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edit: because of the popular response, and how fast it's coming now, I'm going to quit maintaining the list of current items in this post. Please feel free to post to this thread to mention any items your adding to the sale.


Here's the thing: I'm stuck for ideas. I've been trying my best to come up with a sequel to the National Relay Ride idea, but evidently that Miracle Tree only bore one fruit this year. The problem is that there is another one of our most active, long-time VR "family" members just as much in desperate need of financial help. This time, it's not from disease, but as nagging complications from a traffic accident that has kept him out of work over two years now, and that has piled up tremendous medical bills on top of everything else.

I know everyone is whipped from hearing sad stories of hard times and pleas for help, and if you're one of those who just can't do any more, I understand, and you're free to close the window and move on. It IS going to be the "long version." On the other hand, if you'd at least like to hear what I'm personally going to try to do, you're welcome to keep reading, and if the mood strikes you, you're absolutely welcome to join in, in any way you see fit. (And in the mean time, I haven't given up on the Miracle Tree, and I'm hoping warmer weather will bring another fun idea!)

How I got involved in all this: Six months ago, I only knew Rick Fletcher as Fletch24990. But being blessed to be in the position I was of coordinating the National Relay Ride in response to the needs of Dean10e (now aka IronMan after kicking cancer's azz! :) ), I was able to get to know better several of you online and in person. Fletch was one of the last of those I started swapping PMs with regularly, because I wanted to know why he couldn't ride his leg of the relay when it finally made its way to southern Louisiana. Little by little, since he was so reluctant to sound like he was complaining, I was able to piece together his story, which he's told to a small extent and sporadically in posts that I had somehow missed completely.

Rick was one of the very first folks to donate twenty dollars to the cause the Relay was working for, with high hopes for being able to ride and do his part when it came his way. At that time, he'd been out of work for almost a year and a half, but the doctors were telling him things were going to get better soon. The accident, in April of 2006, in which an illegal alien running drugs, with no license or insurance, came across the median of I-12 and head-on into Rick's truck with him and wife Brenda in it, causing the truck to roll five times, and simultaneously immediately killed the other driver. The first witnesses to stop and help just happened to have the medical experience necessary to save Rick's life, and control the bleeding where his bone had severed an artery and come thru his leg. It's been a long two years of surgery and trying everything to save his shattered leg and ankle. I've recently seen the pictures of the aftermath of the accident and I can tell you I don't see how anyone survived. Brenda was able to return to work, thankfully, after several weeks recovery time, but medical bills keep whipping income.

But back to my story... so why couldn't Rick ride in the Relay as he had expected? Well, in the fall they decided to do an MRI to see why his back was hurting so bad and getting worse, not better as he'd been led to hope. (The doctor had said it was because of the orthopedic boot he had been wearing to help his leg heal.) But instead, they discovered ruptured discs! So, since then he's been undergoing extremely painful steroid injection treatments, to no avail it appears, with surgery now the only option left.

After hearing some of this, I started reading some back posts, and paying a little more attention to what Fletch24990 had to say, and what kind of person he seemed to be behind the handle. What I found was a man who, while in private was beginning to admit he was at the end of his rope, both financially and emotionally, in public was able to still put on one of the most pleasant, and ENCOURAGING faces of anyone I've "met" on the site. He's almost always one of the first to post a sympathetic response to one of us who is suffering, or a pat on the back when we have something good to report. More than once I've had to wonder where it was coming from, because his PMs, since we were getting to know each other better, were sounding more and more desperate. But he would never ask for anything, and when offered, he wouldn't accept! I tell you this, that I've never told him until now, but I think his misfortunes have caused him to feel unworthy of our help. And he's so wrong. If anyone is, I'm convinced he is. This is a good man who has literally been sapped physically, emotionally, and financially, by a truly remarkable run of bad luck.

I don't want to make this a litany of his troubles, but that's only the beginning. Those of you who have been following the thread I started a while back, having to coax him out of the closet just to let you send him good wishes and nothing else, know some more of what he's been dealing with just since, and on top of, his accident. His mother is in the hospital in Mississippi, his little 15 yr old pooch has teminal cancer, one car has broken down and the other was just run into (luckily the culprit had insurance this time), and so many more misfortunes that his neighbor has coined the term "fletcherized" to describe it. (NOTE to those who took the time just to write: Rick tries, but he's not much with words sometimes, and you may never know what a positive impact you made, and how much it was appreciated in every detail!)

