Perhaps the biggest evening in the history of the Philmont Staff Association finally came. The Silver Sage Staff Activity Center, the $1 million gift to future Philmont staff from the PSA, was formally opened and dedicated with a gala affair on August 16, 2008. Over 300 members, donors, and current seasonal staff were on hand, and despite torrential rain and unseasonably cold temperatures, the ribbon was cut on a building that will serve coming generations of Philstaff.
As dinner was about to begin, the skies darkened and one of those fabled New Mexico storms swept through base camp. Despite the wind and heavy rain, the events of the evening went on according to schedule, thanks to Philmont staff leadership. Rod Taylor entertained the crowd with some of their favorites after dinner.
The Silver Sage award ceremony was next on the program. The PSA honored David Bates, Joe Clay, Jack Rhea, and Bill Spice for their valuable contributions to Philmont and the Philmont staff experience. Steve Fossett was also honored, although no one from his family was able to attend. Joe Davis and members of Boss Sanchez’s family were also in attendance, representing the first class of Silver Sage recipients.
As the sun set on the evening, the temperatures dropped to below 60 degrees. The ribbon was cut by seasonal staff leadership; then Chief Ranger Adam Herrenbruck lit the Ranger Legacy Fireplace. The dedication ceremony moved indoors. Ed Pease and Bill Spice made remarks about the project. Bill also recognized some of the key donors in attendance: Hugh Brewer, Jim MacGillivray, Dwight Stein, and John Murphy. Gene Schnell and Steve Willis were recognized as the inspiration for the OA Trail Crew campaign. Mary Walcutt was also recognized for the gifts made in her husband’s memory. Artists with works on display at the facility were also recognized. President Jim Lynch presented the dedication plaque to Keith Gallaway, Philmont’s General Manager. To close the ceremony, Father Don Hummel blessed the building.
Again, thank you to all who have contributed and support the PSA’s most ambitious project to date.