“I put them on what I call probation-probation,” said Montgomery. “I told them if you don’t have it together by 2009 I’ll have to disband you.”
The floundering flotilla, like so much of the Gulf, had been hit hard by Katrina and membership was down to just 16 members and was the least active in the region. Things were so bad in 2008 that for six months they couldn’t even get enough bodies together to hold a meeting.
Still recovering from his heart attack, McReynolds had already turned in his paperwork to leave the service and had one foot out the door when he decided to take on the responsibility of turning things around.
“I found out it was about to fold up and I decided I’ll come back and get active,” said McReynolds.
Active might be the wrong word. By the end of the year he had become flotilla commander and was holding a total of five posts at the unit.
“He gave all he had to the program,” said Montgomery. “Things really started to snowball.” Membership was growing again and McReynolds was doing everything he could to recruit more.
“I talked to everybody who would listen about joining,” said McReynolds. “We’ve recruited some outstanding individuals.”
With 37 members now, the flotilla is the most active in the region.
McReynolds is genuinely humble about the recognition too.
“I didn’t feel like I was doing anything special,” said the former Army ranger.
“He has a quiet sense of responsibility,” said Montgomery. “It’s in his nature to be behind the scenes. That’s the mark of a good leader.”
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