It has really come home to me in the last year just how fortunate I am, especially when compared to so many on here like Dean and Fletch. There are others, too, but not many who have been here as consistently as them. If there are and I knew of them, I'd be shaking the Miracle Tree even harder! From some of the stories several of you shared during the Relay, either puclicly or privately, of your experiences either personally, or through friends or family, I know many of you have faced similar challenges as Dean was facing, and I expect the same will be true in this situation, and since these are the valuable reminders to me of how lucky I am, I appreciate each story very much.

So, since the Relay Ride was wrapping up, and I was beginning to bond with Fletch, I began looking for something to do to lend a hand in a way he could accept. The VR Store (volusiaridersstore.com ;) ) was an idea I'd been knocking around for a while, and when Wiggo agreed, it just all seemed to come together. Considering my own situation with the government, which prevents me from taking any trackable profit from anything (it's okay to disclose that much I guess, since the IRS and I are at least talking to each other again these days :roll: ), combined with Rick's need to find some income source at home, it seemed a match made in heaven. It was a way to convince this hard-head that he could earn some income WITHOUT having to accept anything that could be termed "charity."

Since starting the Store, I decided it might be nice to meet my new "partner" in person, and I've just returned from a 1,200 mile road trip to do just that. I've got a new Brother! As is everyone I've met in person from this site, you couldn't ask for anyone nicer. The man behind the handle is Genuine, in all respects, I assure you.

Here's a picture of Rick, on the right, with Pete Townsend:


:lol: 8)

Alas, while the store is a tremendous success in my mind (thanks to Rick's hard work and your patronization!), it has been a slow start when measured against the need. And I've decided that there's no time left to wait for the Miracle Tree to produce again, the situation is too critical (the wolves aren't at the door, they're in the house!, as Rick recently put it), and it's time to go with what I've got. The idea behind the Store was to generate income without Rick having to accept any sort of handout from anyone, on my part or yours. I've finally convinced him it's time to let down that barrier. But only as a compromise, so far. I am not at this point asking anyone for anything. I am only sharing my story with the rest of the family as motivation for what I'm doing, and if you choose to do the same, that's up to each of you individually.

WHAT I'M DOING: (Finally! The "meat of the matter"!)

You've heard of a community garage sale? I'm having one. So far, I'm the only one. If anyone posts next, they can be in it, too. :D If no one else posts, I'll just keep finding stuff. The idea is that all proceeds will go directly to Fletch. It starts NOW, and there's no ending date set. You can sell or auction off junk or something nice, it's up to you. (I plan to do both!) If I were going to suggest something, I would suggest one something that you've been wanting to get rid of anyway. It doesn't have to be bike related in any way. You can do it on ebay, or on here. I'm going to start on here at the end of this post, by providing a current list of links to active threads in the Swap Meet section, where I'll be auctioning off a couple of nice things.

I should stress that all of this is totally separate and independent from anything the VR Store is doing. Rick is working for his money there, what there is of it, I promise. As a matter of fact, I should mention that this man is so big-hearted, even in his own cash-strapped situation, he could not look at the pictures of Alyssa Fowler (posted in another great assistance effort being organized by Bulldawg) without insisting that we had to help some way. Thus the donation of one dollar per sale to Alyssa's Fund during our first critical month of operation.

So, that's about it for where I'm at. Below this will be posted and kept up to date all the links to active threads in the Swap Meet for items benefitting Fletch.

Oh wait! There's one more thing:

IF anyone else WANTS to participate, I will personally give away a $25 VR Store gift certificate to whoever raises the most money on ONE ITEM. AND... another $25 gift certificate to whoever donates the "oddest" item for sale/auction. (What's "oddest"? I dunno. It'll be up to a vote of the participants! :) ) That's not to say that you can't participate more than once, but in trying to make something fun in the way of a game out of this, the ONE item that raises the most, and the ONE oddest, will win. There is a deadline for this competition, and it's MAY 15th. After that, we'll see. :)

If you want to run an auction, you're free to run it any way you want, but please remember time is critical. I don't plan to run anything over a week. ALSO, if you'd like to link to this post as an explanation of what you're doing, please feel free to do so!

