To the Virginia Patriot Guard Riders
We, the Virginia Patriot Guard Leadership Team work for you. Our goal is to support the troops per the PGR mission statement in the safest way possible. We started on the flag line and we still stand the flag line. This organization is not about us. We don't own it, we don't run it, and we don't control it. You listen to us on missions and follow us, because you want to, not because you have to. We, every last Rider in the PGR, are volunteers. What "leadership" does is make contact with the right folks for setting up missions, plan those mission, ensure the details get disseminated and execute them as safely as possible.
You won't get 'orders' from an R/C in Virginia as we are not a Para-military or a militant organization. PGR is a collection of Patriotic Volunteers that get a level of satisfaction in doing the right thing. The "leadership" is only here to make it easier, safer and smoother for all the Riders in their pursuit of showing respect. Without the Riders we are nothing but a couple of Red Hats trying to cover it all on our own. We have the same drive that all the Riders have. We will always respectfully request your assistance.
No one will belittle you or your choice of rides, be it bike or cage. We truly appreciate every single Rider and their dedication to this mission. Whether you can only make 6 missions a year or 6 in a month, we thank you for being there. We don't ask anyone to try to ride every mission, only those missions they are capable of. While we recognize the outstanding group of individuals who we see at almost every mission, there is no 'club' or clique mentality. No "Kat's Riders" or "Dave’s Army"... We welcome all and all are part of the Virginia Patriot Guard. You will get your hand shaken and probably a hug at missions.
You will never hear anyone in Virginia refer to anything in the PGR as "What we built..." Egos really have no place in what we do. The moment that occurs, the focus has changed from the ones we are here for, to being about us. That's when we would need to step down and just hold a flag. There is no 'pride in authorship' for what the RCs do here. We didn't do anything that anyone else couldn't do. There isn't anything special requiring expert knowledge. All of the Virginia "Leadership" knows they are not irreplaceable. We know that good people would step up in a heartbeat to carry on what needs to be done. We have no driving need to be recognized or 'in-charge'. If we were to have a disagreement that we could not resolve then we would just turn in our Red Hats, get blue ones and stand the flag line. It's more important than individual vanities. We know we don't deserve anything other than the honor of “Standing for Those Who Stood for Us”. It doesn't matter how long we've been Riders or RCs, Assistant SCs or the SC. It doesn't matter how many missions we've attend or planned. To steal a phrase from another PGR Rider; "The only mission that matters to the family, is the one you are on now."
There were some misconceptions or mistakes in our communications in the past. At least some individuals in Virginia thought we were planning on 'Splitting' from National. Nothing could ever have been farther from the truth. Having a disagreement and being unsatisfied with the National Leadership does not equate to a split. While we may be unhappy with some past (and probably future) events with the National PGR, those folks have taken on great responsibility and workload. If the military teaches us anything, it is to work from within and through the communication chain. We believe in the foundations of this organization and we would never weaken it or place ourselves above its goals. Splitting would make it about us, telling the world we think we're more important than what we do. Splitting ALWAYS involves ego. That would take an ego level we just don't have. Again; it’s not about us. We hope that our communication efforts have alleviated any misgivings.
Every Assistant State Captain as well as the State Captain in Virginia can be reached via the e-mail addresses listed on the - Contacts - page . We solicit your inputs, suggestions, gripes and complaints. All of our individual e-mail addresses are available on the Virginia Patriot Guard Web Site. We are always available at the Staging Areas, Rally Points or after missions if you want to bend our ears. We would definitely welcome input on anything that would increase our ridership in Virginia. We aren't looking for 'atta-boy'... We're looking for the 'aw crap!'...
Thank you for your support and dedication,
The Virginia Patriot Guard Leadership Team
*Adapted from Maryland State Forum; B. Parnes, 28 April 08 “Covenant of Respect”
**Edited for Virginia by Woody ‘Rustpicker’ Wagner, Virginia Assistant State Captain, 16 OCT 09