President's Update

 

As of 27 April, 2022!

As I start to write this in early April, the weather here in the Pacific Northwest has taken a turn for the Arctic....we’ve seen snow and hail and black ice and, with temperatures hanging in the mid-to-low 30’s, it certainly does NOT feel like mid-April! Maybe next week we can see a more normal spring-like weather pattern?

 

Despite the continued pandemic constraints which have kept so many of us tethered closer to home this year, your Executive Board has been actively and productively engaged. We’ve met monthly via Zoom in order to identify, capture and address issues and events affecting our club. I’m pleased to tell you that our most recent meeting held far more “Old Business” topics than “New Business” and that is a huge step forward! I will be sending out an email update to each of you with the details of what your Board has identified along with the actions which we’ve taken to address each. Since we have NOT been together socially for so long now, this is the next best thing so that you aren’t left in the dark.

 

As mentioned in my spring Trails article, your club has not yet scheduled any Regional Rally(s) this year. The reasons are varied and painfully valid, however, the need revealed is quite clear - this club can not function solely on the availability of your Regional Vice Presidents for the time together that a Regional Rally provides. We need a deeper batting order on our bench to back up the folks on your Board when life pitches them a curve ball. Pam Whitehorne, your Eastern Region VP lost her roof and other portions of her house to significant weather damage....she could certainly use some help with pulling together an Eastern Regional Rally this year. Norb West, your Central Region VP was recently diagnosed with a serious medical issue which will take him off the road and out of office, yet he continues to take on smaller projects for your club. He needs a replacement on the Board and someone to pull together a Central Regional Rally this year. Shane Cotter, your brand-new Western Region VP is still working through mechanical issues with his rig in Florida before he can migrate west to California later this year. He could certainly benefit from someone stepping forward to pull together a Western Regional Rally this year. I plan to help him with his first rally once he gets out here, but in the meantime.....you get the picture.

 

It distresses me that our society has been so divided by politicizing our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the reality is that within our group there will be folks on both sides of that issue. Our understanding of this virus and the tools which we have in-hand today have increased exponentially from where we started over two years ago. Details and more information can be found in the copy of the email which I received yesterday from the local medical group which serves our community here on the Oregon coast. It can be viewed HERE where I have quoted it in-full.

 

As a Cancer survivor still undergoing treatment and monitoring, I will be getting my second booster as soon as I get back home from this trip.

 

One of the key learning points which I took to heart from my time in the Navy was quite simple....to lead by example sends a much clearer message. With that in mind, I can only say the following: In the preceding two years looking back, I’ve been to Quartzsite for each of the prior three January events and joined with the Safari of Southern California group for their annual rally prior (once in Joshua Tree and twice more in Twenty-Nine Palms) as well. I’ve been to rallies sponsored by the North West Trek Fun Club, Safari of Southern California, and Safari So Good. In that same two year period I was diagnosed with cancer, underwent major surgery for same, followed by eight weeks of radiation therapy and six months of hormone therapy. I’ve had both eyes operated on to remove cataracts and now have bionic eyes with Intra-Ocular Lens implants....as a result I no longer need to wear glasses. Needless to say, it has been a VERY medically complicated two years with lots of annoyingly intrusive and physically invasive events....and with many periods of post-surgical healing and recovery to work through.

 

Today, I am writing from San Diego where my rig is parked on the waterfront overlooking San Diego Harbor from within the Point Loma Naval Base Annex. Why am I here, you ask? Yesterday I attended Charlie Ryan’s funeral at the Saint Agnes Catholic church on Point Loma. He was less fortunate than I in his battle with a fast-moving Cancer discovered only last December. Charlie and I first met as a result of my joining Safari International more than eight years ago, where he and his wife, Megan, attended the first rally that I had put together as the new NW Region VP (with the priceless help of Sharon Andrews and Vivienne Wigzell) at the Silver Spur RV Resort in Silverton, Oregon. In speaking with Megan following Charlie’s service, I learned from her that a conversation that I had had with Charlie at Quartzsite in January of 2021 had given him tremendous comfort and understanding during his Cancer journey a year later....he had to cancel his plans to join us in Quartzsite in 2022 because of his health. At the time, it never crossed my mind that a discussion of how I had chosen to deal with medical adversity might hold more meaning for Charlie personally at a later time. We were able to hold that conversation the prior year because I chose to attend Quartzsite despite still being in diapers (Depends) as a result of the healing required following my surgery only 6 weeks earlier! I had no idea at the time that this conversation would hold such value to him later. If I hadn’t chosen to step into the role of Regional VP for Safari International, I would not have met Charlie and formed the lasting friendship which we shared - and if I hadn’t chosen to get out of my comfort zone while still healing from my own surgery in order to attend another event in January of 2021, that critical conversation would never have happened.

 

That’s an awful lot of words to simply say, “Come out and join us....we need you”. No one knows how our choices today might affect those around us in the future until later.

 

 
 
 

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