Friday, November 16, 2012

Info from National on Political/Partisan events

To our members,

The below statement is from the National PGR.  While the situation that prompted this email didn't happen here in Minnesota, it is something to be taken seriously.  The MN PG is also a 501c3 and participation in political/partisan activities could jeopardize our status.  We raise, recieve donations, and our store sales allow us to donate about 85K every year, right here in Minnesota, for our military and/or veterans - something we don't want to lose!  If you are going to attend a political/partisan activity, please refrain wearing anything that identifies you as a MN PG or PGR member or stating that you are a member.
“Use of the Patriot Guard Riders, Inc., (PGR) name or logo while participating in political / partisan activities is strictly prohibited. It places our status as an IRS approved 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit organization at risk. If documented evidence is provided to any level of PGR Leadership, failure to comply will result in immediate revocation of PGR Membership and removal from any position of Leadership within the PGR.”  "This info has also been uploaded to the FAQ and the Communications Announcements Forum in the National Communications and Announcements section. "

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thank you for all you do!

Mission Report:

We have been busy! Figures are from 1 January thru 30 September each year.  Our Vet Home visits and other official events are included in the overall mission totals:

                                                            2011                   2012

KIA/MIA                                            31                       7
Active Duty                                        14                       15
Veteran Mission                                  133                     169
Welcome Homes                                 17                       40
Deployments                                       48                       8

Overall Mission Totals:                       341                     329   


Everything is on plan and to budget.  So far this year we have brought in $67,000 and donated/spent $60,000.  Our expenses for Veterans Home and Hunts is about $11,000 and donations and grants are about $42,000.  The rest of our expenses are operating needs such as insurance and Mission needs. 

The majority of our income is from the Patriot Ride.  Without the Patriot Ride income of $48,000 we can’t run the programs we support today.

State Leadership Meeting

Several topics were discussed at the State leader meeting on 27 Oct:

-  Mission reports will be added to the end of mission calendar postings.  To read the mission reports, go to the date of the mission, find your mission and scroll to the bottom of that specific mission to find the mission report.

- Leadership voted to retain the Non-MN PG calendar.  We will be re-naming the calendar to avoid any potential confusion.  The Non-MN PG calendar is only for events that support our military and/or veterans, but have no official MN PG participation.  It is strictly for member use if they wish to attend on their own as a private citizen.  Events that could violate our 501c3 status will not be posted on the calendar.

- Safety of our military is priority.  Mission postings should not show number of military member movement, flight numbers, family arrival times, etc.  Information may come from the press, but it should never come from us.

- Mission safety - RCIC needs to consider safety factors for members, i.e., bad weather, high traffic, heat/cold weather related injuries

- George Winslow, National PGR President briefed us on the current trademark issue.  There has been no change since Dec 2011.  Still in waiting mode.

- The MN Patriot Guard, Inc (MNPG) and Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) are two different groups.  The MN PG/Board of Directors deals with the money that Minnesota raises, deals with financial risks, and if state policies are needed to protect us from those risks.  The PGR is national and is responsible for doing the missions.  The State Captain is part of the National PGR’s leadership team and is held accountable by the National PGR for missions.

- Open discussions were held:

            - Northern Region SRC Rick Johnson led the discussion on the current mission scope.  It seems to be the consensus of leaders that the mission scope remain the way it is (no additions/deletions).

            - SRC Craig Ugland led discussion on the Non MN PG calendar on whether to keep it or remove it.  It was determined to have a Leadership Advisory Council (LAC) vote, which was accomplished by Survey Monkey, with a vote of 22 to2 in favor of keeping the Non MN PG calendar.

            - Metro Region SRC Ernie Johnson led discussion on engaging members.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Purchasing PGR & MN PG Goods

This is a reprint of a email sent to members in January 2012.  As of now, the trademark dispute is still ongoing.   Patriot Guard Riders are waiting for a ruling from USPTO on our motion. Normally that would take about 2 weeks, it's been since Dec 2011. We have no way to push the USPTO to make that ruling. We are at their mercy and have to wait until they rending the decision. Once that is made we have 30 days to respond to the opposers filing, then the opposer has 15 days to rebut our filing. At that point it goes to the USPTO to make the final determination on who owns the name Patriot Guard Riders, the logo and service marks, one of which is: "People standing in the cemetery holding the American flag at a military funeral."

A great many of you are probably not aware of an ongoing lawsuit between the National Patriot Guard Riders and the first PGR Executive Director Jeff "Twister" Brown.

As a background...  Jeff Brown took national the concept of the PGR after attending Missions run by our founders, the Kansas Patriot Guard.  For that we owe him thanks.

What he did right before incorporating the PGR is incorporate his own for-profit store selling PGR Merchandise attached to the national website.  People, like myself, bought merchandise from that store and had no idea the profits were going to him personally and not the PGR.

After this was discovered Jeff Brown resigned his position in the PGR and quickly the PGR established its own store so the profits would come to them and not to an individual.

In 2007 Jeff Brown brought legal action against the PGR through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  He is trying to own the Patriot Guard Riders logos and name so he can continue to profit from them by forcing all of us to buy from or through him.

I don't know how much the legal bills have been for the PGR as they don't tell us.  I would guess in excess of $400,000 but again, that is only a guess.  I know they are hoping that it will be settled once and for all this year but there are avenues for appeal as well.

Which brings me to the point of this email....

When you buy Patriot Guard Riders or MN Patriot Guard merchandise there are only two places to go that fully support our cause.  We ask you shop only at for Patriot Guard Riders gear and for MN Patriot Guard gear.  Buying from anywhere else is putting profit in the pockets of someone who is not supporting our cause.

If you buy from Twisters Store you are helping him in his pursuit of having the PGR become a for-profit store for him by his profits paying his legal bills.

If you buy from eBay or Craigslist there is a good chance they are counterfeit goods.  I have found counterfeit MN Patriot Guard patches on eBay and forced the seller to pull them off.

As always we don't tell people where to shop or what to buy.  As far as I'm concerned you don't have to wear a vest with patches or pins at all.  It is an individual choice as to what you buy and wear.  We only want to make sure you are making an informed choice about where you shop.

Doug Bley
Former Minnesota State Captain
President, Board of Directors
Minnesota Patriot Guard

Karla Richardson
Minnesota State Captain

Friday, November 2, 2012

Veterans Day

With Veterans Day quickly approaching, we would like to take the opportunity, on behalf of the Minnesota Patriot Guard to say "THANK YOU" to all who have served.  We are grateful for your service.