictures were taken by Ed Beaver, Alan Craig, Ed Gerson, Carl Olson, Philip Smith, Glen Stinson, Mindy Taylor, Tom Wagner, Bob Wittendorf, and thanks to the many, many people who worked so hard on this!
It seemed like the day would never come. What day? June 21st, 2014, the first day of the National TCA Convention hosted by the Atlantic Division.
Four years of preparation and finally it was “game time”, Saturday June 21st, the first day of the convention held at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Here came the TCA members checking in to the hotel and stopping by the AD registration desk that ran flawlessly thanks to Russ Keil, AD Vice President and Registration Chairman. The first of the scheduled tours went out and ran as planned thanks to Mike Ramsey, AD Treasurer and Tour Chairman, along with his Committee. At the end of the day Russ and I commented that it was “One Down” without any problems. Little did we know that the week was to get better and better as it went along.
Russ Keil (pictured left) did such a terrific job as AD Registration Chairman, that he was immediately appointed National Convention Guidelines Committee Chairman at the conclusion of the convention
Each day the tours went out and returned on schedule with the happy tourists. Every day we received comments on how everyone was enjoying the tours and the selection of sites to which the buses took them.
Operating layouts were set up by various clubs while Bob Robinson and Glenn Stinson organized some magnificent static displays. These depicted railroads and toy trains tied to the Philadelphia area.
Then one of the highlights, the Wednesday night Welcome Party. The Crowne Plaza provided us with a most wonderful “Taste of Philadelphia”, Cheesesteaks, Hoagies, Soft Pretzels and Tastykakes. To top off the night the AD made arrangements for about twelve members of the Quaker City String Band to perform at 9 PM. My wife happened to see them getting ready and commented to me that there were about fifty of them in the lobby. She was close. Forty-eight members showed up. What a time. For the rest of the week all we heard was how much everyone enjoyed the surprise of the string band.
Thursday night we cruised the Delaware on the “Spirit of Philadelphia”. Another great time. Great food and great sightseeing! Of course, we had planned perfect weather for this evening so all could enjoy the Philadelphia skyline at night, the Battleship New Jersey and the Ben Franklin Bridge lit up. Another round of accolades for this event.
The week continued to go by with flawless tours and events. Saturday, June 28th seemed to come quickly and we closed out the week with the Convention Banquet. Bill Erskine provided us with wonderful entertainment as MC. Another great meal from the hotel staff and a live auction. What better an auctioneer to have but our friend and AD member Ted Maurer? A lively auction ensued with many great items. One of the highlights for me was the Gold Banquet Caboose that sold for $900.00.
All in all we continue to get comments such as “The best convention ever”. It was certainly rewarding to see that the attendees enjoyed themselves after the long months and hours of planning and meetings.
I want to personally thank all of the members of the Atlantic Division Convention Committee and volunteers that helped make the 2014 TCA Convention the major success that it was. For anyone that missed it, you missed a great time. Thanks to everyone that came and helped us celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the TCA, ”Where the TCA Began”. Would we do it again? I’d say yes, but not in the near future, it was a lot of work, but as it turned to be well worth it.