RAS Celebrates 70 Years

“Watch me pull off a miracle,” Angie announces. I’m helping organize the club’s 70th anniversary celebration and she catches me by surprise. Angie Hutchison has set up all the tables, including decorations, for the incoming crowd, when she realizes she has misplaced name tags.

While not an event killer, it would be a nice-to-have. As I’m still trying to absorb this, I see she has located an SMV worker, who happens to have a supply on hand, and is handing them to Angie. True to her word, Angie has pulled it off. This is stil another display of Angie’s ability to solve any problem that gets in her way. On to the event.

President Jim Browder welcomed us, and we proceeded to the dinner buffet, while a looping slide show of pictures from the club’s history of the last 70 years was projected on the front wall.

After dinner, John Barnett gave a nice slide overview of the founding of RAS, including how our observatory was built. John also brought some of the original documents, like a typed copy of the “First Instrument” of the Oct 1949 meeting, when the club was founded.

Terry Barker recognized Perry Remaklus (president and owner of Willman-Bell, Inc.), who was in attendance. Perry has always supported the conventions that RAS has held in Richmond, and we owe him a big “thank you.” Willman-Bell carries a comprehensive collection of books on astronomy and space, and you can find their ads in Astronomy Magazine and Sky & Telescope Magazine.

Terry also recognized Angie Hutchison, who coordinated the food and table decorations, presenting her with the “RAS Cupcake award.”

Terry then presented Jim Browder, our current president, with a plaque commemorating his 11 years as RAS president, the longest term of any president in the club’s entire history. We also gave him a gift certificate to a local restaurant, where he can enjoy some down time with his family.

Jonathan Ward, author of several books, including “Bringing Columbia Home,” gave us our main presentation, an insider perspective of the Apollo missions. He showed many pictures that were taken inside NASA buildings, showing the construction of the rockets and engines as they were being built.