President's Blog

President’s Blog: Happy December Alumni!

Happy December Alumni!

For those who weren’t able to make it out to the November meeting, the Drone Team presentation was quite remarkable! It was very interesting to see some of the drones and hear about what they are used for. It was pretty neat to see how far the Drone Team has grown in just a couple of years when they first visited my class during the Academy. Great presentation!

We had a lot to cover at the November meeting. For those who missed it, the Board unanimously voted and recommended, and the members present at the November meeting voted to approve moving forward with the Trophy Case purchase! YAY! Total cost for the project is $9,996.60; which includes delivery and set-up by the craftsman. The reason we are able to purchase this Trophy Case is due to the hard work and efforts exhibited by the Alumni through fundraising activities. Mucho Kudos! This is FANTASTIC!

This is a project that we began discussing early this year; there were some difficult challenges in finding someone who was willing to and who had the time to help us with this project. Multiple vendors were contacted; however, being that this is a smaller project, the majority didn’t have the time or resources to assist. Other hurdles encountered were material costs and product availability. Being that we discussed looking at the possibility of purchasing a nicer product rather than a ‘shelf’ product; it was important to receive input from the members if the amount to purchase a quality product was something the Alumni wanted to do. Thankfully, with the recommendation of Steve Meyer, we were able to recruit Dave Hoag, Catskill Hill Country Services. Dave is an avid supporter of Law Enforcement and was more than happy to assist us with our project; he has been very gracious to work with and understands the importance of a long-lasting piece that will stand the test of time. One of our Alumni, Ken Tolces, requested to discuss lighting options with Dave as Ken has extensive experience with lighting and wanted to ensure the cabinet is lit well; he will be meeting with Dave next week to look at some possible lighting arrangements. The lighting had already been calculated into the cabinet cost, so we’ll find out if anything is different after Ken meets with Dave and have any discussions and/or make any decisions that need attention at that time. I for one am very excited to be moving forward with this project! The Trophy Case should be completed in 12-14 weeks so around March/April. Gary Anderson will be contacting media and we will have a special presentation to the HCSO when installed; members will be notified and can plan on attending. A plaque will be affixed to the case to show it was donated by the HCCSAAA. Not only will it be a beautiful addition to the PSB, but it also ties into our desire to improve morale, and it is something the Alumni can be enormously proud of because it took blood, sweat, and tears to achieve. YAY TEAM!

I had a great meeting with Sheriff Cutler this week to discuss boosting morale among other things. He is tremendously supportive of the HCCSAAA and was very open to ideas about how the Alumni can make a difference when it comes to morale. I let him know we would be passing out small Christmas bags next week to all staff and he was extremely appreciative. Being that he is in Law Enforcement, he understands the importance of what even the smallest gesture can do to let people know they are thought of and appreciated. I’d like to brainstorm for 2022 to see what we can do throughout the year to ensure we continue these types of things as I wholeheartedly believe they make a significant difference.

The Christmas bags were kind of a last-minute thing so coordinating was a little rushed this year; I’d like to thank those who have donated items for the bags; I know they will be greatly appreciated! This is something we will talk more about when we are planning for 2022 to ensure adequate planning time and/or funds.

Everyone should have received a copy of the November meeting minutes earlier this week/also should be posted on our website. Two significant things I’d like to point out are:

1) Based upon input from members, 90% approval from those weighing in, our monthly meeting date has changed to the 3rd Wednesday of the month beginning in January (first meeting will be on Wednesday, January 19th).

2) Annual dues have increased to $20 per year and are due in January; payment can be made via Venmo, check, or cash at the January meeting. Annual dues have not increased in multiple years; the dues we pay as members go into the general fund and go toward funding our mission which is to promote and enhance the relationship between the community and the HCSO through engaging in and advocating for continued law enforcement education, supporting and promoting special projects as identified by the HCSO. Yes, your contribution through dues along with your amazing support of fundraising efforts has helped secure such things as rugs for the PSB lobby, a practice casket for the Honor Guard, a long-wanted trophy case to display trophies earned by HCSO that have been sitting around for years collecting dust in a storage box, food for the Kyle family event, and food for Brown Santa Lock-up Event. Your contributions go a long way and are greatly appreciated!

