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Regional Director Packs the House!

Regional Director for the Treasure Coast, Jim Wilson, packed the house last Tuesday at the Vero Beach Emerson Center when he gave a presentation entitled: “Quest for Spanish Treasure: The Legacy of the 1715 Fleet”. Jim has been a tireless worker for the Fleet Society. Even before his appointment as the Regional Director for the Treasure Coast Region, Jim has dedicated many hours to help the Society establish a presence in that region. Most recently Jim was instrumental in working on and organizing the conference that was recently held at the Costa d’Este Beach Resort in Vero Beach. Jim has been a tireless supporter of our efforts which lead to his being appointed the Regional Director. The Treasure Coast Region is the largest and most influential region in the Society.

In any event, I asked Jim to send some pictures and a report to post. Here is his report:

My 1715 Fleet history talk was held in Vero Beach at the Emerson Center at 7:00pm on January 23rd, 2024. I was the first speaker in a series of speakers at Emerson over the next couple of months. The talk was 1 hour and 45 minutes long. I discussed the Fleet’s history leading up to the disaster, the disaster itself and the post sinking survival, rescue and salvage attempts. Then I did a fast forward to the rediscovery of the Fleet in the 20th century and the research, search and salvage of the fleets treasure using photos from my collection to show many of the amazing objects recovered up through the 2023 season.

I discussed our 1715 Fleet Society and what we do and showed them our website address along with sample photos of our 2024 conference in Vero Beach. Then I showed photos and gave info for the local museums that have a 1715 Fleet display of artifacts. I concluded with showing an assortment of 1715 Fleet book recommendations and then a 10 minute Q&A period for the audience. The Emerson Centers auditorium has a total seating capacity of 400 including the balcony that holds 100. At the start of my presentation, there were just over 350 paid attendees. It was a free event with a suggested $10 per person donation. So the event was at near capacity.

The audience was a mixture of ages and backgrounds. I was at the door welcoming the people in. We did have two bus loads of unknown capacities from a retirement community west of Vero. I forget the name of the community. I would say the average age was 60 years old and over. 

I had been heavily promoting the event on my Facebook account and pages I manage. The preceding Thursday at 8:10am I had an Emerson arranged radio promo interview on the Bob Soos morning talk show for about 5 minutes. (The audio recording is to be emailed to me Monday). Emerson also promoted the event in many ways. The Emerson event organizers were very pleased with the near capacity crowd for their opening speaker for the 2024 speaker series.

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