I was recently asked if I would be willing to serve as President of the MN Patriot Guard again. This position is separate from the most important role of being involved in the Missions that we cover so well here in Minnesota. The role of the President is really to make sure the office is in order. Bills paid, insurance in place, donations considered and qualified by the Board of Directors before granting, web site running, store operations, taxes filed, and non-profit status kept in good standing. I am not on the Board of Directors so do not have a vote on anything but am part of making sure all the rules are followed.
The Leadership Team and Board of Directors voted to accept me in this role and I am honored to play this small part in what we do.
A Ride Captain asked me a very good question before he voted. I stepped down a few years ago because I was burned out from all the Missions and the requirements as President. He asked what had changed that I was willing to do this. This role is not nearly as demanding as a Missions role and can be done at night and on weekends. I have the time and the love of the MN Patriot Guard and its Mission remains. If I can help I'd like to.
My first Mission was July 3, 2006, in Ladysmith, WI. I will never forget the day and the change it brought to my life. It is Mission First, Mission Last. It's what we do and all we do. The role of President is small in comparison to the people who can go to Missions when many of us can't because of work and family. Thank you members for being there.
I want to give my support and appreciation to State Captain Karla Richardson and the Missions Leadership team for doing a great job in these changing times. When I met Karla for the first time on a snowy day in Frazee I knew she would do a great job.
I want to say "Thank You" to Tim Leonhardt. Tim has done more for this organization than any of us could know or appreciate. So many things in the background on top of stepping into roles he didn't want but somebody had to at the time. I have ridden many miles with the Drifter and look forward to doing that again with him. He has had my back and he is my brother.
We are a family. We have had our differences. We have mended those differences. We have moved on. We do this because we love what the Mission stands for.
I have had the great honor to be a part of the leadership of the Minnesota Patriot Guard for many years, I have been in almost all the of the leadership positions stepping in and out as needed. I have had the privilege to be present and show honor to the families and community at missions that were gut wrenching when I saw the pain of a family losing a loved one while serving to protect my freedom, Your silent flag line is deafening with the sound of Honor, Dignity, and Respect.
I've been to welcome home missions that made my heart of hearts soar seeing our warriors rejoining their family's after being deployed. I had the chance of a lifetime meeting and working with some wonderful people, some that I consider real patriots, people that understand what our warriors have sacrificed for our freedoms, I have the honor of saying I know these people.
I currently hold the two positions of Minnesota Patriot Guard President and Minnesota Patriot Guard Assistant State Captain. I have had the honor to help guide and help grow the MN PGR from 300 people when I joined, to over 5000 today. I am honored to have been a part of building an organization that is respected for what we quietly do in Military Branches, Law Enforcement, First Responder, and Government organizations.
The positions and roles I held weren't easy at times, but I always tried to stand up for what was the right thing to do and what was best for the organization as a whole. I took on interim positions that I didn't want, but they needed to be filled, it was an honor to do so.
Alas, after 8 years of leadership it is time for me to step aside and let the next wave of patriots take the reins of the great Minnesota Patriot Guard organization.
None of the positions I have will be left empty, I will be retaining the positions until they are occupied. The MN Patriot Guard Board of Directors and I are following the MN PG process to fill my current position of Minnesota Patriot Guard President. Karla along with the Senior Ride Captains are working with the Leadership Advisory Committee following the MN PG process to fill the Minnesota Patriot Guard Assistant State Captain position. Announcements on both of these positions are forthcoming.
I want to take this opportunity to thank every Patriot Guard Rider for the support over the years in making what we do possible. I am thankful and proud to have been able to meet so many good people and to have had the opportunity to be a small part of something I believe has changed the way our nation's people view and honor our warriors.
I am proud to be called a Patriot Guard Rider because of what you all do.