It has been brought to my attention that some members may have felt left out of the loop on the funding for the Brown Santa Lock-up event; if that is the case, I apologize, it was not the intent. My understanding is that this is something the HCCSAAA has helped out with for many years. Serving fajitas was discussed at the November meeting; however, the cost of doing so was a concern as meat costs are way up and the cost for doing fajitas would have been $1,600 which was too much. The Brown Santa team was looking into more cost-effective options and being that the event was to be on December 3rd, when the cost came in for the food on 11/22 (125 servings each of Tortellini Alfredo and Baked Ziti w/meat sauce, salad dressing, plates/to go boxes, water, and parmesan packets – additionally, Texas Roadhouse will be donating the salad and Fazzoli’s will donate the breadsticks) the Board weighed in and unanimously approved the cost not to exceed $1,000. My understanding of how the Lock-up works is that people get locked up and make bail (minimum $250); those locked up eat for free (i.e.: DA, Sheriff, Constable, Commissioners, Businessmen/women) others will be charged for meals. This fundraiser supports Brown Santa.

My understanding was not that the support of spending the money wouldn’t have been there, it was the fact that it was not run by the members first; therefore, they were not provided the courtesy of weighing in on the cost and/or to approve spending a certain amount and that the Board made the decision to approve the amount/charge without first consulting with members. This does happen from time to time due to time constraints and the Board will not approve anything without considering the best interest of the HCCSAAA as a whole; this was not an intentional slight, it was just TCB.

That being said, at the request of Jack Diamond, an item to discuss how these types of decisions are managed moving forward so we can all remain on the same page has been added to the January agenda for discussion. Jack proposed that members should vote on a dollar amount that the Board can approve to be spent on the HCSO without Alumni approval. The Bylaws that were reviewed/approved last year do not address this; it would be something that would need to be incorporated if it were to be something members desire moving forward. Please be thinking about this for discussion in January as it is important to talk about to ensure we are the most effective moving forward as a team.

Based on input from members, we should have the first run of the Alumni directory up and running on our website after the first of the year thanks to Steve Meyer and Ruth Diamond! The more in-depth version will be planned to launch by the end of the first quarter. This is something that has been requested for awhile so I’m delighted that we can get it up and running!

Brown Santa is in full gear with many activities and events going on throughout the community; anyone wishing to donate items or purchase raffle tickets, information is posted on the Brown Santa Facebook page or, you can always contact me, Gary Anderson, Mark Andrews, or Bruce Harlan for more details. The schedule is also posted on our website. Thank you to those who have signed up to help out at the Lock-up; this will be my very first time at this event and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all goes! Should be a real hoot!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Alumni Year in Review/Accomplishments/Plans for 2022 information sheet that was included with November’s meeting minutes; please take a gander! I am incredibly happy with what the Alumni have been able to accomplish this year! It is with continual efforts and discussions that we can be the best we can be! I’m excited for everyone to hear what the Marketing & Fundraising Committee has come up with for 2022; Jack Diamond will be presenting at the January meeting, let’s get excited!!! We are going to have an extremely fun and productive year!

Looking forward to seeing those who are able to attend the Holiday Social in a couple of weeks; I met with Grin’s again yesterday and moved us to the bigger room, so we’ll have a bit more room to move around. They have been amazing to work with! Please remember if you wish to bring an item to donate to the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, we will have a collection box provided. If you are not attending the Holiday Social and still wish to make a donation, please let me know.

I’m sure I forgot something…as always, if you ever have any questions/comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Cathy Gieselman, President
HCCSA Alumni Association

(512) 944-5569

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
― Mother Teresa