The President’s End of Year Letter
From Rik van Hemmen
Dear Members and Friends,
In 2023 Navesink Maritime Heritage Association continued to do what it does so well. We ran our well known programs and events, such as River Rangers and our presentations, with excellent attendance. We also added new successful events such as a Sunset Cruise on the AJ Meerwald in August and participation in “Weekend in Old Monmouth” (with an associated member reception) in May.
Chuck Abel led the effort to finish the Grover House foyer, allowing us to further extend the public sections of Grover House. For 2024 we hope to make some headway in the living room and fit it out as a larger meeting room and library. Chuck also took the lead in the replacing our original River Rangers trailer with our v2.0 River Rangers trailer.
Lynn Fylak has soldiered away at the various grants that extended our understanding of the land and water-based history of Monmouth County. Soon we will have some new, informative outside displays about NMHA, the Grover House and the Grovers. Steven Schwankert has joined our working board and Lynn and Steven now anchor the presentation and historical interpretation branch of NMHA.
Joe and Connie Cali-Poutre have vastly expanded our social media presence, leading to increased membership and program participation and as well as co-promoting events organized by like-minded organizations and sponsors.
On the environmental front, we had highs and lows. Highs relate to the continued improvement of our wildlife, but on the low side the false accusations of whale deaths due to offshore wind were the beginning of a general slide in the advancement of sustainable energy with the, hopefully temporary, death of offshore wind.
Slowly the country is organizing for the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence celebrations. NMHA is closely following these efforts as we prepare our own initiatives for this important event, and we will provide updates in the coming year.
We continue to chip away at our efforts to construct a boat-building barn on the Grover House property. We have secured a $100,000 donor and hope to find more donors, large and small, to be able to start construction soon.
I would like point to our efforts at refining our backroom processes which are so important for the continued success of organizations like ours. Board members Mary, Michael and Bob have done a huge job cleaning up our databases and financials. They have confirmed that NMHA is quite healthy and well positioned to continue its mission of Discover, Engage, and Sustain.
I thank the board members and the volunteers who have supported our programs. Hopefully even more volunteers will join us in 2024 in our mission to Discover, Engage and Sustain, very much with a focus on the fun of doing it.
Very truly yours,
Rik van Hemmen, President