NAUI's 50th Anniversary celebration

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Posted by Dr Samuel Miller,111 on April 06, 2010 at 05:38:12:

NAUI 50 Anniversary celebration

March 2010

About a month ago I received a special richly engraved invitation to attend the NAUI 50th Anniversary celebration to be held at the new NAUI Head Quarters building in Jacksonville, Florida. It was not just a invite but a invitation to an all expense paid trip to the event.

I was certainly free and available but do to several circumstances I like to travel with a companion; My dear wife was the first choice, but since she has her doctorate in school finance and budgeting and in view of the current California school crisis was booked up with conferences and seminars, second choice was my son who is a NAUI Life member and a Hyperbaric doctor was a logical second choice, but he also was booked solid.

With total dismay I telephoned NAUI and expressed my regrets that I would not be attending. At 8;05 the next morning Jim Bram the president of NAUI called and immediately stated "I will not take no for an answer, I want you to attend, I am sending Mike Dusnst the former SoCal district manager to accompany you." "But he has moved to Texas" I replied. "That correct! He will fly into California and accompany you on your trip, so get your bags packed!" he commanded. I did and Mike accompanied me.

The trip was interesting worthily of at least several paragraphs, but that story will need to be deferred a the dark of the night over a cool one.

I walked into lobby of the hotel right in to the middle of the "California section." Setting around a table were octogenarian instructors ; Harry Vetter, NAUI #4, Nick Icorn NAUI # 431,Glen Egstom, NAUI # 937, Home Fletcher NAUI #1833 and two past NAUI directors Art Ulrich, NAUI #601and Sam Jackson NAUI #2972. Greetings were exchanged and space was made for me to join the venerable circle of vintage instructors. The twice told stories were told and retold each time the embellishments made them better that the previous telling,

At 3:00 PM the General meeting began. As one who can recall the humble genesis of NAUI I was surprised at the number of instructors from all over the world in attendance-- and how young so many appeared.

Immediately after the general meeting there was a champagne cocktail reception on the patio. A time for pictures and renewing of old friendships and cementing of new friendships. I was joined by Dave Woodward, NAUI # 29 who hadn't seen in 35 years who now resides in snowy Colorado.

On to a Jim Bram personally conducted tour of the new and very exciting NAUI headquarters building. What a building! Modern with all the latest electric technologies with the light blue color and the NAUI "Wave" a a general theme though out all ares. So very very impressive!

Their was only one word for the banquet-- Fantastic! The quality, quality and variety of food was equal to a Las Vegas buffet. we heaped out plates and settled in. Once again the California Mafia had their own table; Glen Egstrom, Nic Icorn, Tommy Tillman ( son of LA Co & NAUI founder, the late Al Tillman,) Zale Parry and your truly.

The informal program began with a trivia question which I immediately blurted out the answer and won a prise.

Harry Vetter, former diving buddy and veteran LA Co Underwater Instructor and as the oldest living NAUI instructor # 4 singled me out for special recognition as NAUI Instructor # 27 as one of the the oldest living NAUI instructor and the oldest NAUI instructor in California- where it all began. The recognition spot light was some what embarrassing but also concurrently ego satisfying.

It was a night and an event that the participants didn't want to end but to every thing there is a beginning, a middle and an end. As the oldest California NAUI Instructor my life and my diving has been enriched as one who has experienced the beginning, the middle, but the end is many years in the future and I suspect that I nor the readers of this post will never see the end of NAUI.

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