Every year, we do a very good job recruiting new members into the Society. We have a Society booth at major shows, we talk to collectors whom we meet at other functions, and our Membership Chairman sends out scores of letters. However, once we have signed up a new member, we have tended to forget about him or her and have hoped that the many benefits of membership will be enough to retain them. However, in February, the Board of Governors voted unanimously that the Society should express its appreciation to our long-term members by awarding a special USSS lapel pin to those who have been members for 15, 25 and 50 years.
Luckily, The Specialist always lists which membership numbers are assigned each month. By referring to the December issues, which indicated the ending membership numbers for the years 1959, 1984, and 1994 (corresponding to 50, 25, and 15 years of membership, respectively, as of 2008), our Executive Secretary determined the range of membership numbers for each category and how many members are currently in each category. The results are as follows:
- For 50 years, those numbers before #4974 – 31 members
- For 25 years, between #4974 and #10962 – 370 members
- For 15 years, between # 10963 and #13715 – 446 members
- Total = 847 members
The total of 847 members represents 48% of our total membership. I think that having such a large percentage of our membership staying with us for so long reflects their strong commitment to the Society and the value they feel the Society adds to their hobby. The lapel pin is a way for the Society to let them, as well as our newer members, know that the Society truly appreciates their loyalty and is well aware of their long-standing allegiance. It will also act as a subtle advertisement to perspective new members that the USSS is a group that appreciates each of its members.
I’ve worked with the company that produced our present Statue of Freedom medals and we designed a slightly different pin for each category. The design and color will be the same as the medal, except that the outer ring and lower ribbon will be a different color for each category (red for 50, white for 25, and blue for 15). Also, the words “Know Your Country’s Stamps” will be replaced with “15 Year Member,” etc. Each pin will be 1” in diameter and will come with a butterfly clasp.
The first pins will be presented at the Annual Meeting in May at NOJEX. A second round of presentations will be made in August at StampShow in Hartford. After that, the appropriate pins will be mailed to all qualified members. This will certainly take some time, but we will do it as fast as possible. In the meantime, please check your membership number, which can be found on the address label directly under your name on each issue of The Specialist you receive. If you fall within one the above categories, why not make plans now to attend either NOJEX or StampShow to receive your pin?
Once again, on behalf of the Officers and Board of Governors, I’d like to thank all of the members who have shown such devotion to the Society and wish you many more years of enjoyable membership.