Live Free USA
Fiftieth Annual Meeting Report
While we had planned to make this meeting a celebration of our fifty-years of leadership in survival and self-reliance, we just did not have the resources and the time to put an event together. We did have lots of photos and memorabilia on hand including photos of media helicopters landing at our original American Survival Education Center in Wisconsin. Jim Jones put together a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the evolution, history and achievements of the organization since 1968. Some time was devoted to a review that founding year and the chaotic and violent conditions that generated the survival and self-reliance movement. Most of the issues of that era remain today and continue to generate conflict. The presentation concluded with a list of unfinished or stalled projects that Live Free still hopes to regenerate in the coming years. They are:
- The American Survival Education Center: We once had 40-acres of wooded land in Wisconsin developed as a survival education center, but were forced to sell it because of lack of support. We did this by member contributions and doing car-washes in the 1970s. We have far more members and supporters today. Surely we can get contributions and grants to acquire land and develop such a facility today?
- The Certified Survival Instructors Program: We established requirements, certified instructors and issued certificates and brassards in the 1980s, but just did not have enough help to keep the program going. Nowadays this would be a website and some records maintenance.
- The Annual Life and Freedom Award: We have issued this plaque and recognition periodically, but not annually. Candidates need to be nominated, publicity needs to be generated and then a buzz needs to be generated in the survival/preparedness community. Nowadays the internet and social-media could be used to make this a major PR program for Live Free. Anyone?
- Safety and Security Group: Most organizations have a Sargent at Arms. Live Free once had a well-established and trained security group that provided security at our events, trained for camp and survival defense operations and provided training in self-defense, home-defense and related issues. This element of survival capacity has deteriorated and needs to be reestablished with a strong, well-lead core group.
- Other issues: We have zero sponsors or advertisers! As a 50 year-old, established, tax-deductible organization that’s hard to understand, but someone should be working on that issue. The Survival Medics Group is functioning, but needs more support and participation. It should have its own website and/or do more with the page it has on out americansurvivor.org site. There is no doubt that we could improve the newsletter, but with just one very busy couple writing, producing, labeling and mailing it alone, we are just able to do what we do now. The current editor stated that anyone volunteering to take over the American Survivor must do so (including, mailing and posting) permanently as he will not take it back once it has been reformatted.
State of Live Free
Jim Jones reported that Live Free finished 2017 with a balance of $8,837.41. This is a gain of $486.31 from the previous year. He noted that only thirty-percent of our income was from membership, while over fifty-percent was from book sales earned by just a few active members. Total contribution was a paltry $154.50. Membership was down about ten-percent, but trending up at years-end. In 2017 Live Free did three major preparedness expositions, nine gun shows, and two survival seminar programs. We currently have two preparedness expositions and Camp Independence planned for 2018. We are scheduled to do seven gun shows at Crown Point Indiana, but have free tables available to us throughout Illinois if we can find volunteers to man them. We also hope to get help with the tables at South Bend shows.
Election of Officers for Three-Year Terms
Officers are elected for three-year, overlapping terms. This year the Vice President, Treasurer, and one Director were for election. The elected officers are:
- John Boch reelected as Vice President*
- Marie Jones reelected as Treasurer
- Michelle Augustyn newly elected as a Director
At the end of the meeting Jim Jones announced that he is resigning as President of Live Free USA effective January 1st 2019. He reminded all that he had accepted reelection in 2016 with the understanding that he would not complete the three year term. He further stated that he would not call the next annual meeting, file the reincorporating papers or completer the IRS tax filing next year, but will continue to do the newsletter, and speak at expos if requested by the directors. He also offered to serve as a director if nominated, but will not accept nomination to President or Vice President in the future. This leaves the organization with the task of reorganizing a bit in the next ten months. This opens the door to younger members to step in and build a new organization on the resources and foundation of the most respected and well established survival/self-reliance advocacy organization in America.
I think it is for the good of the organization that I step back a bit and let others make Live Free their organization. I have plan “A” for my full support of a vibrant and growing Live Free USA run by active members and directors and I have a plan “B” to draw-down membership and activities over a two-year period if necessary. I have a few ideas about reorganization that I will present by this autumn, but the future of Live Free USA is (as it always has been) up to you, the members.
* John Boch resigned in order to leave the Vice President position open to other more able to devote time to the tasks at hand. John is a major administrator in the Guns Save Lives organization and is fully occupied with the issues of gun rights at this time. He continues to support Live Free USA as an active member.