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President's Message

  • 09 Jun 2013 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Andrew Smith

    Dear Fellow Alumni,

    Wow! It’s been a busy spring for the FBI Birmingham Citizens Academy Alumni Association! Here’s a summary of what we’ve been doing:

    Helping Fellow Citizens Academy Alumni
    In March, we as  a chapter supported the Bresette Family after they experienced a tragic event while at the Birmingham airport. The father, Ryan, is a member in the FBI Kansas City Citizens Academy Alumni Association. Your chapter established a fund so that anyone who wanted to could contribute to show their support for the Brasette. I am pleased to report the fund now totals $10,005.93. These funds will be disbursed to the family in the near future. Thank you for keeping the Bresettes in your thoughts and prayers.

    Spring Citizens Academy Graduation – May 14
    On May 14 we graduated our scheduled spring class. The class was comprised of 26 leaders in the Huntsville community. Their eagerness and commitment to furthering the mission of the FBI in the community was transparently evident and confirmed by the overwhelming addition of many to the active rolls of the FBICAAA Birmingham. SAC Schwein was in attendance and gave a thoughtful speech and answered questions from the group. As always, Paul Daymond was the “host with the most” and kept the proceedings on track. Joe Popinski, Deb Jaramillo and I were afforded the opportunity to present the benefits and importance of being a part of the FBICAAA and I thank Paul and the leadership of the FBI Birmingham field office in giving us this important venue to showcase who and what our chapter is all about. I want to personally congratulate each of the graduates and hope to see each of you often at future FBICAAA events.

    Air Traffic Control Tower Tour – May 18
    On the heels of graduation (Saturday May 18), a group of 23 registered FBICAAA members and friends visited the Huntsville/Madison Air Traffic Control Tower (HSV ATCT) at the south end of the airport. Our host, Mr. Don Schrader, Manager of HSV ATCT was our guide along with a number of other ATC personnel. Due to the size of the group, we were split into three groups and were guided through three different operations – the radar room, the radar training room, and the actual control tower. We spent about 15-20 minutes in each area. It was insightful and quite educational especially in light of what air traffic has become since September 2001. The training the controllers go through is not only intense but the time to become certified can take years. Additionally, each controller has to be certified in each discipline so be assured as you fly that the folks taking care of us on the ground are as concerned for our safety as much as we would hope they are! I want to thank the HSV ATCT for their hospitality and personally thank Mr. Schrader for the amount of his Saturday he dedicated to our chapter. As a side note, Mr. Schrader asked me if he could go through the FBI Citizen’s Academy! I told him I would submit his name to Paul for consideration. After the tour, a number of us met at Greenbrier BBQ for some anxiously anticipated lunch before heading home.

    So what’s next and how can you be more involved in your FBICAAA chapter?

    Safety Day – Jun 12
    Our FBICAAA chapter will be supporting the Safety Day at SMDC/MDA on 12 June by handing out Child ID Kits.  The Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) with participation by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) are hosting their annual Safety Day on Wednesday, June 12 and the FBI-CAAA has been asked to support the effort. The Location will be the Redstone Arsenal, Von Braun-III building from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. If you would like to participate let me know and I’ll make sure you get plugged in.

    Community Awareness for Youth Day – Aug 17
    The next event is the Community Awareness for Youth (CAFY) in Huntsville. This event will be held on August 17 and is a partnership between the Huntsville Police Department, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Madison County in their Vision of building bridges in their community towards having one city with one vision of success for all; especially our youth! Many organizations will be participating as will the FBICAAA Birmingham. The event will include live bands, free food, free give a-ways and school supplies (as long as they last).  They also hope to have some local celebrities to mentor the youth that day as well.  The first year of the CAFY event they had over 1,000 attendees and last year they had over 2,500 attendees and they expect over 3,000 this year. Our chapter will attend and hand out bracelets, pencils and the Child ID Kits, al furthering the mission of the FBI in the community. This will be a fun  event and I encourage you to consider attending. Our chapter’s board approved $200 to go to supporting the events of the day. On a FBICAAA note, Harry Hobbs, PhD, is the Community Relations Officer for the Huntsville Police Department and coordinator of this event. Harry just graduated from the Citizen’s Academy on May 14 so if you see him put him to work for us (I think he’ll be busy enough)! 

