Thursday, October 17, 2013

With the trademark issue resolved we are working towards newer and more items in the On Line Minnesota Patriot Guard Store. 1 thing we have already added is a 9 ft Flag Pole. This is a 5 piece polished chrome pole that fits nicely into my Hard Bags on my Victory and I am told even fits in the Hard Bags of some other brands of Bikes. More information and pictures are available in On Line Store. 
Some other items I am working on include a MN-PG Bandanna, a Watch Cap embroidered with the MN-PG Logo, and - I know this sounds weird when you first hear it - but I am close to having a MN Patriot Guard Teddy Bear available. ( WHAT? A TEDDY BEAR?? We are Bikers not Nannies! Has he lost what few marbles he had!? )
Settle down now - Here is the deal, for KIA and Active Duty Funerals we often have Children - either siblings or the children of the Fallen that are too young to be given a Challenge Coin or an American Flag, yet here they are in a very intimidating place, with a LOT of big people around and maybe not quite understanding what is going on. Similar to the program where Highway Patrol Officers carry a Teddy Bear for young victims of traffic accidents we will have a Teddy Bear available for the younger children and siblings of our Fallen Heroes. I think this will add a lot of comfort for those younger family members of our Heroes.
As long as we are going to have these Teddy Bears available for the families of our Heroes we will offer them in the store also - For grandchildren maybe if any of you have any of those? This will be a 12 inch Bear with a Black T-Shirt with our Logo and a MN-Patriot Guard bandanna.
There are some other items I am working on, like a watch cap, a can koozie, and maybe a hoodie. I will go into more information when I have gotten final BoD approval. The best thing to do is to check the website every week or so. You need to go out to the website to check the calendar - just browse through the store once in awhile also.
Couple of things I wanted to pass along also
The store is a joint effort between the Board of Directors, our Members and myself. I cannot just get an idea, find a Vendor and order it - The Board has final say on what goes in the store. Our members also give me input at missions and through email so that I can advise the BoD on items that would sell or not. If I come up with an idea I send the BoD an email describing it. If some of the Board Members like it they will give me feedback on it. If they really don't like it No one will email me back J (that is usually only on some of my wilder ideas). If they just don't like it they will tell me so. If they like it I will come up with a vendor for it who will produce a proof of it - I get approval from the Board on the proof and then I place the order. I believe this falls under the part of the Board job description where it talks about "Position the MNPG as a highly effective, reputable and credible non-profit organization." That means no cheap, tacky stuff in our store. I think this has helped our store have quality, tasteful items that our members can be proud of.
Another item I want to point out is that the proceeds from the Store are used for Minnesota Military and their families. This is part of the reason we created the Minnesota Patriot Guard. So that we in Minnesota could control where the money we raised is spent. If you want to purchase Items for the National Patriot Guard Store I think that is a good thing. They need money to pay for the website and administrative costs. But if you go to a Site that is not part of the National PGR or individual State Patriot Guard Stores then your money is used to profit someone. There are some stores out there and on EBay that are selling Pirated Patriot Guard Merchandise. When you buy from them you are not buying from a 501(3) (c) charity. You are lining their pockets - and they are making money off of our Heroes who are fighting and dying for our country. I cannot imagine anything worse.
Last item I am going to bring up is wearing your Minnesota Patriot Guard shirts and patches. Leadership has talked about the where's and whys you should not wear your MN-PG, - But that does not mean you cannot wear your MN-PG T-Shirt or other merchandise when you are shopping or eating lunch or going to a Ball Game. It does not have to be a Mission to wear your PGR Clothing. Wear it whenever you want in any non-political situation or where it may appear to be official PGR participation in an event outside of mission scope.   Then when people come up and ask you about it - and they will come up and ask you about it, - tell them why you are in the Patriot Guard and what it all means to the families. Ask them to join us ensure that those who have served our country are afforded the Honor, Dignity and Respect they have earned.
Please send any questions or suggestions to it may take me a bit to get back to you - but I will certainly try to answer everyone that wants an answer.
Thank you for all you!
John Redfield
MN PG Store