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Happy New Year Update Message from CEO

Happy New Year!
Dear IOWA and Surface Navy Museum Family:

I hope you are having an incredible holiday season!

We begin the week aboard IOWA in drenching rain.  With the rain comes deck puddles and the inevitable leak(s) on board the ship.  Even though the crew has been focused on drainage the past couple of months, leaks still pop up and the water continues to flow across the decks.  Our amazing crew will continue their work to preserve and maintain the ship with passion and commitment.

Operation American Spirit

Joleen alerted me over the weekend that we had exceeded the $68,000 goal with the recent generous match opportunity.  I was deeply touched that the IOWA and Surface Navy Museum community came out in force to support our crew and organization.  This morning I spent time going through correspondence and reviewing the lists of donors to the campaign.  I continue to be dumbfounded by the amount of support and love that you have shown for the ship, our crew, and our mission throughout 2020.  The list of names includes family, friends, board members, crew, local community members, veterans, veteran’s families, visitors, vendors, and the list goes on.  I am in awe by the support from people throughout the world that have been touched over the years by the Battleship IOWA and ultimately the Surface Navy.

Heading into the New Year

As we go into 2021, the challenges will remain as long as shutdowns continue.  Los Angeles appears to be the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic and we suspect that this will continue throughout January. Each of us must remain vigilant to protect our safety and well-being.  Our crew continues to do so aboard ship by following the outdoor museum and exhibition protocol.   We must not forget the lives of those affected by this pandemic both personally, health wise, and financially.

While the majority of the world is focused on the pandemic, people’s lives continue.  Recently I had a close friend diagnosed with cancer at a young age.  While the hospitals are filling up, his doctors still found a way to perform the necessary measures to try and keep it in check.  I am praying for him and his family as they take on this new health crisis in the middle of a pandemic with limited hospital capacity.  Please remember our friends and family that are not only fighting Covid-19 and its effects, but also those that are taking on a different challenge.  God bless each of you that may be faced with these and other challenges as I write this message.

Relief Bill and Next Steps

Last night, the President signed the newest relief bill.  Our CFO has been reading through the 5,000+ page bill over the past several days to determine what programs may be available to us.  We are currently tracking the second round of PPP and the Save Our Stages Act.  I was happy to see that our legislators realized the true effect on museums with a specific program in this bill.  We are under the impression that this program will be administered by the SBA, but are awaiting more information to determine if and when we can file for it.  We are concerned about the potential that we are unable to file for both programs, which may put us in a quandary if we are faced with choosing one over another.  Our only hopes are that we are able to see some relief from this package.

Our insurance company has been working on processing business interruption claims over the past several months.  With the severe decline in revenue that we have experienced, we were easily able to exceed the policy limits during this past summer.  We have remained in contact with the claims processor and have hope that we may see some movement in early 2021.  They informed us a couple of months ago that the claims far exceed the total aggregate policy limit.  With that said, the best we can expect is a drastically reduced claim payment – if approved.

It is difficult to see much of the rest of the country is well on the way to recovery, while California continues to be shuttered.  With this said, I suspect that by May 2021 we may return to 65% of our normal visitor traffic.  This will be dependent on vaccine distribution, area lockdowns, and the comfort of people to travel to Los Angeles.  Until the area returns to some level of normalcy with the economy open (restaurants, attractions, etc.), we will continue to experience the severe drop in revenue with resulting expense reductions.

Thank You and Stay Tuned!

We deeply appreciate your contributions in 2020 and help in reaching the holiday closure goal.  While our financial needs have not changed, we (and I am sure you) are happy to take a break from the persistent appeals we have been sending out since March.  This lull will be short lived until mid-January, with Joleen already working on a fun silent auction campaign.  We envision a campaign that will be exciting and enjoyable including special experiences on board ship (in-person and virtual)!  We have several crew members and board members that have offered experiences for the silent auction including boat rides, dinners, vacation rentals, cigar smokes, cooking, and much more.  Let Joleen know if you have something you would like to offer for the silent auction in support of the IOWA and Surface Navy Museum.

This will most likely be my last message for 2020.  This year has been one of the most challenging in my life, but I feel extremely blessed that my family is healthy and our organization has an amazing family supporting it.  The past year has reinvigorated my belief in the American spirit and what a family can accomplish when they come together.  Thank you for being a part of the IOWA and Surface Navy Museum family.

Happy New Year and God Bless!
~Jonathan Williams, President/CEO

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