Again, we are NOT looking for charitably high bids or sale prices on any of these items, but only what you (or even those who quit reading a long time ago! ;) ) feel they're worth. (But, that being said, I'm still going to start mine off in auction format! :) )

If you read this far, then thank you just for that!

If this doesn't get the job done, never fear! I will be back with another idea!

I'll leave it as enough said for now, and hum some Pink Floyd as I stroll away to post some threads in the swap meet...

"...on the wings of the night,
as the daytime is stirring..."

hmmm hmmm hmmmm hmmm hmm hmm... ;)

-----------------------------------------------

ACTIVE GARAGE SALE ITEMS:


please see the topic lists in the Swap Meet and Family & Friends sections for items listed as benefitting Fletch!

Feel free to post in this thread a link to anything you want to offer for sale!

Thank you everyone!!!
 

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Robert, I'm stuck for words but obviously I already knew something was coming. You are right about Rick and his huge heart and it will be an honor to help.

Quick question - if I have few nice items for a yard sale but don't have the time to hold one myself, would it be okay to send those items to you for your yard sale(s)? I am thinking of a very good PENN saltwater fishing reel, possibly a rod, and other odds and ends that people might like. Or would you rather me having it on eBAY? It's all the same to me, as long as we can raise some money for our brother.

I know how Rick feels about this, he is embarassed to accept anything for free, but these things will come from the heart and hopefully jump-start him a little on his medical bills etc.

Finally, again, I know Rick from countless mails and phone calls and plan a flight out to LA to visit him later in fall. A kind, generous, helpful, caring soul. I hope this will find a lot of attention and participation!!!! And Mighty, you are ONE HECK of a brother - God bless you!!!

Carsten
 

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Discussion Starter #3
carsten, i'll send you a pm and we'll sure work it out! if that's a requirement for anyone who wants to participate, i'll be glad to handle the sale or auction for you. just post up and let me know to contact you!

it's what i've seen others do on this site that inspires whatever i do. i got a lot of karma to dig out of. :D
 

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mightydog said:
carsten, i'll send you a pm and we'll sure work it out! if that's a requirement for anyone who wants to participate, i'll be glad to handle the sale or auction for you. just post up and let me know to contact you!

it's what i've seen others do on this site that inspires whatever i do. i got a lot of karma to dig out of. :D
Great Robert, waiting for PM and we'll get things moving.
 

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Robert, you've done it again. This is an excellent way to get Rick some of the help he needs without asking folks for a straight out donation. I like the way you think.

I've said it before, you are the Mightiest of Dogs.
 

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I sold a clear tail lens on here last week for $20. After shipping, it netted me about $15. I'll forward those proceeds to Fletch and the good cause. Do I PayPal that $15 to you, mightydog, and then you'll disburse them to Fletch in one lump sum? Is that the way you want this to work?
 

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pbryon said:
I sold a clear tail lens on here last week for $20. After shipping, it netted me about $15. I'll forward those proceeds to Fletch and the good cause. Do I PayPal that $15 to you, mightydog, and then you'll disburse them to Fletch in one lump sum? Is that the way you want this to work?
nope. straight to rick! you can use the paypal address for the vr store, which is [email protected]

and that's VERY considerate of you! y'all always stretch my brain! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
More new stuff going on! Check the bottom of the top post for current links!

Just want to be sure everyone who needs one knows about, and gets a shot at this:

A chance at a free rider's backrest from Lonnie for only $6 !!!

==============================

ALSO, a quick note of explanation:

I've asked Rick to stay away from these threads having to do with the Garage Sale. At first, I didn't want his anxiety to be heightened any more than it is over having to accept our help, by his worrying and wondering if any or how many will respond. And also, not only would I rather not bog things down with too much chat, making it harder to keep up with for everyone, but I'd rather him not be burdened with feeling like he needs to be thanking everyone constantly for everything, which he's so worried about.

