The International Square Dance Magazine

Mike Seastrom

Gold Card Life Membership to Jerry Reed

The following presentation was given by Bill Heyman at this year’s CALLERLAB Convention in Mesa, Arizona.

The Gold Card Life Membership is reserved for those who have worked to make CALLERLAB a more valuable and successful leadership organization.

There have only been 22 recipients of this prestigious award in the history of CALLERLAB; 10 are still living. Seven of those recipients are in attendance tonight. Each of them, in their own special way, has made significant contributions to CALLERLAB and to the square dancing activity in general. The three Gold Card recipients NOT in attendance tonight are Frank Lane, Jerry Helt, and Herb Egender. May I ask the seven Gold Card recipients who are in attendance tonight to stand, and remain standing, as I read your name: Jim Mayo; Daryl Clendenin; Jon Jones; Betsy Gotta; Melton Luttrell; Marshall Flippo; and Bill Heyman.

Tonight’s recipient started calling in 1978 when the club caller at their on-base club in the Philippines was transferred. He sent Jim Mayo a letter asking how he could go about learning to call. Jim’s response congratulated him on being willing to take on the job, and offered some suggestions of reading material. He also recommended that he go to a calling school if he could. A few years later he had returned to the East Coast and came to a caller’s school run by Bill Peters and Jim Mayo.

He was a good student and continued calling as he made the transition to civilian employment after a long career in the military. He joined CALLERLAB in 1983 and has attended our Conventions regularly ever since. He was elected to the Board of Governors in 1995. All of this makes him a fine caller, but not necessarily a candidate for Gold Card Life Membership.

In 1996 he resigned from the Board of Governors in order to accept the position of Assistant Executive Director of CALLERLAB. He was chosen by a committee made up of Tony Oxendine, Jim Mayo and Bill Heyman (who also nominated him for the Gold Card).

It was his expectation and that of the committee that he would spend a number of years as the assistant to George White. Unfortunately, that was shortened to just three when George died suddenly in 1999.

Our recipient tonight then became our Executive Director and was thrown into a complicated and demanding transition, living in Florida with an office in Minnesota. His success in making that transition and his subsequent performance as Executive Director (ED) for CALLERLAB for the next decade are the basis for our recommendation that he be awarded the Gold Card.

The position of Executive Director of CALLERLAB is, by its very definition, one that is an outstanding contribution to square dancing. It is underpaid, requires an extraordinary collection of abilities, the “patience of Job” and beyond that, considerable experience as a caller. The job is not only divorced from personal gain, but requires that one consider the needs of the members way before thoughts of oneself. He has never tried to put his own gain ahead of our organization.

Tonight’s Gold Card recipient has all of these abilities and has made them available to CALLERLAB over more than a decade of employment as both Assistant and full Executive Director. When considering still living and active participants in our activity, we believe that the successful passing of the responsibility to a successor is adequate. In his case, he not only passed on a successful organization, he continued as an Assistant ED for another few years, assuring that the transition to his replacement was as smooth as it could be.

We, CALLERLAB, expect that our ED will at all times represent the organization even beyond his or her personal existence. We ask that our ED be, at all times, the most complete demonstration of leadership and professionalism that one can describe. Our recipient has lived up to this standard throughout his time as our employee. Furthermore, even after leaving our employment he continued his leadership contribution to the activity as Chairman of the ARTS (The Alliance of Round, Traditional, and Square Dance), another position that expects the extraordinary with virtually no compensation offered in return.

The nature of CALLERLAB assures that our ED will exercise “broad influence.” The ED is our spokesperson not by their choice, but rather by ours. We ask that he/she choose their words so that we are well represented. We do not allow their actions to reflect anything other than effectively on our behalf. The views of the ED are always subordinate to those of the organization, even when they are personally not in concurrence. He has, on many occasions, had a broad influence on the official views of CALLERLAB, which assures us that his views have broadly influenced the activity as well.

He also accepted the chairmanship of the CALLERLAB History Committee. In this position he was a very active leader and assured that the Convention session recordings were preserved in digital form and made available to all of us. He is an outstanding leader with a total dedication to our activity, and the ability to lead others in the best interests of square dancing. He deserves to be recognized with the Gold Card Life Membership. Please join me in presenting this award to everybody’s friend, Jerry Reed! 

Fun set to music!