Evansville UpdateFebruary 21 2009 at 10:49 PM
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To Our Fellow LST Volunteers:
At the risk of being further ostracized, the Evansville-based volunteers would like to express their side of the situation currently facing the ship. Please read it with an open mind and an understanding heart.
There's been a lot of hype, accusations, rumors and hurt feelings surrounding this situation. Much of this has been mislabelled as negativity since it doesn't coincide with popular opinion, but in actuality it's a simple case of telling the emperor he has no clothes. It is true that the core group of currently active volunteers are boycotting the ship in protest, but a very strong case can be made to justify their actions. It's been said many, many times on this Website that there are always two sides to every story. To-date many of you have only heard from or chosen to hear one side. Here's an opportunity to rectify that. Before questioning anyone's intentions please make up your own mind as to what the appropriate course of action is. As reasonable, mature adults we all owe it to ourselves and the ship to truly listen and understand both sides. The Evansville-based volunteers wouldn't have it any other way. We are, after all, LST volunteers ONE AND ALL. Here's their perspective. As you read it, please put yourselves in their shoes and imagine what you would do in their situation.
First of all to set the record straight, we believe that all volunteers past and present that dedicate their time and effort to the ship are to be congratulated, bar none. It doesn't matter if your Gold Crew, Blue Crew, Evansville Crew, Red Crew, new crew, old crew, Overall Crew, out-of-town, remote, or local. We are all one crew and deserve mutual respect and consideration in achieving a common goal regardless of how we go about it. No one person or group solely possesses the ultimate command over the ship's fate, it is a privilege and responsibility to be shared amongst us all. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Gold Crew for securing the ship and bringing it back from obscurity for all to enjoy and serve.
Likewise, the Blue Crew continued this fine tradition with their dedication the five years the ship called Mobile home. In 2005 that stewardship transferred to Evansville.
We were and are proud to take our turn in serving it and do not take this responsibility lightly. So much so that we are prepared to fight for what we believe is the best for the ship in the long run. Unfortunately there is a significant difference of opinion as to what that really means.
Many thousands of man-hours have gone into maintaining her. Hundreds of thousands of visitors have now shared in her history and gone away changed in some small way. The ship is now also the proud recipient of a small fortune being reserved for that day when she can go into dry dock and have her hull restored. None of this would have been possible without a team of dedicated men and women who love the ship at least as equally as those who came before them. Having such an intimate relationship with the ship on a daily basis, however, gives the active crew more than ample time to scrutinize every nook and cranny and expose flaws and issues that are not usually visible to the naked eye nor seen by the public. The current caretakers of the ship have tirelessly attempted to address these concerns with the ship's stakeholders only to be ignored and even rebuked. After numerous failed negotiations, those same stewards have been given no alternative but to expose these fallacies with their only remaining recourse - they voted with their feet. Perhaps now the ship's leadership will at least acknowledge there are significant problems with the actions, tactics, motives, and policies hindering the ship's continued success. We welcome the opportunity to once again discuss those issues with any and all seriously concerned parties. It is our intent and desire to return to the ship just as soon as these concerns can be properly addressed and corrected. Until that time, the inconvenience and hardship some of you are experiencing while backfilling our jobs is unfortunate. For those who have contributed to this dilemma, we hope you realize the untenable situation you have created. To everyone else, we applaud your service and hope you take home with you a little different perspective and appreciation of the current situation.
For your consideration,
The Evansville LST Volunteers