Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back Patch Update

To all MN members:

As many of you know, Minnesota Patriot Guard used to sell back patches that were in three separate pieces. A decision was made last June to halt those sales. A three-piece design with rockers (above and below a center patch) carries a great deal of significance in the world of motorcycle clubs, and we wanted there to be no confusion - we are not a motorcycle club, riding club, or any other type of club.

We are a non-profit organization that exists to honor our Fallen Heroes and provide both shield and support to their families, and to support the wounded and injured men and women of our military. Although many of us ride, it is not a requirement that members have motorcycles. The ONLY requirement is respect for those who defend our freedoms.

We heard from many of you when we halted sales of the patches. The message was loud and clear that you still wanted a back patch - and if it was to be a one-piece, you wanted it to be as similar as possible to the old one. A committee was put together to consider the requests. They agreed with many members that although the Fallen Heroes patch conveys much of the spirit of our mission, a more specific patch would provide name recognition to be identifiable by the general public, members of our military, and law enforcement while on missions. The committee considered several different options, some of which were submitted by members.

We apologize that this process has taken a while; unfortunately, some of the delay was beyond our control. The design was approved in December, but we had to hold off due to a trademark issue with the PGR name at the National level. After consulting with a trademark attorney, the MN Board of Directors decided to move forward with production of the new back patch. They have been ordered and should be available on the website gear page in approximately 4-5 weeks. As always...the proceeds will support our mission.

Some of you have asked whether or not you may wear the previous back patch design with the rockers above and below the Fallen Heroes patch. We are not in a position to tell you that you can or cannot wear them, because you own them. We can only make suggestions and provide information. However, it is our hope that, due to the high quality and amount of time that has gone into producing the new back patch, our members will overwhelmingly choose to wear the new one-piece version.

As the MN board of directors, we recommend that if you still choose to wear the previous patch with rockers, they be worn only at Patriot Guard missions within the state of Minnesota. We recommend that if ever asked by anyone to remove your vest, you do so without contention for your own well-being and that of others with you. We do not recommend the previous 3-piece patch be worn at motorcycle events such as bike shows, runs, rallies, bars, casual rides, or anything other than a PGR mission within our state.

Again - these are recommendations for those who have asked, or may wish to ask. The decision is up to the individual.

We also feel it may be helpful to provide you with information as to why we have made these recommendations. Motorcycle Clubs have a long history, and traditionally a 3-piece patch is earned over a period of time - not purchased. It is impossible to explain the culture of MCs in a brief email, but the following website may be of help to you in making an informed decision for yourself, by understanding the significance of rockers and the traditional protocols involved in wearing them:
(Please note that the bandwidth of this website is limited, and at times it may be unavailable - particularly later in the month. If that happens, it will be available again at the beginning of the next month.)

Some of you may have received much of this information previously. It is being sent out via email one final time, posted in the News/Notes section of our website, and posted in the MN forum on the National PGR website in an attempt to reach as many members as possible.

IMPORTANT: For those of you who intend to purchase the new one-piece back patch, the above link also contains important information. In keeping with traditional protocols established by the Confederation of Clubs, no rockers should be placed above or below this patch. Again, we are not a club and these are not "colors," but back patches of any sort can draw attention. Please keep in mind that there may be times or places when it may be best not to wear it (i.e. bike rallies, other states, etc.). If asked to remove the garment it is on, we recommend calm compliance. We encourage you to educate yourselves thoroughly if you purchase the new patch.

As noted above, the patch should be available in approximately 4-5 weeks. We plan to set up pre-sales on the gear page prior to its arrival and the price will be posted at that time. It will be available in both 12-inch and 14-inch versions. These patches will be sold only to members in Minnesota, and MN Patriot Guard has been granted exclusivity to the design by the manufacturer. This is a link to a preview of what the patch looks like:

The inner part containing the Fallen Heroes patch has been slightly changed to reflect the proper order of service, as well as the proper seals being used for each branch of the service. As many of you is a beautiful tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending the freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis.

On behalf of the board, and with respect and appreciation for all you do in honoring our Fallen Heroes...

Monica Mead
MN State Captain/Board President