It is indeed an honor and a pleasure to deliver the president's message of this Silver Anniversary meeting of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners, the best regional association in the United States! Will those who attended the first meeting please stand to be recognized. I have been privileged to be associated with the Southeastern since 1947, having been hired as a game biologist in Kentucky shortly after the Association's first conference. Those who attended that meeting in Florida were still talking about it years later. The second meeting was held in Lexington, Kentucky, and it featured notable performances by such young biologists as Earle Frye. Since those early years, the Southeastern Association and its annual conference have grown steadily and achieved national recognition. Throughout its history, the Southeast has been blessed with truly outstanding leaders who pointed the way not only for the region but for the entire nation. It is a credit to their successors to mention such pioneers as Major James Brown, Morris Freeman, T. A. McAmis, Ben Morgan, I. T. Quinn, A. A. Richardson, Earl Wallace, Bill Davis, Verne Davison, Jim Silver, H. S. Swingle, Clarence W. Watson, A. H. Wiebe and I. T. Bode, who was closely associated with Mr. Quinn and others in this group, although Missouri was not an official member of the Association at that time. And I believe special recognition is due our esteemed colleague, Clyde P. Patton, who is now, to the best of my knowledge, the senior Fish and Game Director in the entire country. This is not to say that these men were perfect or that they always made the right decisions. They were human and had normal human weaknesses. But they also had a remarkably clear understanding of the wildlife conservation needs of their time, as well as the ability to develop public interest and public support for research and management programs, including law enforcement. They laid the groundwork on which our present conservation is built. Our heritage from these early leaders should be a continuing source of pride, resolution and confidence.