    Law Enforcement Open (LEO) Golf Tournament – September 16
    In September we will be hosting our first annual Law Enforcement Golf Tournament (LEO). This will be a fund raiser for our chapter but also a fund raiser for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Washington DC. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is dedicated to honoring all of America’s law enforcement heroes – those who have died in the line of duty and those who continue to serve and protect. That mission is accomplished through the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, as well as programs such as Officer of the Month, Officer Roll Call and others. The date is September 16 with the event being held at the Highlands Golf Course in Birmingham. We are looking for sponsors, golfers, and workers. Be on the lookout for additional information by visiting the FBICAAA-Birmingham website.

    Alumni Field Trip – October 1-4
    In October we will be making the annual trip to Quantico Virginia. Participants will visit the FBI training facilities as well as the FBI Headquarters in Washington DC. This will be a treat for all that make the trip as the FBI Headquarters building has had limited access since 2001. Our chapter has stepped up to the plate and has filled all available slots. We even have a waiting list which is a testimony to you and our chapter’s commitment to supporting the FBI mission in the community.

    I invite all alumni to be active and engaged. As we promote the mission of the FBI in our communities, we as graduates have a meaningful opportunity to be good citizens for a stronger America.

    Stay informed.  Say alert.  Stay vigilant.

  • 28 Mar 2013 4:47 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Fellow Alumni:

    Andrew Smith

    As you are now no doubt aware, the Bresette Family experienced a tragic event while at the Birmingham airport on March 22, 2013.  Upon learning of the father's (Ryan) membership in the FBI Kansas City Citizens Academy Alumni Association, I wanted us as a chapter to acknowledge our support of him and his family.  With the tragedy so fresh (less than 24 hours), writing this letter on behalf of the alumni was one of the hardest tasks I've ever undertaken.

    I am posting it on our website as it is representative of us and our Association's support of the Bresette family.  Click HERE to read the letter.

    Ryan Bresette texted me Saturday evening acknowledging the receipt of the letter and the fund that has been established to benefit the family.  He thanked our Chapter and asked that we pray for him an dhis family.

    Click HERE to learn more about the Bresette Family Benefit Fund established by the FBICAAA or to make a donation.

    Sincerely,
    Andrew Smith

  • 02 Jan 2013 2:31 PM | Anonymous

    Andrew SmithDear Fellow Alumni:

    It is an honor and privilege to serve as your President  for the Birmingham/Huntsville chapter of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

    As a 2007 graduate of the Academy and having served on the Board and Executive Committee over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the finest and most dedicated alumni the FBI Citizens Academy has to offer.  

    We are fortunate that those who went before us laid a solid and enduring foundation to provide the continuity needed for future success.  Don Lupo, thank you for your leadership over the past two years. Our alumni association is one of the largest, fastest growing and most active associations in the entire country. This didn’t happen on its own. It came under the leadership of a tireless, focused, driven leadership since our founding. 

     

    After reading Don’s farewell message you know 2012 was a very busy year. 2013 promises to be equally active.  We will participate in pre-game festivities of the BBVA Compass Bowl on Friday January 4th, allowing us to promote our mission and hand out Child ID kits.  We are hosting our first annual LEO (Law Enforcement Open) golf tournament fund raising event in April. A portion of the proceeds to go to the Fallen Officers Fund.  Additionally, our alumni association will work with the FBI and North Alabama communities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement. These are exciting times and we have the privilege to be a part of these events. 

         

    Special thanks to the FBI for allowing our association the opportunity to undergird the FBI mission. The FBI’s mission is to protect us, our children, and our businesses from the most dangerous threats affecting our nation. I look forward to working with SAC Rick Schwein in collaborating in this shared mission and welcome him to the Birmingham/North Alabama field office. He has pledged his support and commitment to our endeavors and I am most appreciative and grateful.  And as always, I thank Paul Daymond for his support and leadership. 

