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April Quick Throttle Column

So after a late night of hanging my prints for the Bemis Arts Building show this weekend, I finally finished my column for NEXT month's Quick Throttle, and realized I'd not posted LAST month's column yet.   I've been writing this column for over three years now, and some are good, some are great, and some are just OK.  April was just OK.  In fact I'd forgotten what I wrote about until reading it now to post it here!  Oh well, they can't all be Pulitzer candidates.
AprQTHead
It’s starting to feel like spring -- which is why this issue is dedicated to getting ready to ride.  I for one am anxiously awaiting the end of this legislative session so I can hit the road.    A good ride – especially a well-organized one for a good cause – takes a lot of planning and hard work by a dedicated group of people.  Those folks who spend countless hours organizing a group ride are unsung heroes in my book, and they often go unrecognized.  All those rides in the Quick Throttle ride calendar don’t just happen by magic.

And for some reason I’m feeling like I’ve got a magic touch.  Not braggin’ here, and I don’t know why but two times now I’ve somehow managed to plant a seed that has grown into a major charitable ride.  The first time was back in 2005 when I was visiting with a client of mine, a guy named Roger Michaelis who is the CEO of iQ Credit Union in Vancouver, Washington.  He’s a fellow rider and we were both lamenting the fact that all the fundraisers we seem to go to for credit union charities were golf tournaments and neither of us golfed.  I suggested a ride, and he said “good idea, lets chat about it in the spring.”   So in February I emailed him and said:  “are we gonna do that Credit Union Charity Ride this coming year?”  He emailed back “All ready planned – I had my staff working on it.”   Thus is the benefit of having “staff’ that one can order to do things.

Next thing I knew they had a web page for the “Credit Union Charity Ride for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital” in Portland.   And with the exception of last year, they have had a big annual ride that draws riders from all over the SW Washington, and NW Oregon regions.   This year’s ride is still in the planning stages but is set for sometime in August.  Since they started they have raised almost $200,000 for the hospital.  Watch their web page for details:  http://www.cu-charityride.org

And then it was in my column a year ago, last April, that I dropped the hint about restarting a ride to honor and memorialize the fallen peace officers in Washington. “I’m not a planner by any means – but I know it can be done.  I’ve seen it done on short notice, and I can only imagine the wonderful and lasting tribute that the motorcycle community can pull together for in honor of those law enforcement officers, like trooper Raduslescu and Officer Breton and the Lakewood Four – and those we know who will die in the future as they most certainly will.   I hope someone takes up this challenge.  I’ll be there to help.  And I know where the first ride should end up – at the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial in Olympia.  It’s only fitting.  Like the memorial says – “Their duty was to serve.  Our duty is to remember.”

Shortly after that column came out I heard from one Sid Beech who is a member of the Tacoma chapter of the Road Dawgs m/c – which is a group of retired and working police officers.  It’s one of the great things about being a rider and part of the community – there always seems to be someone to jump up and get the ball rolling on an idea.  And although time was short between me mentioning the idea in April, and a ride they had set for May12th, which was also the beginning of Police Week, they decided to run with the idea of reviving the Fallen Officers ride – with a paid ride from Tacoma to the Fallen Officers Memorial on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.
Sid had invited me to help kick off the ride, and I was most flattered.  But given the short notice and my already jammed schedule, I wasn’t able to.   They ride was mildly successful, but without a lot of pre notice and planning, it wasn’t the big attention grabbing ride I’d initially envisioned in that April column.   But all big things start out small.

So for this year, Sid and his compatriots in the Tacoma chapter of Road Dawgs began planning early and pulling together a much bigger ride.  This is no small task, and it takes a lot of attention to detail to pull off a successful ride – both for the charity involved and for the riders who come along.  This year the ride will be on May 25th, starting from Destination HD in Tacoma at 8am, and $10 fee with proceeds gong to WACOPS who look after the families of fallen officer.  The ride again will be going to the Fallen Officers Memorial in Olympia.  I have it on my calendar and assuming the twerps at the Legislature have gone home for the year I should be able to make it.    You should put it on your calendar too.

I can’t say enough about the work these folks do – the planners at iQ Credit Union for the Credit Union ride and the gang at Road Dawgs m/c who put together the Fallen Officers Ride.  And while in my book any ride is a good ride, some are better than others.  The ones who take the time to plan things out and get the word out early and really understand what it takes to pull of a big successful charity ride are the ones that are just too much fun and wildly successful.   These people – who often go unrecognized – are the ones that really give our band of merry misfits the well-deserved reputation in the community as folks who give a lot to and care about their community.   We are all in their debt.

And since it seems I’m batting two for two these days with ideas, let me plant another seed:  World Peace.   Now go!  Hey, it’s worth a shot!


Gary can be reached at roadsigns@comcast.net and you can read his blog at http://grgardner.livejournal.com or http://www.grgardner.com 

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