October/November 2009 Presidentís Report

By Ira Pollack


††††††††††† This month I will offer you pre-holiday greetings. It is hard to believe that I am starting to see Christmas decorations going up already. I feel that we should be in the middle of June or July because time has flown by much too quickly this year. By the time you read this the Museum will have held our annual Pumpkin Patch event. This yearís event was very successful in spite of the, yes, poor weather that seems to plague us every time we try to do something outside. My thanks go out to the many people who dedicated themselves to running this event over the three weekends that we do it, and especially to Sue Teer who is the Coordinator of this important Museum function. Many of you do not realize the enormous number of hours that are spent setting up for this type of event, with its decorations and all of the little details that must be done to make it successful. My compliments to all of you.

††††††††††† In the yard we are starting to wind down some of the work that has been going on there this year. The trackwork, which is an ongoing project, helped extend our operations for the Railyard Local on Track 42. Again, I would like to thank the people that came out to help me regauge the 200 feet that needed to be done. This was backbreaking work, but it is one of the necessities of running our railroad. I am hoping that we can continue this program, and, if possible, I would like to try to spend one day a month just replacing and upgrading our trackwork. I know this sounds crazy, but we need to do this on a regular basis. I think I would be content with replacing 5 ties at a time during one of these sessions, weather permitting. We have made this a little easier on ourselves by using the backhoe, jackhammers, and compressor to help with this work Ė a definite godsend. I am also trying to sustain these pieces and keep them running for our maintenance work. This, in itself, has been quite a challenge for me, with the older equipment that I have to work with. I just wish someone would come forward to help me maintain what we have. There is nothing worse than having a crew of people ready to work, and then have that machine that we desperately need suddenly die on us. More frustration!

††††††††††† This past season had many frustrations for me as President. There were many success stories, but there were many disappointments for me. The Museum still moves forward, even at a snailís pace. Sometimes I just wish that we could work together as a team and work toward the same goal, putting our egos and personalities aside and work toward that goal. I saw this happen with the trackwork when we pulled together and accomplished our goal. I know it can be done. Years ago we had a member who would help us paint, but would only do yellow paint when and where needed; I still see that mentality existing with some of our people. It is a funny analogy, but think it is very accurate and appropriate. What I have tried to do in the yard is for the good of the Museum, for the safety of our guests and volunteers, and the growth of our organization. Some of the things that I am doing I really do not want to be doing, but I see them as needed for our progress. Cleaning up the yard is a good example. It has been long overdue, and now, after many dumpsters have been filled, has made a difference in the appearance of the yard. I also feel that we must remain diligent in keeping it that way, although sometimes I feel like it is a losing battle.

††††††††††† In closing my report this month, I wish you all well, with a good prosperous and healthy holiday season that is before us. Talk to you next month.