     

    This brings us to the serious business of who we are and why we do what we do. The word freedom is one we use to describe who we are as Americans. But those freedoms aren’t free. They came at a price and continue to be costly for those and the families of those who defend our freedoms every day. It is against the forces of destruction that we fight, those that wish to undermine our way of life, encroach on our freedoms, and slowly and subversively erode those rights so that we lose our individuality and our identity. At its core, that is what terrorism does. It forces us to react, usually to our detriment. Benjamin Franklin said “those that give up an essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”. The FBI is on the front line protecting our liberty and safety to ensure the America we have known and love will endure for the benefit of every American citizen.

     

    We do live in challenging times. As citizens of this great country, we need to continue to be responsible, we need to be engaged in protecting our community, and we need to aid the security and law enforcement officials where necessary and become active in this daily endeavor. The FBICAAA allows you and I to do just that. The key word for the FBI is vigilance, to get ahead of the next game changing event.  I will assist this effort any way I can and I know you will also, so that our families, friends, children, grandchildren, and all those who follow us will say they stood up, not stood down; that they rolled, not rolled over; that they held up the ideals that the stars and stripes stand for - nobility, goodness, and freedom.     

     

    I am excited about the 2013 year for our chapter. We have a strong and seasoned board that is committed to our mission. Please be proactive in asking how you can participate. We will be busy and our success depends on your involvement. It is our alumni association and it only gets better with active participation from each of you. 

    I look forward to serving with you as your President for 2013.

     

    Have a safe and Happy New Year.

     

    Andrew Smith

  • 21 Dec 2012 8:13 PM | Anonymous

        Dear Fellow Alumni,Don Lupo

    I have been trying for a few days to come up with a final message for 2012, my final message as President of the FBI Birmingham CAAA. The words haven’t come until now.

     

    As excited as I am for 2013, I am full of fear. I am fearful for our nation. It is ever more challenging for us as people that have taken an oath and a mission “to strive to keep our nation safer”. The battle rages on all sides. We are engaged in war abroad and in our own country. We kill small innocent children, we kill mothers, and we kill teachers and don’t forget we kill a Law Enforcement Officer every 54 hours. We kill those people on our own streets, in our own neighborhoods and in schools where it should be safe. The challenge is before us. What will we do?  What will I do?

     

    Well, I for one will not forget why I became a part of this group to begin with. Sure I was asked to join, but then I wanted to be part of something that would stand for good, that would help ensure that the acts of 9/11 didn’t happen again and I would get to join a group that was held together by a common goal, a common bond.

     

    In the years that we have been an organization I am proud of what we have accomplished. I am proud to have followed Dr. Mark Michelson and Heather White in this position. I am proud to have been a small part in getting Child ID kits out to so many. I am proud to have had a small part in this organization reaching out to so many and saying we are here “to strive to make our nation safer”. I am proud to have had the opportunity to be a small part in bringing HEROES BEHIND the BADGE to our community. I am proud of each of you for standing up and claiming our mission statement.

     

    I am not going away. Fatima, PK, Heather and I are not going away. This means something to us. What does it mean to you? What does it mean to me?

     

    Even if I had not learned all about the history of the FBI, gotten to shoot on the FATS machine, gotten to attend the National FBI CAAA conference, gotten to go to Range Day, gotten the opportunity to go to FBI Headquarters and all the other opportunities that have come our way I would still be out there doing what we do because I am an American. I am a proud American. I love my country.

     

    We were not built by slackers. We were founded by men and women of principle. We have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights to defend. We have a flag to fly higher than any other. We have an obligation to those that came before us and those that will come after to love, honor, cherish and defend our land. I am not a slacker and I know none of you are either. We alone can not do all that needs to be done. We must help recruit people to join us in the FBI CA. We must find people that share our goal, our common bond and that will accept the challenge laid out in our Mission Statement.  2013 and beyond depend on us. Our small group can be a mighty force in a revolution of change in

    America . We can. We must make our nation safer.

