Dear VAHS Members,
First, I want to introduce myself to those of you who may not know me. At the Annual Meeting on March 28th, I was elected the new President of the Venice Area Historical Society. For some of our longer-term members, you might say "He's back!!!" Yes, I am and looking forward to working with a tremendous board and off-board committee chairs this coming year on a range of activities being performed by the Society.
Before I get into such topics, however, my heartfelt thanks to the truly outstanding job that your outgoing ("Acting," as she would say) President, Brenda Holland, has done in providing unplanned leadership when, as Vice President, she needed to take the reins following the unfortunate resignation last June by our late President, Carolyn Redlin. We appreciate the way in which Brenda picked up the flag, so to speak, and forged ahead to keep the Society's efforts on track. Well done, Brenda! Fortunately, Brenda has agreed to become Treasurer in the coming year, so we still have access to a very skilled person on the board.
Well, we're off to a new year and a number of things continue to evolve as we begin this new period. For one, thanks to the efforts of our Program Chair, Betty Intagliata (more on her later), there are two more programs on the schedule of our lecture series. Plans are being formulated for a new season of programs that will commence in October.
I also want to recognize all of our many member volunteers, a dedicated group of people who serve in different ways to promote the history of our area. The centerpiece of that effort for VAHS has been, since 2003, the Historic Venice Train Depot. From that time, our docents have provided access to the Depot and the Rollins W. Coakley Railroad Park for over 34,000 visitors. Beyond that, we are now well underway with a marvelous new addition that will be coming to the park to keep company with our red Caboose -- the Circus Train Car. See article below for an update.
This year, we'll be collaborating with other history-related organizations in preparing for the county's 100th anniversary in 2021, working jointly with others on Venice area historic preservation policies, and continuing to provide informative presentations to local groups through our Speakers Bureau. If you read, see, or hear about something that we do that sparks some interest, please contact us. We can always use more help.
Finally, we are excited about our fund-raising Victorian Tea planned for April 9 by Joan High--see the article below. We also urge all members to participate in the Giving Challenge, presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. To be held on May 1 and 2, it's a 24-hour donor activity in which each donation will be matched up to $100 by the Patterson Foundation! It's a great opportunity to contribute to the Circus Train Car. See below for more details.
Enjoy the Spring Season!
Clarke Pressly, President