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President’s Column – 8/2021


Greetings again, and welcome to August.

First, thanks to all who came out to the first of our (rejuvenated) Members Meetings. We enjoyed an entertaining and well-attended evening at the Fish Market restaurant in downtown Birmingham, where we enjoyed fresh seafood and afterward had a lively and informative presentation by Carolyn Potter and Holly Bunn from The Wellhouse. I cannot express how good it was to gather as a group again – in person – and just share space and enjoy one another’s company. I am certain that all who attended would score this as a success; and we are already planning for the next such event, which we’re expecting to host in Huntsville in the next few weeks. Look for details as soon as all are locked in.

One of the things that emerged for having an energized group and representatives from one of our long-standing service projects, is that opportunities – fresh ideas – arise. And it occurred to us that although we have worked with The Wellhouse to combat human trafficking for some years, the vast majority of our membership knows little about the facility itself. So we are discussing having a tour of The Wellhouse’s campus for our members in the near future. We’ll see the entire operation, including their newest buildings, which include housing for the very youngest HT survivors, a chapel, and their transitional living facility, where residents phase back to independent living and working in the community. We’ll try to make a good half-day of the visit by including a group meal or other such activity. So stay tuned as we work on arrangements.

And have I mentioned our monthly Counterintelligence Briefings? They are held the 3rd Thursday of each month, from 11-12 noon, and they are incredibly well-done -- packed with timely and useful information. You should be getting the invitations; please join us. Otherwise, we expect an opportunity to assist explosives expert John Bates at a workshop in the Quad Cities in September, we will be ushering in a new CA class in Birmingham that same month, and our National Leadership Conference will convene in Las Vegas that same month. Busy times ahead!

Let me take just a moment here. As I mention our national organization and our annual conference, let me note that NO chapter is better represented at the highest levels of the FBI CAAA. Two of our members – Dr. Joe Popinski and Andrew Smith, who serves as Treasurer, sit on the national board. Dr. Joe runs “front of house” for the conference, handling AV and tech matters for the entire proceeding. Don Lupo has been the strong force behind our crisis response team, both locally and nationally. And this year, I’ve been invited to present a workshop on “How to President” at the conference. Our fingerprints are all over this thing. It is a source of pride that the Birmingham-Huntsville chapter is looked upon as the Gold Standard among FBICAAA chapters – the standard for innovation and involvement, and we hope that never changes. Okay, that’s plenty from me for now. I hope to see you soon, perhaps at our next Members Meeting. Until then, please stay safe.

Best wishes,

Paul H. Franklin

President FBI Birmingham CAAA

 


            The FBI Birmingham Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBIBCAAA) is a nonprofit organization separate and apart from the FBI.


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