    Thank you Carmen Adams! Thank you Pat Maley! Thank you Paul Daymond!

     

    2013 promises to be a great year. You have elected a strong board. You have elected officers that are going to lead us into the future.  We have a SAC and two ASACs that have put it on the line to defend us. We have our SAC’s promise that he is here for us. With the Board, the officers and the leadership of the FBI Field Office we are going to have a great 2013.

     

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

    Don

  • 01 Dec 2012 10:50 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Fellow Alumni,Don Lupo

    Please join us for our final meeting of the year.

    I hope that you will make plans to join us on Tuesday as we gather for our annual business meeting and board elections.  We’ll be meeting at 6:00 pm in the auditorium of the UAB Highlands Hospital, located at 1201 11th Avenue South in Birmingham (click HERE for details).  Our featured speaker for the evening will be Richard Schwein, the new Special Agent in Charge of the Birmingham Division of the FBI.

    During the meeting we’ll be voting on a slate of nominees for the board of directors. Candidates will be elected for a two-year term for the period January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2014.

    Candidates running for a second term (current board members).  Per our bylaws, this will be their final term of eligibility.

    Birmingham

    Huntsville

    Mark Belcher* (2007)

    Hilda Mary Esguerra-Eisler* (2009)

    Keith Feinman* (2009)

    Daniel Fillmore* (2010)

    Mark Froehlich* (2010)

    Deb Jaramillo* (2010)

    Leria Jordan* (2007)

     

    Andrew Smith* (2007)

     

    Libby Todd* (2005)

     


    Candidates running for a first term (new board members):

    Birmingham

    Huntsville

    Poojah Chawla (2011)

    No applications received

    Sunil Sane (2012)

     

    Andre Bittas (2011)

     

    Shane Spray (2012)

     


    Some board members have elected not to run for a second term.  This leaves three vacant positions on the board which will be filled at a later date:

    Birmingham

    Huntsville

    Vacant  (was Montre Carodine)

    Vacant (was Ana Ramos)

     

    Vacant (was Jacque Bray)

    Our bylaws dictate that board members must retire after serving two full terms in office.  During the meeting, we’ll be saying goodbye to several of our long-serving board members and officers who will be retiring at the end of the year:  Don Lupo (2005), Pravin Kotian (2007), Fatima Carter (2006), and Heather White (2005).

    It will be a great meeting and I hope that you will make plans to be there.  As always, we want and strive to make our nation safer.

    Sincerely and thank you,
    Don Lupo
    President

  • 19 Nov 2012 12:51 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Fellow Alumni,  Don Lupo

     

    Our organization has reached its highest-ever level of membership and we have thriving programs in place in both Birmingham and Huntsville. The coming year is going to be awesome, and we want YOU to be a part of it!

     

    Please consider serving on the FBICAAA Board of Directors.

     

    Several positions are coming open on the Board. Positions to be filled include slots for Huntsville and Birmingham CA graduates. The Board needs ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS. The board meets monthly and at other times as needed. Board members are expected to serve on and/or chair committees and special events and to take an active role in FBICAAA activities. It is recognized that the FBICAAA board is a volunteer endeavor. However, it is also recognized that board  membership comes with responsibilities that are endowed by the membership at large. All Board members thus recognize their obligations to be responsible to their election by fellow alumni as well as respecting the time and effort of other Board members.

     

    All alumni interested in serving on the board should submit an application to the Nominating Committee for consideration by 5pm on Thursday, November 29. Board members will be elected at the annual meeting and will serve a two-year term (January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2014). An application form and list of qualification is available on our website [CLICK HERE]. For questions, please contact the Nominations Committee at fbicaaa_bham@hotmail.com.

     

    Please consider joining us in leading the efforts of the FBICAAA in the coming year!

     

    As always, we want and strive to make our nation safer.

