Despite my recent pot shot at Mark Schuessler’s guest appearance on Relic Roundup Monday, he has kindly given me permission to share his most recent letter to all the FMDAC members….
And lest you think I do not like or respect Mark, do a search of Stout Standards for his name….
What this pastime needs is a thousand more Mark Schuesslers.
To: FMDAC Membership
With the start of the year 2013 there is a new national president. I have taken over the helm of the organization. For the last 10 years I have been serving as the legislative officer. I am sure that you saw many emails from me during that time talking about impending legislation or impending detector bans and occasionally asking you to support some positive bills. I also have been writing on those issues in Western & Eastern Treasures and American Digger agazines. I have now moved up the ladder to direct the FMDAC for at least the next two years.
There are many issues with the organization that need to be addressed. As many of you may have noticed our website is down right now. Due to a glitch with a payment/ownership problem it was taken down without our knowledge and took awhile to determine exactly what happened. It is in the process of being rebuilt. Hopefully it will back up shortly, at least in part. When that happens you will see a couple of new additions. We hope that everyone will look in on it often. I will be posting regular updates to it.
Over the many years I feel the organization has strayed from its original intended goals and objectives. Those goals have not changed but they seem to have not had the emphasis that is needed. I will work to bring the group back to those objectives. This will require cooperation from everyone including the membership. We, as the FMDAC, and the hobby need to be much more proactive. We cannot sit by and wait to be slapped in the face. We must start blocking those slaps before they are thrown and even throwing a few of our own. Easier said then done but something I am willing to take on. Not sure how that will take place but I do have a few ideas.
The Quest has been a problem for some time. Especially since our previous editor, Wally Swartz, passed away. We are working on this issue.
The annual conventions will undergo some revamping. We cannot continue to conduct them the same as they have been. Due to many circumstances over the course of the organization existence the attendance has dropped way off. Many different things have been tried and none have seemed to work too well. Part of the blame must go to the very high cost of travel along with the high value of silver. It becomes very costly to travel to the conventions and the fees, as with all events, have risen dramatically. Those two issues are out of our control. We are looking at holding our get-together along with another event. The ideas right now are to link up with some Civil War Relic shows and the GPAA shows. There are many of those held each year in various localities. There is a convention in the planning right now. This was due to an offer made to us by a particular city tourism department. We are being assisted by a local club in that area. More info on that as it becomes available. Should it come to pass it will take place in the fall in order to give sufficient advertising time and time for people to plan to attend.
We need to have sufficient funding in the treasury to assist with legislative and legal situations when they arise. We need to build it up so that we do not need to even think about it if a few hundred dollars are needed here or there for those purposes. The membership dues are enough to keep us afloat but there is not much left over in recent years. Costs of everything have risen and travel is no cheaper for the FMDAC then it is for everyone else. I will work to build the membership up by gaining your trust and, as already stated, working to return to the intended goals of the organization. We will be conducting a few fundraisers and we hope you will all take part. One such fundraiser is a unique idea that I think will get everyone’s attention. I will also add that we are a 501C3 not for profit. That means that any donations made to us are tax deductible.
Now an organization is only as strong as the membership makes it. It requires many people to help out. Especially with a national group such as this. We are all volunteers. There are no paid positions here. In fact many of us spend money from our own pockets toward FMDAC expenses. Like everyone else we have families, jobs and homes to take care of. We have decided to do our part and take a turn to help protect the hobby we love. Some of us have been doing this for a long time. What is needed are others to come into the fold and give us some fresh ideas and new enthusiasm. There is always something that can be done. There have been many programs that have been tried throughout the years and have fallen by the wayside simply because of a lack of manpower. At this time we have opening for officer positions in all of the regions.
Going along with the issue of helping out I would like to ask that if there are any lawyers out there who would volunteer to answer an occasional question for us, or to give us a direction in a legal situation. You would be helping the hobby in a big way. Many times I feel a particular situation could be handled more easily if we just knew the proper direction to take from a legal standpoint. I am not asking for you to represent us for free (Of course we would not refuse that offer) but rather to consult with us and keep us on legal ground.
The position which I have vacated is also open. I am still looking for someone to take it over. It requires some diligence and internet abilities. It is not hard and I will teach you how. It will require a conscientious person who will keep at it and regularly search for negative legislation and issues. Once found they need to be analyzed as to their impact. A plan of action determined and then notifications sent out. Most of the time you are doing nothing but searching. But when something comes up it requires immediate attention and follow up. It is actually a very rewarding position. It’s a good feeling to know that you had a hand, maybe a major hand, in defeating a bad piece of legislation. If you think you can do this job then please contact me and we can talk.
A major change that took place last year was the realigning of the chapters. Due to not having the people to head up the chapters the number of chapters was dropped to three and the name changed to “regions” as follows;
North: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Canada Director – John Howard
Central: Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland Director – Don Hayes
South: California, Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida Director – Art Difilpo.
It would be nice in the future to be able to reinstate more regions as it is not easy for the regional directors (formerly chapter presidents) to cover such a large area. That all depends on the membership and the amount of assistance we are able to achieve.
With the website being down we do not have membership forms available on the internet right now. If you need one then please contact me and we will get one to you. I apologize for this and hope to have it corrected soon. We should be contacting all member clubs and independent members for renewal purposes each fall and we will ensure that is carried out. Anytime you contact me by email please put FMDAC as the first word in the subject line. That way it will not get mixed up and deleted with all the spam.
I will address a plaguing issue here and this the first and last time I will do it. Through the near 30 years since the FMDAC was founded there have been some internal problems as well as some issue with external happenings. Some minor and some major. Like any organization sometimes the wrong people get into positions and use them for personal reasons. Other times there have been situations in the hobby where we have or have not offered support. Each time there are sore feelings and even people who have taken vendettas against us. The hobby is full of rumors and misrepresentations of what happened. Most of it is totally false and some downright delusional! I have heard rumors of some that I have first hand knowledge of and I can tell you that those rumors were totally false. Usually started by those who did not get their way or the old “someone told me that he was told by someone who heard……” I will not dredge up the past. I am moving forward. You can live in the past if you wish. You can hold a
grudge if you wish. Just make sure that grudge is properly directed. In most cases it should probably be held against the person that gave you the false information. I found out in my years of dealing with legislation and detecting bans that you cannot believe all that you hear. Go to the source and get the correct information. Many times it changes the whole picture. Now having said that if you heard a rumor and would like to know the facts then I will do my best to give you the facts. If there is an issue from the past that has you staying away then talk to me and I will try to clear up any misconceptions.
In closing I ask for your support to help protect this great hobby. Think of the investment you have in equipment. The average detector is $700 to $1000 and most have more then one. $5 is a pittance compared to having to put them in the attic because you no longer have anyplace to legally use them. Get involved…..The hobby you save will be your own.
Mark Schuessler, FMDAC National President
Mark, good luck, and I know that if anyone can make the changes needed, it’s you…..
HOARD TO GO ON DISPLAY
Wanted to thank Eddy Current for the following update. Incidentally I found out that Eddy Current is not his real name. It’s Serge Coil…..
NOT JUST ANOTHER NICKEL