“Connections” from the Navy League of the United States for November 2016

November 2016


You Can Make a Difference!


After all the turkey and shopping, #GivingTuesday (Nov. 29) will be one way that you can show your patriotism and support the Navy League. Get ready to get excited to give! Encourage your friends and family to donate to the  Navy League.

  • Please post #GivingTuesday on your Facebook page, tweet about it, or post in your LinkedIn account.
  • Don’t forget to include a link to the Navy League website.


How Many Members Can You Bring in?

Members are the lifeblood of the Navy

League. Help us  Carry the Torch through our fall membership contest. Visit our website for more information on this exciting opportunity or direct questions to   our  membership department.

Council News

The Broward County Council will be co-hosting the annual Coast Guard

Holiday Party with the Fort Lauderdale Council and Broward Navy Days. The event will take place at Briny’s Irish Pub on Friday, Dec. 2, from 6-8. Questions? Contact Broward County Council.

Joint Operation Give Thanks 2016 is hosted by the Imperial Valley Council. For a $20 donation, you can sponsor the gift of a Thanksgiving Turkey to an active-duty member and their family stationed at Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif., and USCGC Petrel. This is not limited to Imperial Valley Council members. Anyone can participate in this program. Here is more information about this program.


The Pittsburgh Council is participating in Operation Santa Military Family Carnival on Dec. 17. Children of currently serving military personnel (active and Reserve) are eligible to attend. Visit the website for more information about this wonderful event.

Have council news you want to share with your fellow Navy Leaguers in this publication? Send to our Communications Department by the 10th of each month.

Congress Is Back in Session!


The House and Senate still have work to do before the new Congress takes office in January. Top on the list is passing the National Defense Authorization Act and full appropriations bills for the sea services before the current Continuing Resolution ends on Dec. 9. Congress has passed the NDAA consistently for over 50 years. Encourage your congressmen and senators to continue this record over at our Voice to Congresssite.


New Issue Papers Released  | What’s an Issue Paper?


An “issue paper” is a unique and valuable contribution to the conversation about a particular issue. That’s one of the Navy League’s core missions — informing the American public about our sea services. We’ve just detailed issue papers supporting icebreakers, aircraft carriers, and submarines for congressional staff.  You can find these on the Grassroots section of Voice to Congress.

Be a Voice for the Sea Cadets!

No time? No money? No problem! There is one quick and simple thing you can do to support the Naval Sea Cadet Corps program: Help them get the federal funding they need to continue to offer training that is accessible and affordable for all cadets. Click here to write your members of Congress today.

From the National President

Greetings fellow Navy Leaguers! I have had the pleasure of visiting many councils over the past few months.

Romania Council President Teodor Patrichi and Navy League National President Skip Witunski in Romania’s Palace of Parliament.

    August – Romania, where I was welcomed by Teodor and

Ecaterina Patrichi, Romania Councilpresident and secretary, respectively. I observed National Navy Day, along with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

    SeptemberPensacola Counci, where we celebrated its 70th anniversary. My visit there included a meeting with U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., to talk about Navy League initiatives.

Witunski chats with World War II Navy Veteran Richard Grenier at the Motor City Birthday Ball on Oct. 1.

October – I joined the Metropolitan Detroit Council as the  keynote speaker at the Motor City Birthday Ball on Oct. 1 and the Washington-area Navy Birthday Ball hosted by Navy League Headquarters on Oct. 8. Keynote speaker, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, told the guests the Navy League is “like no other private organization. You support our Navy and our Sailors and families, and connect our Sailors and the Navy to the American people.”

     November – Annual fall Board of Directors meeting, where we elected David Todd from the Portland Council as our president-elect.

Our members never fail to impress me with your dedication to the Navy League mission and your hard work in support of our sea service members.

– Skip Witunski

From the Executive Director

There have been some exciting changes in headquarters. We have restructured and reorganized staff positions to better align with our mission to inform the public, advocate for sea services and invest in tomorrow’s leaders.

Help me welcome our newest employees:

  • Jeanne Ellinport, Staff Vice President for Strategy, Integration and Development
  • Sean Nodland, Director, Corporate Business Development
  • Kelly Harris, Director, Membership
  • Vernon Hemphill, Director, Field Services
  • Shawna Jones, Executive Assistant
  • Shirley Gray, Receptionist

We will be releasing an updated organization chart in the latest version of the Operations Manual in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for all your support for our missions. I am so proud to serve all of you!

– Cari Thomas

Staff Spotlight

Kelly Harris joins the Navy League Headquarters staff as the new director of

membership. Her background is almost exclusively in nonprofit membership, including extensive membership recruitment and retention marketing, analytics, global/international membership outreach, database management and customer service.

Her previous role was with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, a nonprofit lobbying organization, foundation and political action committee. There she managed the digital, telemarketing and direct mail programs for more than 1 million members.

Kelly has a son, daughter and a very large labradoodle. She is an active volunteer in the local youth sports league for tackle football and wrestling. She also serves as the dance coordinator for two youth competition dance teams. Kelly is an avid sports junkie, with a true love for college and NFL football, golf and mixed martial arts.

Navy League of the United States