     

    Sincerely and thank you,

    Don Lupo

    President

  • 25 Oct 2012 10:01 PM | Heather White
    Dear Fellow Alumni,Don Lupo

    I have never been more excited to be your president than I am today.

    Our chapter has never been in a better position to do great things for our state and the 31 counties in the jurisdiction of the FBI Birmingham Field Office than it is now.

    I told you in my last post that we were gaining momentum.  We are.  The final quarter of 2012 is going to be great, and next year will be even better.  I urge you to get involved now.  TRUST ME.  There are huge things on the horizon and you will definitely want to be a part of it.

    Here's a brief glimpse at what is coming:

    • November 13 - The Fall Citizens Academy Class will graduate.  All alumni are invited to come back to the FBI building to reconnect with the alumni association and to meet the newest group of leaders to complete the academy.  [Click HERE to register]
    • November 18 - We have the honor--and the responsibility--of being the first chapter to host a screening of the movie,  Heroes Behind The Badge.  We've booked the Alabama Theatre for the event and  we need your help to fill the seats.  So mark your calendars: we need people to help raise funds and we need volunteers to staff the event.  Most of all we need you to help spread the word!   [Click HERE for more information]
    • December 4 - Don't miss our annual meeting!  We'll be meeting at UAB Highlands Hospital again this year for elections, a report on the year's activities, and an outline of things to come.  Make plans now to attend!  [Click HERE for more information]
    • April 15 - Introducing the Law Enforcement Open (the LEO) golf tournament.  Under the leadership of Charles Perry this will be a unique experience for everyone.  Make plans now to help.  [Details to follow soon]

    We're increasing our communiction channels to help YOU stay more connected with the FBICAAA:

    Find us on FBWe have a brand-new Facebook Page!  Please find us on Facebook and "Like Us" to stay connected.


    TwitterWe have a brand-new Twitter Account!  You can find us on Twitter @FBICAAA.  Please "Follow Us" to stay connected.

    ebsiteWe have an new-and-improved Website!  Please continue to check the site for the latest information about the FBICAAA.

    October was a busy month:

    • Range Day was a huge success.
    • National Night Out in Homewood went smoothly.  Our association was well represented as we passed out child ID kits and safety information to the attendees.
    • Our new SAC, Rick Schwein, will be on site soon.  We met him at Range Day.  He's full of new ideas and promises to be a strong ally as we build our association.

    I say this to you every time I write, but I mean it every time: we want and strive to make our nation safer.

    Don Lupo
    President

  • 01 Oct 2012 7:00 PM | Anonymous
    Dear Fellow Alumni,Don Lupo

    The summer has brought many changes.  SAC Maley is now the Inspector General of South Carolina and ASAC Fletcher has retired and moved to Texas. We embrace the changes and we look forward to great times under our new SAC, who will be arriving in November..

    Make plans to come to RANGE DAY on October 11 and meet our new SAC.

    It seems funny to write October. Where has this year gone? Your FBI CAAA has had a wonderful and busy year. I hope you will take the time to look at the events and the gallery to see all the great things your alumni association has done.

    The Fall 2012 Citizens Academy class is underway in Birmingham. The class is comprised of 28 of the city’s best business, civic and community leaders. I know many of these people personally and am proud to welcome them to the FBI Citizens Academy. We look forward to them joining our ranks in the Alumni Association when they graduate.

    Heather White and I just returned from the National Leadership Congress in Denver. We had a great trip and many opportunities to network with FBI CAAA members from 56 chapters from across America. I can tell you that our chapter ranks up there with the best. You can be proud of all of the activities that we are involved in.

    One of the action items you will be hearing about shortly is HEROES BEHIND the BADGE. Your alumni association will be bring to a local theater this beautiful and thought provoking motion picture. It will be a night you will not want to miss.
    Stay tuned to our website for more information.

    One of the items that all chapters struggle with is retention of members and the funds that it takes to make a chapter run. We will have over 100 members by the end of the year. 2012 will be our most successful year in membership since we started. However, we know we can’t do all we plan or need to do with our membership dues only.

