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Inside this Member Update:

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Message from the President Randy Pace photo

Greetings and Happy New Year to all!
If you are sponsoring, I hope you’ve discovered a new great friend and family member with your class of 2017 officer this year! For those sponsors with a history of several years working with the international military students, the word “family” certainly isn’t a loose term. These wonderful folks become our extended family and we follow them around the world. We celebrate new births as being our family, applaud when our officer gets a promotion or new assignment and weep with them and provide comfort if they suffer a tragic personal loss.
For some newer sponsors, the concept of wide open initial acceptance accompanied with an outright expression of love to them and their families may seem a bit overwhelming to present to someone. Particularly, when you’ve not met and only exchanged one or two emails. However, we’ve found that if that expression is based from the heart, it is readily accepted and returned ten-fold. For the Pace family, it’s part of who we are and how we’d like to be treated if the roles were reversed.
As a sponsor, you are both the initial and ongoing conduit for your officer to learn more about our wonderful people and country. He or she will have heard many different things about the U.S. prior to arrival. Well-meaning friends may offer “helpful” information, some from propaganda intended to misinform or coming from rumors or coming from a lack of knowledge. Through you, the officers have the opportunity to learn about real Midwestern Americans.
If you are uncertain about things to do with your officer, there are many local venues for adults and for families with kids of all ages. Frankly, we’ve found that often our officers (and families) appreciate a simple home-cooked meal and just sitting in an atmosphere of quiet with no stress and engaging in gentle discussion.
I thank you for your commitment to our chapter’s mission. Without you, we could do nothing. If you want to further understand the difference(s) we make, read the letter  recently sent to the International Military Student Division (IMSD) from one of the international military students. IMSD shared it with us. Keep in touch with your officer, your involvement and communication with them is crucial!
If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please don’t hesitate to call me.
Again, happy new year and many thanks for all you do to support our mission!
Randy Pace
Board of Directors
Greater Kansas City Chapter People to People International
816-810-4004 Phone

Military Sponsorship Update

By Sharon Valasek

Get Ready for Sponsor Assignments – Class of 2018

GKCPTP’s military committee is gearing up for the annual International Military Student (IMS) assignment process. Starting in March, the committee will begin the process to assign sponsors to IMS arriving June 2017 (graduating in 2018).  This process involves members of the committee:

  • Contacting GKCPTP members to determine their interest in and willingness to sponsor an IMS.
  • Gathering sponsor preferences (family with children, couple, geographic single or single officer)
  • Receiving IMS information from the Fort (the Fort receives data approximately every two weeks about each IMS, and then they provide it to our organization).
  • Making assignments and contacting sponsors in May. When the committee contacts members to notify them about their sponsor assignment, we respectfully request that members be willing to accept alternate options.  

Additionally, we appreciate you sharing the opportunity to sponsor with others that you believe would be well-suited to sponsor and would enjoy the experience. Please contact me at or 816-213-5847 with names and contact information of potential sponsors. We'll be happy to reach out to these individuals. 

Emeritus Sponsor Database

The Fort is updating their sponsor emeritus database. Emeritus status is defined as members who’ve sponsored 20 or more years. The following members are currently in the database. If you are in the emeritus database, please contact me to confirm your mailing address (so you can be invited to events by IMSD). If you or another sponsor should be added to the list please contact Sharon Valasek at or 816.213.5847.


Last Name

First Name







Mr. and Mrs.



Mr. and Mrs.



Mr. and Mrs.



Mr. and Mrs.



Mr. and Mrs.








Dora B.





Travel Ban Doesn't Impact IMS

From Mike Brettman, IMSD
The travel ban will not affect international military students issued A2 visas. The only country listed in the ban impacting our 2018 class is Iraq, and they have not been allowed to bring dependents for quite a few years.

Membership Report 

We have had many new members in the last several months.  They are:

Cameron and Diana Alpural

Ken and Angie Howard

James R. (Bob) Batterson, MD & Todd Green

Matthew Hughes

Larry and Gretchen Jacobson

Kelsey Beach

John and Barbara Loehr

Bob and Tara Bennett

Dennis and Janet O'Hagan

Perry and Joanne Crume

Bill and Nancy Quitmeier

Behnaz Darban

Paul and Julie Riekhof

Joe Dingwerth and Pat Hennessey

Mark and Amy Thompson

Scott Dold and Jean Younger

Javier and Cindy Torres

Luke Eide

Phil and Nicki Watlington

Paul and Shery Fetterman

Tanner and Ohemaa Wycoff

Bob and Susan Hiatt

If we have left anyone off the list, please let us know at .  We hope that our existing members have the chance to meet and get to know our newer members at chapter and international military sponsor activities.  Thanks to all who belong to our chapter and who encourage others to join!

