How it started by Joe Durning Hi Bill, My name is Joe. Some folks know me as “joe in ga”. And I’m here to tell you that after today, you’ll probably want to have Linda teach you a little something‚ about computers. You obviously know what GWRRA is, right? Well GWRRA may be the largest GoldWing organization in the world, but there’s more to it than a lot of folks know about. So we’re all here to SHOW you what GWRRA is all about. GWRRA is all about WINGERS HELPING WINGERS! In fact the only way Bonnie and I could be here today is through the kindness of a couple of our own Chapter P members down in Fayetteville Ga. Bill, Are you aware that there’s a message board that you can get to from GWRRA‚s homepage on the computer? Obviously not, since you’re OBVIOUSLY the only one here that doesn’t know what’s going on. Well lots of folks log on there every day and chat about all kinds of things. There’s a section called the General Boards, where they discuss politics, religion, NASCAR, baseball, and football. They tell about new grandchildren, and the loss of loved ones. They EVEN discuss GoldWings sometimes. There are areas to post Technical questions, like (ask this to the crowd) which brand of tires are the best, or which kind of oil you should be putting in your GoldWing. And there’s even a classified section, you know, want ads. Sometimes people get into heated arguments, bicker and call each other names, JUST like folks do with their Â“REGULARÂ” families. But let someone come in and pick on one of them and watch out! Cause they’ll have to go through all of us to pick on one of our own! Anyway, back about 5 weeks ago, “SOMEONE” posted a note on the message boards that said: “Anybody notice the message in the want ads? Says it was posted by Bill Hines. Well, Bill didn’t post it, but it looks like someone who loves him a lot did. Why don’t you go check it out and see if anybody here can help this lady out.” Now here’s what they read when they opened the want ads; Dear Gold Wing Friends: If you/or a family member can no longer ride your wing, please answer this ad. I became ill several months ago and my husband sold his beloved ("Big Red") 1996 SE wing to pay doctor and hospital bills. This hurt him a lot to do this and I begged him not to do it, but Bill is an honorable and loving guy. He kept "Big Red" in a heated building with carpet during the winter and would go shine it when weather would not permit him to ride. This was his retirement present to himself, which gave it extra meaning. I was hoping that maybe I could make payments to someone so I could get Bill back on a wing. The look in his eyes whenever he sees a wing go by is heartbreaking, especially since he planned to ride, ride, ride, in his golden years. He doesn’t know anything about computers so if you know us please don't tell him I posted this. I know GWRRA members are all like family, we use to go to all the rallies and never met a stranger, so please, if you can help me get Bill back on a wing, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you very much and please answer this email if you can help. Well Bill, they started reading this want ad, and something in this lady’s want ad musta touched their hearts. Because 17 minutes later, the very first guy to post a response said: Â„Check book In hand...... OK Fellows What Can WE DO????? Â„ Then one after another the messages were the same; One said: Â“OK -- I'm in. If somebody wants to be the take charge type to ramrod and expedite this, then IÂ‚m like Tommy -- check book in hand.” Another said: Â“I got the checkbook out. Let us know where to send the check.” The next one said: Â“I can hold off on my next piece of chrome for my Wing, and throw something in the pot. And THIS one is my favorite. This guy said: “Count me in too! I have a change jar with probably a couple hundred in it. I was saving it for a trip to the casino but this would give me more return on my investment.” Bill, This went on for THREE DAYS! There were HUNDREDS of responses. Then we saw THIS post from Greg; “The list of pledges are still growing, and Mrs. Hines has not answered her e-mail yet. I think she'll be in for a shock when she does. I have her phone number now, but don't want to call yet so Mr. Hines doesn't find out.” Bill, THREE DAYS had passed and Linda had not received ONE e-mail in answer to her want ad. Then later that same day we saw THIS post (again from Greg): Â“UPDATE; I just called Mrs. Hines, and she hasn't read her e-mail yet. Well she will now, and then she'll be reading this post. She was crying when I hung up the phone. We have a chance to really make a great thing happen here, and personally, I'd like to put him on another Red Wing. A 96 SE would be even better, but we'll be realistic. As my new friend Jack says, if we’re going to dream, let's dream big. I wish you all could of heard that phone conversation.” So Bill, for the past month we’ve been keeping a BIG secret from you. That’s right. We’ve been sneaking around your back, planning, conniving and scheming, with YOUR OWN WIFE! Look around and you’ll soon find out that there’s folks here from all across the country! Last night at dinner I met folks from Tenn. ILL. Ohio, Alabama, Vermont, Conn. Minnesota, and Washington State, just to name a few. I think we got everything from Florida to Washington State and Vermont to Texas covered here. And I think you’re about the only person in the Northern Hemisphere who didn’t know what was going on. But then, that WAS our plan all along. (To crowd) Now some might wonder why should I give to someone who is capable of doing for themselves? Each situation is different. In the case of Bill Hines, he has been giving all of his life. Bill Hines has been with the Volunteer Fire Dept here in his hometown for thirty years. On the fire dept, you’re gone when there’s a fire. Helping someone you don’t know. When there’s a tornado, you’re gone while your own family is left alone and scared at home. When it came to his wife, Linda, it’s no wonder Bill decided to sell his 2nd love, who he called Big Red. After all, that was just a material thing, so the decision was easy. (Still to crowd) It was pointed out last night at dinner that a year ago, this country suffered a disaster that has come to be referred as 9-eleven. We all know the feelings we went through, and how it came to us what hero’s our firefighters are. Well, today is the opposite of that day. Last year, it was 9-eleven, and today is eleven-9. And the joy here today is the opposite of the sadness we felt a year ago. (Back to Bill) If you were to walk through this crowd gathered here today, and ask each person if they think of themselves as a hero, I’ll bet NONE of them would want to be called hero. But together, collectively as a group, we are all heros today. And there’s a lot of folks that couldn’t be here that are included in this group. So Bill Hines, we know that you bought that big red GoldWing for yourself as a retirement gift. And we know that you gave it up when the time became necessary. But we don’t want to see you without a Wing to ride, so we helped Linda get you a little retirement present. For the past 2 weeks, we’ve been referring to this on the Internet as Big Red 2, and we hope you will call it that too. Especially since we had it painted on the trunk! (Have Linda stand with me) Linda, You started all this with a post on the want ads. I know for a fact that NOT ONE PERSON answered the want ad you posted back on Oct 3rd. SO today, we’ve gathered here in Gratis Ohio to collectively answer that want ad. Linda, we are here to ask that you accept the keys to this 1998 Gold Wing SE, (that we have dubbed Big Red 2) in answer to your want ad, so you can have your wish and put Bill on it. (Hand keys to Linda). And from your many friends (and new family) we wish you many miles and smiles of happiness as you ride together on it.