    Our Fundraising Committee and the Board of Directors are planning our first golf tournament. You are going to hear a lot about THE LEO golf tournament over the next few months. Mark April 15, 2013 on your calendar. Come play golf or volunteer on that day and let’s raise some money for THE FALLEN OFFICERS FUND and for your FBI CAAA.

    2012 is almost over and 2013 promises to be an even better year for the FBICAAA.  Please let me encourage you to join us. Pay your dues and enjoy all the benefits of full membership. As always, I want to remind you to adopt our mission statement. We all want to strive to make our Nation safer together.

    Don Lupo
    President

  • 05 Jul 2012 6:05 PM | Anonymous
    Dear Fellow Alumni,Don Lupo

    As we swelter in the summer heat, I want to challenge you to seize the opportunity for leadership and service.  Each of us was selected for the FBI Citizens Academy because we are business, civic, and community leaders--and I firmly believe that if our organization were to fully leverage the talents, abilities, and resources of our members, we could set our communities on fire!

    The FBICAAA is a vibrant and growing organization.  If you haven't been actively involved, I encourage you to get involved.  We make a difference.  And we have fun at the same time. 

    This past month we sponsored a members-only Law of the Gun training event that was both educational and fun--click here to learn more about it and to view photos.

    Don't miss the opportunity to get involved this summer:

    • A CERT training class will take place in Huntsvile July 9- August 27.  Click HERE for more information.
    • We'll be supporting National Night Out in three locations this year.  On August 7, consider volunteering for a shift in one of our booths in Alabaster, Homewood, or Huntsville as we distribute Child ID kits and other safety information to families in our area. Click HERE for more information.
    • Join us in Denver for the National Leadership Congress September 19-22 as we gather with other chapters in the mile-high city.  Click HERE to learn more.

    The Birmingham and Huntsville Event Committees have more exciting events in the planning pipeline: the ever-popular Alumni Range Day, Community Awareness Day, a Gun Safety and Awareness event, and an Alumni Golf Tournament

    Our membership drive is underway. We're doing some big things in the FBICAAA, and we want YOU to be a part of it! So, if you haven't already paid your dues for 2012, please take a moment to do it today. Dues are tax deductible and help us carry out our mission. Click HERE for more information.

    As always, I want to remind you to adopt our Mission Statement. We all want and strive to make our Nation safer together.

    Let's keep the momentum going!

    Don Lupo
    President

  • 15 Jun 2012 3:01 PM | Anonymous


    Dear Fellow Alumni,Don Lupo

    The FBICAAA is strong and growing stronger!

    May was a busy month:

    • The graduation of the Huntsville Citizens Academy added 22 new alumni to our ranks.  I was impressed with the enthusiasm and energy of the Huntsville Class of 2012, and I know that each of them has something that can help make our Alumni Association the best in the nation.  We will soon have photos from the event posted to our website, so check back soon.

    • Over 100 FBICAAA alumni, FBI personnel, and their families on an Elephant Walk!   We gathered at Sundown at the Birmingham Zoo where we enjoyed the hospitality of Dr. Bill Foster and his staff.  It was a great time for food, fellowship, and a behind-the-scenes look at the animals.  If you weren't able to make it, you missed a wonderful experience.  Click HERE to view photos.

    The upcoming summer months also bring opportunities for service and education in Birmingham and Huntsville, and I encourage you to get involved.  You won't want to miss the upcoming Law of the Gun training event on June 23rd, and National Night Out service event on August 7th. More activiites are being planned, so stay tuned.

    Don't forget that our membership drive is underway.  We're doing some big things in the FBICAAA, and we want YOU to be a part of it!  So, if you haven't already paid your dues for 2012, please take a moment to do it today.  Dues are tax deductible and help us carry out our mission.  Click HERE for more information.

    As always, I want to take a moment and remind you to adopt our Mission Statement. We all want and strive to make our Nation safer together.

    Sincerely and Thank you,

    Don Lupo
    President

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


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