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    I often think and reminisce about how much I’ve enjoyed all aspects of history and the recovery of objects relating to it.

 

    When I was much younger, I would read the stories of treasures being recovered by adventurers in magazines such as Argosy and True.

 

    There were accounts of the explorers and archeologists who had, as they still do today, discovered ancient cities and shipwrecks.

 

    I would come to find that one need not venture too far off the land and seas to find this history because the history lays all about us. It tells the story of what was here by what was left behind.

 

    Over the years I have developed a sense of discernment based on what bits and pieces of materials I see lying about on the ground, like the debris from past human occupation to the telltale signs of stones, minerals and fossils.

 

    Although I have developed these senses a lot on my own, it was helped along by my association with others who shared my interests in the pursuit of history. I have had many mentors during my life and I suspect and I know that I will have more as my life progresses.

 

    However, in the hobby of historic recovery and the understanding of all of its aspects, many of my mentors were associated with WSAS.

 

    I had learned of WSAS through articles and notices of clubs in the various magazines pertaining to treasure hunting, knowing that my wife, Dawn, and I would be moving to the Tampa (her hometown), I took interest in learning as much as I could about the area.

 

    It had become a habit of mine to familiarize myself with the historical particulars of any area I would be spending an extended amount of time at due to the rewards of this hobby.

 

    One of the first pieces of information I investigated was to find out where any local metal detector dealers could be located in Tampa. I did this by merely looking at a list of dealers in a treasure magazine. Pieces of Eight, Ron Hampton’s shop, would be the place for me to go.

 

    Now as many of us know, treasure hunters are generally guarded of any information they may relate to others, especially strangers. This is after all for a good reason, as a lot of research and work goes into having areas to search. I, too, was appreciative of this as my past experiences with others in the hobby made me aware that there are protocols and etiquette that must be followed with availing yourself on others.

 

    I would often go to Ron’s shop and look at the array of detectors and items found by them. I would speak with patrons, listening for the most part, for any areas that might be worthwhile to search. On occasion, I would gain a tidbit or two.

 

    In the field scouting, I would see others who apparently were there for the same reasons as I. Many of them were members of WSAS. At one site I was invited to attend a club meeting which I eagerly accepted. In March 1987 I joined WSAS and have been a continuous member since. I have served in most all positions of the club and this December will mark the 4th year of my being President.

 

    I can truly state that I love WSAS. I have so many fond memories of all the people, hunts, adventures and stories along with the knowledge I have gained from WSAS over the past 27 years. I would like to thank and express gratitude to all the people who were members or associates with WSAS over its long existence, particularly the charter members who laid the foundation for this club.

 

    I wish to thank our current members for their interest and support. I feel a president is only as good as his staff of fellow officers, so most of all, I wish to thank all of my officers for their participation. It has been their knowledge and forbearance that has made my duties as president so enjoyable.

 

    As we move ahead as a club, I anticipate there will be many more years that WSAS will be associated with the hobby of finding treasure, but more importantly, the preservation of Florida history.

 

Thank you!

Thomas Harden