Greetings Brothers and Sisters, If I haven’t already met you in person, please allow me to introduce myself to you as a candidate and my thoughts regarding the office of National Vice President. I delayed sending this letter until after I had an opportunity to meet as many people as I could in person, prior to the vote. I have attended events in Regions 1, 2, 5, and 6, and Region 7 is coming up. My apologies to Region 3, but since Region 3’s event was the same time as 2’s, I couldn’t be in those two places at once.
First and foremost, let me emphasize the fact that I despise dirty politics in ANY arena, and am not a politician. I told both Chris and Don, early in the process, I would NOT be throwing any “shade” on either candidate. They are both very classy and dedicated club members competing for the same position with their perceptions of the best interests of this Club in mind. That won’t change regardless of the outcome of this election. Nothing in this letter should be construed as an attempt to discredit or shame either of them.
Secondly, I stand behind decisions I make, what I believe is the right thing to do, always, and will not bullshit anyone and/or make political promises just to acquire votes. I never have, and never will. My decisions have always been based on the full club picture first. If that means not winning a popularity contest, or counting “likes” on FB or other social media, then so be it.
I retired as a Fire Station Commander (Captain) after gaining 30+ years of experience serving as a Firefighter, Dispatcher, Technician, Technician II, Lt., and Capt. on engines, ladders, heavy rescues, tankers, medic units, brush trucks, and a lengthy tour as the Department’s Hazardous Materials Specialist. My reputation as an involved, “hands-on” participant at every level carries with me to this day.
My club background began in 2003 with Station 25 as just another chucklehead on a motorcycle, leading up to 7 years as a Road Captain, a few years as VP, and eventually more years as P. I have served most recently as the Region 5 RO, which placed me on the National Board through one of this club’s most successful, yet tumultuous, times in its history.
My riding history is still being written, however so far includes riding to 49 of the 50 states (Alaska next year) from D.C. in all weather. And yes, Hawaii was a fly-and-ride, but unavoidable. My wife Snotrag (riding her own) and I have attended Sturgis 4 times, Laconia, Daytona (both Spring and Fall), and Myrtle Beach rallies on multiple occasions. We spent July of 2015 covering 9,000 miles in 27 days to complete our travel map of the U.S., flying our colors without worry in 27 states. Since 2004, I have retired two E-Glides with an average 100,000 miles each. I also ride with the Patriot Guard, providing honors escorts in both Arlington and Quantico National cemeteries, proudly and without fail wearing my Fire and Iron colors on every occasion. In short- I ride. A lot!
After many election conversations with Brothers from all over the country, I’ve seen one consistent yet surprising fact: Most people have no idea what the job description is for the V.P. I’ve also heard the expression “if it aint broke- don’t fix it!” My fire service career and other general life experiences have led me to experience a huge variety of situations that if not managed properly would lead to catastrophic consequences. The worldwide airline industry has also proven false the “aint broke-don’t fix it” expression. This club may not appear to be broken at the moment, but it doesn’t usually take much to change that situation, as I can personally attest.
As members of the first responder community, we can usually disguise our tactical decision making mistakes among the litany of acceptable decision making variables we make on every incident. As a business, or as a club, we can’t use smoke and mirrors to conceal not making the best decision every time. It’s all black and white. You’re right or you’re wrong. Reaching the right answer, without having any experience, is problematic. We always HOPE we make the right decisions, but on what variables are they based? Do we behave like an MC or an RC? Or sometimes even a mom and pop club? I can also attest to the fact, that like it or not, Big Brother IS watching-literally!
I’ve been successful working my way up from the bottom to the successes I have enjoyed, on the job, in life, and with this Club, never in a rush to climb up too fast. And I’m still alive and willing to share what I know.
As a retiree, I can be anywhere I need to be or want to be for this club. I don’t need permission, as Snotrag is very supportive of my endeavors as well as my travel and my children are grown and gone. I don’t need to schedule leave a year in advance, compete for leave or trade shifts to be away from work for abbreviated or rushed periods of time. I treated my position on the Board as a full time job, which it certainly can become at times. I have the time! To quote an excerpt from a recent National E-Board message, “… thank Gary "G-Squared" Gesling ….for his passion for and his time and dedication to the club that he has served. Gary has helped move Fire and Iron MC into the future and his contributions to the club will not soon be forgotten.”
There are some members whom believe the National club rules, bylaws, and management processes don’t apply to them, or fail to understand that their actions in one state might cause significant problems dealing with similar issues in other states. One patch holder’s mistakes can reflect on ALL of us, in both right and wrong decisions. Again, an unfortunate circumstance, but correctable with club support.
Some spend more time trying to “interpret” or bypass rules than to try to understand why they exist and follow them. Another unfortunate circumstance, but correctable with club support.
Some believe that club events are the perfect place to make critical decisions while unable to walk, or are barely conscious enough to speak. An unfortunate circumstance, but correctable with club support.
Some stumble around life in the MC world not having a clue about even BASIC MC Protocol. A more serious unfortunate circumstance, but also correctable with club support. To repeat a phrase I’ve heard at nearly every meeting or phone call I’ve attended regarding these circumstances: “Some members just don’t GET it!!” I’ve grown tired of the status quo, as I know many of you also have. I’d like to do something about it. I believe the position of VP should have a job description, duties and responsibilities assigned, and a deeper involvement managing this club other than to merely hang around waiting to fill in for the National President in times of his unavailability. I offer the above examples as first steps.
I would like to be involved in leading the membership down the right road to “GETTING IT,” and have several programs/ideas on just how this club can do that, quietly, painlessly, and with humility. But it will take your participation and votes to get us there. If you have any specific questions regarding my proposals/solutions I am more than happy to answer/return phone calls or emails. Any time! I have been and will continue traveling to meet with as many of you as I haven’t met yet, to discuss these issues in person, and in proper context. With NO misinterpretations! A few years ago, the National Secretary reported only a roughly 30 percent of the national membership responding to a National vote. Seriously? You all need to be involved in this club’s decision making at every opportunity! Vote your own conscience and don’t allow your vote to be manipulated to meet someone else’s agenda. Abstaining on a vote because you haven’t taken the time to understand the issues is absolutely deplorable. Burnout has a phone and email. So does Match, and so do I! If you don’t receive an individual phone call from any of us, you should make a call on your own to further discuss any issues or question you or your stations may have. Communication is always a two way street.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with a little challenge to get your juices flowing and give you something to think about: First, can you identify which circumstances make Fire and Iron MC a motorcycle club rather than a riding club? Secondly, can you identify the reasons why we are respected by clubs all over this country and allowed to function as an MC to start with? If you can’t, give me a call and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Thank you for taking the time to read and share this info with your stations. And thank you in advance for your vote when the time comes. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Rally!
Gary “G-Squared” Gesling