Know Your World 2017: 2 Opportunities Remain

Do you enjoy learning about countries and cultures around the world?  Well, here’s an opportunity for you.

At Fort Leavenworth's Command and General Staff College (CGSC Facebook link), international military students make presentations about their own countries to fellow international military students and the public. Every few weeks throughout the school year these Know Your World sessions offer robust information on national culture, politics, geography, international relations and economics from countries around the world.

Plus, you’ll get a special flavor of the country when representative foods of the host officer's home country are served at a social gathering following the presentation.  At this reception you can visit with international military students from many countries.  More than 90 countries are represented in every IMS class..

 The last Know Your World presentations in this school year are:

  • Colombia on Wed., Feb. 15
  • Lebanon on Wed., Mar. 15

All sessions begin at 3:45 p.m. at the Eisenhower Auditorium in the Lewis and Clark Center on Fort Leavenworth.  No invitation or RSVP is necessary for you to attend. The events are open to the public, so you can bring a guest, perhaps a prospective new chapter member, your children or anyone with an interest in international matters.

To enter Fort Leavenworth for the Know Your World sessions, you must show a Locally Approved Credential (LAC) Card at the security gate, or obtain a day pass at the Visitor Control Center. Certain rules apply and may change from time to time, so please review the current access rules at the Gate Information link. Feel free to contact our chapter president or a member of the board, too. They understand how these important security measures can be daunting to first-time visitors.

Save the Date: Annual Meeting Sunday March 26

The annual meeting for Greater Kansas City People to People is Sunday, March 26, 2017, at the Grand Street Café, 4740 Grand Ave, Kansas City MO, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  The cost of $24 per person will include an appetizer buffet, your entrée, and coffee, tea, or a soft drink, as well as the gratuity.  An invitation, a slate of proposed officers and a ballot will be mailed to all current members in early March (per our by-laws).  We look forward to seeing you there!
Greater Kansas City People to People Annual Meeting
Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.
Grand Street Café
4740 Grand Ave
Kansas City MO 64112

For more information contact Karen Haber at 816-741-9518 or More information will follow on the slate of officers and how to pay/RSVP and send in your vote.

Chapter Calendar

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Member Profile: Dr. Tom Black

Tom Black imageTom Black, and his wife Connie joined our chapter in 2014. Tom knew about the Command and General Staff College (and the international military students) from his time in the U.S. Army, which included a short stint at Fort Leavenworth. They have sponsored young adults from Europe in the past, have traveled and explored extensively. You might say they are internationally inclined, like many of our members.
Tom always remained interested in CGSC. After several years he decided to “Google” CGSC and/or People to People” to learn how he might become involved. He learned of our annual meeting, decided to attend and soon joined our chapter.  
Tom and Connie quickly became experienced sponsors; one might say they are “naturals.” Before long Tom accepted an invitation to add his many skills to the GKCPTP board.  As a board member, there were many ways for him to offer his skills and insights. One way he does that is by serving on the military committee, the committee that coordinates the assignment of officers with chapter members.
“Tom is an insightful and reliable team member. He jumped in without hesitation and he is a valued contributor to the military committee. We’re really glad he joined our organization,” says Sharon Valasek.
Here are some things you might not know about Tom:

  • Tom is a practicing ophthalmologist, landing in Kansas City for his ophthalmology residency many years ago.
  • Tom served in the U.S. Army where he was a flight surgeon and did a tour in the Mekong Delta (Vietnam). His last three months of active duty were at Fort Leavenworth.
  • Tom (and Connie) enjoys learning about the officers, where they are from, and all about their culture. They’ve had wonderful experiences with officers (and families) from Ireland, Switzerland and Germany.
  • Tom continues to practice his medical skills, and has served as managing partner at two different doctors’ groups.
  • In the past, Tom taught at KU Medical Center.
  • Travel adventures have included French Polynesia, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, and Europe (including several hiking trips in Switzerland).
  • This spring Tom and Connie will be sailing off the coast of Croatia.

Need a GKCPTP Name Badge?

Contact Cole! Cost is $9.50 each.

Cole Bonham
Midwest Trophy and Engraving
7287 W 97th Street
Overland Park, KS 66212