Thursday, October 12, 2017

GEAR Update 2017

GEAR RALLY, OCTOBER, 2017         by Jim Buelow

The 2017 GEAR Rally was held in Lewisburg, WV October 4-8, 2017, and for those that did not attend, you missed a GREAT TIME. Dogwood attendees included the Alexander’s, Buelows, Cummings, Greenwoods, Hills, Kuikens, Phillips, Rasmussen, Scholars, Sohles, Tilman’s, and Warthans. It was the biggest showing of Dogwood members in years. There were 314 coaches at the rally, a good showing.

Highlights of the rally include:
The viewing of the DVD that Paul Cummings produced commemorating 30 years of EAMA/GEAR was really special. Hundreds of GEAR attendees viewed the video after the Ice Cream Social and it was awesome. Many members in attendance were in the video and that brought lots of responses and clapping. Paul did a tribute to our Military and our Country at the very end of the video, and during the viewing of it, all attendees stood up, many with hands over their hearts. It brought tears to my eyes. Paul spent many hours of his time producing this, and did an outstanding job. Thank you very much Paul.

Chapter Fair: At each GEAR Rally there is a chapter fair. It is a time where chapters set up a booth to show off their chapter, mingle with other chapter members, and entice FMCA members to join your chapter. This is the first time that Dogwood has set up for the chapter fair in many years and we done good. GEAR gives prizes for the best 3 chapters, and out of 14 chapters participating, Dogwood was 2nd. We won a big red ribbon and $15.00 in cash. Way to go Dogwood and thanks to all members who participated to make this happen. We had a very good attendance at the fair. Special thanks to Susan Buelow, along with Paul and Nancy Cummings and Steve and Sue Sohles for setting up our booth. Sue and Steve were the cheerleaders of the group and did a great jog recruiting new members. As of now, we have 2 new members and expect a few more as a result of the fair. Again, many thanks for the effort.
Dogwood Get Together: On Saturday afternoon, we had a chapter gathering. All Dogwood GEAR attendees, EAMA officers, and guests of the Phillips and Tilman’s, along with the Heritage Band members attended. We had about 40 attendees at the gathering, and what made it really special was to welcome back Donald and Carol Warthan. And yes, Freckles made the trip also. Thanks to Connie for setting this up and to our members for providing a delicious meal. No surprise there.

Heritage Band: Donald Warthan and the Heritage Band were the headline entertainment on Saturday night, and what a show they put on. Carol addressed the crowd before the group started and shared a short story of their experience during the past year. To sum up her message, she and Donald are very grateful to GOD and all of the friends, family, and medical folks for their help and support, and for getting through this. The band was scheduled to perform for 90 minutes, but stayed for over 2 hours and they had the group singing, clapping and laughing. You have to ask the Schoolar’s to share their experience during the performance. "It was a hoot. I’m sure a good time was had by all".  
Habitat for Humanity: Thanks to Rob and Donna Hill along with Henry and Patty Kuiken who spent an entire week before and a week after GEAR participating in a Habitat for Humanity project along with about 20 other FMCA members. They helped rebuild damaged dwellings for victims of the major flood that occurred in the Lewisburg area last year. Great job and thanks again.
The GEAR Rally would not be possible if it wasn’t for the hundreds of volunteers that put it together and make it happen. Dogwood members were a big part of the volunteer group that made this a very good rally.
In closing, I want to say that Susan and I had an exhausting, but great time at GEAR, as I am sure most everyone did. I hope that next year we can entice more of our members to attend the GEAR Rally in York PA in early October. I am very proud of what Dogwood members did at GEAR. We definitely had a presence.