Trust me, as you'll find out from him eventually, he is SO grateful to you ALL. Even I don't have the words for it, and it pains me to hear him try to express it so often. Please know that you're so very deeply appreciated for everything you have done.

Which reminds me...

Rick wanted to expressly thank everyone who sent him something more than good wishes in the last couple of months, unsolicited, and to be sure you don't think the need for a larger effort is any sort of sign that your gift wasn't significant or appreciated. Please trust me again, it was.

If you'd like to keep up with his latest news and communicate your continued best wishes to him, you can do so directly by PM, or in the original thread that he's still posting to regularly: http://www.volusiariders.com/viewtopic.php?t=67648

Other than that, you don't have to be SO quiet. :lol:
 

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I'll put some non-motorcycle related items on eBay next week and post the links here in case someone is interested in them. I have some really good fishing reels from PENN plus some other odds and ends I can find. Except shipping charges, all proceeds will be directly forwarded to Rick. Hope others will do the same with things around the house they don't need anymore - helping a brother in need is the most noble of all causes here!
 

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I'm in

I'm in guys!

I'll find something and make sure that it goes ASAP so I can forward the $ to Rick.

We have inspired each other through some tough days and I can't wait to be able to contribute a little to his efforts!

Robert, nobody needs to remind you, but I will anyway...You're one of the best friends a man can have. You really do have a huge heart, with the honor and spirit of a fine soldier. A soldier that looks just like Pete Townsend these days. Thank you again for all you do. Those that have a heart will understand and honor your allegiance to your Brothers and Sisters.
 

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Re: I'm in

IronMan said:
I'm in guys!

I'll find something and make sure that it goes ASAP so I can forward the $ to Rick.

We have inspired each other through some tough days and I can't wait to be able to contribute a little to his efforts!

Robert, nobody needs to remind you, but I will anyway...You're one of the best friends a man can have. You really do have a huge heart, with the honor and spirit of a fine soldier. A soldier that looks just like Pete Townsend these days. Thank you again for all you do. Those that have a heart will understand and honor your allegiance to your Brothers and Sisters.
Amen!
 

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Hey Carsten, do you have any Zassenhaus coffee grinders that you'll be putting up for auction????
 

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Discussion Starter #14
THANK YOU, DEAN! Your support means more than you know. Especially when you're having to stuggle yourself with the same financial challenges, to be able to find a way to contribute means a lot. My heart's size has expanded exponentially since being inspired by what YOU managed to do in the last year, and by seeing the response of this 'community' when a need was highlited. I can't tell you how it's changed my life, and made me appreciate so much more what I'm lucky enough to have. God bless ya, big brother! (You're gonna make me start blubberin'. :oops: )

Carsten, and everyone else, if you let me know when you get the links to anything you're selling, I'll be thrilled to update the original post to include them in the active sales list.

Thanks, everyone!
 

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Air4ceOne said:
Hey Carsten, do you have any Zassenhaus coffee grinders that you'll be putting up for auction????
I don't know what exactly a Zassenhaus grinder is but I have one of these very cute manual grinders that is blue/white and says "Kaffee" on the little drawer - I might send you a picture of it - grinds coffee fresh like a charm :)
 

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How can you be German and not know what Zassenhaus is???? It's only the KING of German grinders! :wink:
 

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Air4ceOne said:
How can you be German and not know what Zassenhaus is???? It's only the KING of German grinders! :wink:
Ehh, I have a Senseo :lol:
 

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Way to go Mighty! You are a very imaginative and caring person. I'm making a list of stuff right now. This sounds fun!
 

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Okay, not quite sure yet how this will work, but I have the first item out on eBay (the German coffee grinder / collectable or usable).

Click HERE for eBay link. Picture below.

 

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Thanks everybody for helping my buddy out.
He deserves it let me tell you. Rick didn't ask for any of this to happen to him. I saw his truck and it is hard to believe him or his wife walked away from it alive. I saw his foot and leg to and let me tell you just looking at it made me start hurting.
He is a proud guy and won't ever ask anybody for help but he really needs it right now.
This is a great thing you folks are doing.
I know if one of you needed something Rick would flip backwards trying to help you.
Please help him out.
 
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