25 - Year Anniversary Banquet
Our 25-year anniversary banquet was held on Saturday, September 10, 2005, and served as our September meeting. Rick Evans director of the W. A. Gayle Planetarium, in Montgomery, graciously allowed us to use the facilities for the banquet and the presentation that followed. This date fell within two calendar days of the actual first AAS meeting, 25 years ago. Our special guests, Keith Hudson, founder of the Auburn Astronomical Society, his wife Carolyn, and daughter, Mandy, were there from Florence AL.
Society members began arriving just after 5:00 to meet and mingle . We all enjoyed seeing each other and getting to know the families of our members.
Rick and staffer, Jennifer Dobbs, outdid themselves decorating the planetarium for us. The tables and chairs were already arranged for the banquet -- each table with its own window view. Stars and planets adorned the tablecloths, and the scrolling banner sign made note of our special day.
Following welcoming remarks from AAS president, Rhon Jenkins, we began eating at 6:00PM. Demitri Polizos and his staff from the Capitol Grill in Montgomery, catered the event and served as we processed down the buffet line that included: grilled chicken, roast beef, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, and a broccoli / cauliflower mix; rolls; bread pudding for dessert; and tea . Rick had made coffee available as well. The following members attended the banquet:
Joe and Kathy Albree; Glynn and
William and Janet Baugh, and daughter, Olivia;
Susie Cook; Jeff Graves; Mike Holley; Keith and
Carolyn Hudson, and daughter, Mandy;
Joyce Jenkins; David King; Eddie and
Liz Kirkland; Ray and Ann Kunert; Chuck and
Bette Lewis; Jim and Kayla McLaughlin, and son,
Sam; Patrick and Susan Moylan; Allen and
Screws; Gail and Marvin Smitherman; Russell and
Cathy Whigham; and John Zachry.
With appetites satisfied, we adjourned to the auditorium. Larry Owsley and Audrey Carr from Auburn, joined us for the program at 7:00PM.
With house lights dimmed and stars projected overhead, Rhon presented Keith with one of the AAS shirts as a token of our appreciation for his vision and leadership in the early days of the society. In his acceptance remarks, Keith thanked us for carrying on the tradition that he had envisioned.
At this point, Rick asked Rhon to remain up front as he presented to Rhon, in the society's behalf, a proclamation from Governor Bob Riley, designating September 10, 2005, "Auburn Astronomical Society Day". It was at Rick's urging that the proclamation was issued. Thanks to Rick for doing this. What nice surprise and a thoughtful gesture.
Next, yet another surprise from Rick. On the dome was projected a 15-20 minute Power Point presentation set to appropriately astronomical music, with images of the society's past, including many of our members and friends, in sync with the music, .
Following a heartfelt round of applause for Rick's tribute, Rhon introduced our speaker, Dr. David T. King Jr., who gave a an excellent presentation on the Wetumpka Meteor Crater.
David began with an overview of the conditions at the site at the time of the impact. The shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico covered the area 80-83 million years ago. He described the composition and angle of entry of the carbonaceous condrite asteroid, comparing the size of the asteroid to that of Jordan-Hare stadium, in Auburn, and the awesome devastation to the entire region that ensued. He then went on to describe the rebound and crater wall formations. Conclusive proof was collected in 1999 when shocked quartz was found in the core samples of an exploratory well.
David's presentation was interesting and informative employing attention grabbing graphics and presented in primarily lay terms for the benefit of most of us there. His talk made liberal use of analogies and every-day comparisons to help us cope with the otherwise incomprehensible statistics. At the conclusion of his presentation, David entertained questions from our group.
Special thanks to David for working us into his busy schedule. He left early Sunday morning to attend a geological conference in Tennessee.
Special thanks as well, to Rick Evans who had a long day -- traveling to Talladega for another commitment and returning in time to host our event.
And, to our officers: president, Rhon Jenkins at the helm; vice president, Allen Screws; and treasurer, John Zachry, who have kept us going for most of the past 25 years, our grateful thanks for jobs too often taken for granted.
And finally, and most importantly, our eternal thanks to Keith
without whom, none of this would have ever happened.
Here are a few more images from the day: