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    Tribes Hill, NY
  1. In most states there is confusion as to what is required for testing for a motorhome over 26,000 lbs. 26,000 Lbs is pretty much the standard weight agreed upon for requiring a special license but what I required for the test is always a point of discussion. To begin with many policemen don't even know that one is required. Where you have problems is that if you are involved in an accident and the other driver or an attorney does know then you can be charged with driving out of class and receive a ticket. I have been teaching CDL drivers many years in NYS and still find that some DMV clerks are not familiar with the permits and occasionally I will run across a summer or part time examiner who is not familiar with a RV test. In NYS the test consists of three rights, three left turns and parallel parking and or backing up to the examiner. Before backing you must shut the coach off, secure the parking brake and walk behind the coach to make sure it is clear and then ask the examiner to observe for you. Where some examiners are confused they may require you to do a brake test which consists of shutting your engine off, taking your parking brake off and holding steady pressure on the foot brake for one minute to insure that it does not loose more than 2 lbs. of air in a minute. Then with your parking brake on and your engine off you pump the air down until the warning buzzer comes on. When you start to move you must apply your brakes within the first 50 feet to insure that they work properly. This is not required on an RV test but sometimes it is wiser to go through the process if asked to do so instead of getting off on the wrong foot with the examiner. No other pretrip is required. I have only had one person fail an RV test and that was a retired police officer who got into an argument with the examiner about a brake test prior to the road test and even though he was a good driver he failed with 100 points. I had the test rescheduled for the next day and he passed with flying colors with a different examiner. Diplomatman2002
  2. To all our Veterans thank you for your service to our country. To all the Veterans Families thank you for all your sacrifices Now it is our turn to climb the mountains and perform the miracles for you. MOUNTAINS TO MIRACLES VETERANS FOUNDATION INC. http://mmvf.org
  3. Since I started Mountains To Miracles Veterans Foundation which is a Not For Profit organization that serves Disabled Veterans in receiving benefits, securing housing, and receiving trained companion dogs, I have met many hero's but little did I know that in the past few years I have served on the National FMCA Executive Board with one of them. Below is a picture of Charlie Adcock , South Central National Vice President receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross during service in Viet Nam. To Charlie Adcock and all our veterans , Thank You for your service. Paul DuBois-President Mountains To Miracles Veterans Foundation Northeast Area National Vice President
  4. There are several reasons as to why there will be no Northeast Area Rally in 2013. One of the main reasons is because of chapter and member support. In 2012 we had 377 member coaches, 37 vendors and one coach dealer with 10 coaches. It is only goes to reason if there is not a good family coach attendance that the vendors are not interested in attending. Vendors have found that their sales in general are way down all over the country. They have stated that people will attend the rallies, look at their products, decide if they want them and then buy them off the internet at a much lower price. When a vendor looks at what it cost them to travel to the rally, pay a rally fee, pay for parking, ship their products to the rally and if they are not sold to ship them to the next location, it is not cost effective. Another reason is that we have a situation where one of our larger chapters holds a multi chapter rally in Oswego, N.Y. that is held within a month of our Area Rally and draws from our attendance. Another muti chapter rally is held in Quonset Point, RI. within a month of our rally. In 2013 Good Sam will hold a National convention in Syracuse, NY from June 13-16 and FMCA will hold their National Convention in Gillette, WY. on June 19th. All of these events draw both family coaches and vendors away from our rally. Good Sam has announced that starting in 2014 , they will hold regional rallies in or near where FMCA holds rallies. Prior to my election as Northeast Area Vice President , a five year contract was signed with the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, VT. to hold our rally at that location. This is an excellent facility and the management is excellent to work with but we constantly receive complaints that some chapters do not want to return to the facility despite it's facilities which are impossible to duplicate anywhere in the Area. In 2012 in order to afford the rally, we partnered with several veterans organizations and made the rally a veterans appreciation rally and held several special events as fund raisers for veterans . The understanding was that any profits from those organizations would be used for veterans which we have done. In addition the Champlain Valley Expo gave us a $15,000 discount on the rally expenses. Due to rally attendance and support we have lost money on nearly every rally since 2008. We suffer the same problems that most Areas do. Our members are aging out and not traveling much anymore, people are not volunteering , and costs are going up. For instance we just received notice that the cost of golf carts for 2014 will increase by $10.00 per cart due to rising transportation and other costs. I hope this explains why there will be no 2013 Northeast Rally and why Rallies in the future are in Jeopardy. Paul DuBois National Vice President Northeast Area
  5. Hi Jim Our contact information is E-mail veteranshopefoundation@ymail.com Phone 518-829-7767 Snail mail Veterans Hope Foundation, P.O. Box 137,119 Second Avenue East, tribes Hill, NY, 12177 Our organization assists disabled veterans in several ways. We help build homes, obtain benefits, arrainge transportation, among other services. We were recently asked by pets For Vets to establish a New York State Chapter and are in the process of doing so. We are also forming a Veterans Hope Foundation Military Families Chorus which will include spouses of deployed soldiers and will perform at concerts to raise funds for our work. We network with several other veterans organizations to serve the disabled vets. Below is part of an article about the ceremony we just had on Christmas Eve day to turn over the keys to a $450,000 completly handicapped accessable Smart Home to Sgt Joe Wilkinson and his family. Made possible by all of our organizations such as Tunnel To Towers, patriot Guard, Rolling Thunder and veterans Hope Foundation working together. Before the Wilkinson’s were introduced to their new home, many people got up to speak about the outpouring of community support that went into the house, the expediency and dedication from Ponte to make sure the house was complete before Christmas and the importance of helping wounded war¬riors. But while the Wilkinson’s were grateful for the new home, those in attendance wanted to make sure to express their gratitude for the sacrifices made by Wilkinson for his country. Wilkinson became para¬lyzed after suffering degenerative nerve dam¬age, known as Gulf War Syndrome, due to being exposed to toxic chemicals during his tours of duty in Iraq. Medical bills started putting a financial strain on Wilkinson. But after Paul Dubois, who works for Hunter Motor Coach, Inc., saw a story on televi¬sion about a fundraiser thrown by the Troy Police Benevolent Association, he was determined to get in contact with him. After making a friend in Ponte while transporting Sgt. Eddie Ryan, another wounded soldier, to Washington D.C. for the D.C. marathon, DuBois was able to get in contact with Wilkinson and visit his home. "I was able to meet him and see his house was so small," DuBois said. "I said, ‘We can’t let that go.’" With DuBois’ help, the Stephen Stiller Tunnel to Towers foundation was able to provide what Wilkinson said is "the best Christmas present ever." And Wilkinson already has plans to be involved in other projects put forth by Building for America’s Bravest. In his opinion, it’s the least he could do. "There are no words I can say to express my grat¬itude," Wilkinson said while sitting in a chair in his new home. "I’ll pay this forward and my actions will show." Andrew Beam may also be reached at 270-1294.
  6. I just sent you a private message with our contact information . Paul
  7. I had no idea that on 9/11/01 at 6am when I pretripped my Hunter Motorcoach as I had hundreds of times before enroute to pick up a group of senior citizens to go to a luncheon theater near New Paltz, NY that on that day my life would change forever. We decided to stop at the New Baltimore service area on the NY Thruway and that is where the change began. We saw the second plane hit the Twin Towers and I knew that I would be called upon to move troops as our company had a military contract. How right I was, I had just reached our destination when I received a phone call and was told to feed the group, take them home, and wait for further instructions. I received a call a short while later instructing me to go to Niagara Falls, NY to pick up a Military Police company and transport them to Stewart Airforce Base in Newburg, NY. When I arrived in Newburg, I was told go to your bus and get some sleep. At 2am I was awaken and instructed to take my troops to NYC . That was a scene that I will never forget. Ever since that day I have transported troops on a regular basis and have seen too many that I have known give the ultimate sacrifice and many more come back with serious injuries knowing that life will never be the same for them and their families. In 2010 as National Northeast Area Vice President I took part in a phone conference regarding a request from former Marine Sgt. Bryan Purcell requesting assistance to transport Marine Sgt Eddie Ryan from Ellenville, NY to Washington, DC to take part in the Marine Marathon. Sgt Ryan was a Marine sniper who was on a rooftop in Iraq when he was shot in the head twice and was revived and after a long recovery in Bethesda Navy hospital came home with a brain injury and paralyzed. except for his one arm. When interviewed on a television program and asked his goal in life he said take part in the Marine marathon. Sgt Purcell heard the program and as Marines do he made sure it would happen. Since I had contacts in the RV industry and was involved in the bus industry I volunteered to assist Sgt Purcell. I contacted Alpin Haus RV and received the use of a motorhome to transport Sgt. Ryan but found that his wheelchair would not fit through the door. an airline wheelchair solved that problem as it was not as wide. The next step was to secure a Wheelchair bus as it would make the transportation in Washington easier. I contacted Adirondack Trailways who donated a bus and driver. When in Washington , Sgt Ryan asked to visit Bethesda Military Hospital so he could thank the doctors and nurses that saved his life. Little did we know that at Bethesda we would meet General Jim Amos the Marine Commandant who gave Eddie a medal. On the way back to our hotel for dinner Sgt Ryan asked to pick up a friend Specialist Brendan Morraco who lost both arms and legs . to have dinner with us. I will never forget him coming out of Walter Reed Hospital riding on his brothers back with his prothestic arm around his brothers neck to hold on. John Ponte who was assisting us and was a retired Navy veteran said to me "Paul we have to help him". John contacted the Tunnel to Towers Foundation in NYC and as a result Brendan had a new special smart home built for him which unfortunately was recently destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. I have arrainged for an FMCA e-mail Blast to raise funds to help rebuild it. After our return from the trip Sgt. Purcell and I decided that we would continue working for the veterans causes and gave a presentation to FMCA at a convention to request that a national FMCA program be established. However it was thought that since we wanted to focus on more than one service area that it would not work. Upon returning home I spoke with my Northeast Area Board and we formed the Northeast Veterans Outreach Program and we continued our work. which included starting fundraising for a home for Airforce Veteran Joe Wilkinson who is a victim of chemical poisoning and is paralyzed from the waist down. In cooperation with the Tunnel to Towers foundation, he will move into his specially built home on December 7th. Our next step was to form a Not For Profit organization independent of FMCA We now have formed Veterans Hope Foundation which has among it's Board Of Directors veterans. We have found that no task is to great if you work together and network. We have developed a network of many service organizations such as Tents For Troops, Blue Water Navy Vets., American Legion, VFW, Schriners, Veterans For Change, Tunnel to Towers, NEEDS which furnishes therapy dogs for disabled vets and several other organizations. Recently we were asked to form a NYS chapter of Pets For Vets which supplies companion animals for vets suffering from Post traumatic stress situations and other needs. That is being accomplished. We are presently forming a Military Families Chorus which is modeled after the Military Wives chorus in England . This chorus will do benefit concerts for fundraising for the disabled veterans. There is no task too great to accomplish if we are only willing to work together to make it a reality. You can only fail if you don't try. What a way for FMCA to reach the age group that we need to reach to keep this great organization growing, by reaching out to the veterans and helping to meet their needs. Paul DuBois Northeast Area Vice President President Veterans Hope Foundation
  8. Hi Ben, In the Northeast Area we do not presently have a Class B chapter. There are several chapters who have members with Class B motorhomes especially now as many longtime members are downsizing. You will find that you would be welcomed into them. If you would be interested in forming a class B chapter I would be happy to assist you. Please feel free to contact me at diplomatman2002@yahoo.com Paul DuBois Northeast Area National Vice President
  9. Dan and Donna, To answer your questions about the Northeast area rally, this year's rally has many new and exciting events that will interest all ages. We will have the usual events that are a part of all rallies such as vendors, seminars, coach displays, chapter fairs and ice cream socials but also there will be a pig roast, driver rodeo for both towables and motorhomes, a ladies driving class for both towables and motorhomes, a golf cart obstacle driving contest where the driver is blindfolded and guided through pylons by the co-pilot. Also, such options as a zip line and rock climbing event, a hot air balloon ride, a sailboat cruise on Lake Champlain, a tour of the Coast Guard station, a brewery tour, sky divers, and several other events. On Sunday there will be a day of pet events. There will be a dog agility event, dog Frisbee catching event, a dog groomer, a dog trainer, a veterinarian and a police dog show. There will be four evenings of entertainment. Volunteers will come in on Wednesday July 18th, other attendees will come in on Thursday July19th. all persons interested in volunteering for any function are welcome. Anyone wishing to come into the grounds prior to Wednesday or stay later than the end of the rally may do so by contacting the Champlain Valley Expo Center at 1-802-878-5545, rates are very reasonable. Anyone having any questions may contact me at diplomatman2002@yahoo.com . We look forward to seeing you. Paul DuBois Northeast Area Vice President
  10. In the Northeast Area we have one of the best Area Rallies anywhere. If you look at the activities listed on our Registration form you willl find many new and exciting events that are geared to attracting new members in fact this only being February and our Rally is July 19-22 we already have several members registered and also several vendors and yes we are inviting towables and they will be parked without discrimination as they come in. The apathy that I was speaking to was not the attendance at chapter events or rally events it was to the willingness in many cases to serve in chapter offices and give input as to how to make FMCA better. I am fortunate to have one of the best Area Executive Boards anyone could ask for and I certainly have a great group of volunteers. My area has the same problem that other areas does, chapters failing due to lack of officers . All of the Area VP's get out and travel to area meetings and events as much as possible. Sometime ask any Area VP or National Officer how much it has cost them out of their own pockets to do their job you may be surprised-- it is not a small amount. Paul DuBois
  11. I agree with Allen . I have served on the Executive Board with Allen for nearly three years and he is telling it like it is. One of the greatest problems that FMCA is facing today is APATHY. I know that in my area I on a regular basis send out news items and requests for input from officers, chapter contact persons and members. The first response that I receive is many e-mails bouncing back due to incorrect e-mail addresses. My list is from the National list so they have the same problem. Aside from that I may receive one or two responses from those that receive the e-mails. I know that most of the Executive Board member share the same situation. This Executive Board has been faced with probably the most difficult situations in the history of FMCA. As a result of this they have had to make some of the most difficult decisions of any Board. In any organization when the revenue flows in and money is not a problem and cuts do not have to be made everyone is happy. This is not the case now. This Executive Board has to weigh every expenditure to decide if it is necessary and in the best interest of FMCA. We have been faced with making a commitment to update our IT department to bring it in compliance with federal regulations, this has been approved by the Governing Board and will cost around $150,,000. This is only one of the decisions that have had to be made. The Interim Executive Director has been instructed to furnish the Executive Board with his plans to cut expenditures to attempt to bring the expenses in line with the revenue. This is no easy task. At present it is estimated that due to the loss of membership and as a result of the loss of membership a decline in Magazine advertising revenue that our revenue is only meeting 65% of our expenses. How do we address that problem. Below are some of the possibilities: 1. Raise dues: The result of a dues increase is as follows. We will lose some members, we will also have a rush of members renewing at the present rate for coming years which will delay revenue to help our problem. 2. Continue to draw from our reserves at the estimated rate of $100,000 per month. It is estimated that our organization can last about four years by doing this. 3. Cut staff and or benefits: If we cut staff this will result in a loss of services to the Areas and members and the ability to provide the services that our members expect and deserve. 4. Allow towables to become a part of the solution in some manner. This without a question is controversial with strong feelings on both sides. 5. Hear positive suggestions from members. Perhaps your suggestion could be the silver bullet that no one has thought of. perhaps you by your positive input could be a savior to FMCA. It is your decision are you going to be the critic with no solution or are you going to be joining the Executive Board in working to benefit this great organization? It is your decision. Paul DuBois Northeast Area Vice President
  12. Hi, There are some good places to stop enroute and several good campgrounds. In Camden Maine there is the Camden Hills Campground and also Megunticook campground. One of the things that the kids may enjoy is to take a ride on one of the tall ships in Camden Harbor. They allow dogs and we took our three on the ships several years ago and it wasn't a problem. You might enjoy a stop at the Maine State prison Gift Shop in Thomaston just south of Camden on Route 1 they have some execllent wood working products made by the prisioners and is well worth seeing. If you want information on Nova Scotia contact Pricillia Crowther who is the contact for the Scotian Roamers chapter , her e-mail is: priscillacrowther@hotmail.com I am sure that she would help you. Make sure you have all the dog's health records and their shots are up to date If you need any further information that isn't covered by anyone on this forum, don't hesitate to e-mail me at diplomatman2002@yahoo.com and I will have one of our members that live in that area contact you and help you Paul DuBois Northeast Area Vice President
  13. Hi The Band was Dan Gable and the Abletones at the Northeast Area Rally. Dan Gable has played with the Glenn Miller Band. They are from Mass. Paul DuBois Northeast Area Vice President
  14. Chris; I do not expect everyone to agree with my statements and respect your right to disagree. I have based my statements on my knowlege as an Executive Board member and my conversations with younger members and members who have been in FMCA for years and also former members who have given up traveling in a motorhome and downsized to a smaller towable. I have the greatest respect for our Life members and last year at our rally many of them were in attendance and were honored at a rally dedicated to George Snyder, who was instrumental for creating the Life Memberships that saved FMCA many years ago. I seek their advice very often. For instance I received a phone call from one of our early members last week asking about towables at our rally, and when I told her that we were allowing them, she said that it made her very happy because her son had a towable and would be able to bring her so she could see her friends. Now times are different from when FMCA was formed. The economy is in very difficult shape, and the interests and goals of younger families are not the same as they were several years ago. Toy haulers and pickup trucks are popular ways to camp. Prior to becoming an Area Vice President I spent 14 years involved in the RV business and still keep in touch with all my dealers in the Northeast and know the sales trends that is what I base my statements on. At the present time our revenue is meeting approximate 65% of our expenses; Because our membership is under one hundred thousand members, which is a benchmark for advertisers to place their dollars, our magazine income is down over one million dollars despite the fact that the magazine staff is doing their best to increase revenue. We are experiencing a loss of over 600 members a month and that is a conservative figure, as some months the net loss is greater. If you take 600 members a month times 12 months, that is 7,200 members a year that we are loosing. 7,200 X $40 a member is $288,000 dollars a year of revenue that we don't have. Due to the fact of unforseen problems, we have had to spend approximatly $150,000 to update our IT department to make it federally compliant. If we failed to do this we would face a very large fine. We will also have to spend several thousands of dollars a month for license fees and support for it. If it was not for the expertise of our National Secretary, Vicky Ferrari, who is an attorney, and her husband, John, who worked for Perot Systems and Dell Computer systems before he retired and is an expert in this field, our cost would have been much greater. We have reduced salaries, not replaced some staff that have left and taken other steps to control spending, but the fact remains income is not covering expenses. It is thought by some members that we will need to use about $100,000 of our reserves each month to meet expenses. We currently have between seven and eight million dollars in reserves, depending on the market. I don't suggest that towables are the cure all for FMCA, but could be a part of the solution. I know that everyone on the Executive Board is open to input from our members, so I encourage you to convey yout ideas. Paul DuBois National Vice President Northeast Area
  15. I agree that admitting towables in one manner or another will not in itself cure FMCA's problems but it is an important step to make to start us on the road to recovery. The biggest problem that FMCA has now, other than income, is apathy. We need something to interest our members and benefit them. Prior to our November Executive Board meeting in Cincinnati I asked Member services for a list of all our Northeast Area members who had not renewed from January to July and had my membership chairman and her committee call each one. Two hundred sixty total calls were made. 12 said they would renew, 27 said that FMCA had nothing to offer them, the remainder either had their motorhomes up for sale or had sold it or had given up motorhoming because of loss of a partner or because of age. We are not unique in the loss of members-- every other organization is experiencing the same problem. Young adults with families do not want or can't afford a motorhome. They want a towable with room to sleep a family or a toy hauler to carry their atv's. This is the young blood that we need to grow our organization. We are aging out and need to attract young families. The next problem is member apathy. We need something that will interest our members and benefit them to hold them. We are experiencing a net loss of around 600 members a month. It is difficult to get members to fill chapter offices and good active chapters are a key to growing the organization. It is a proven fact that if a member does not join a chapter in the first year, their chances of remaining a member are slim. Chapters some times have the same officers year after year and they become tired and not interested and just hold the job because no one else will do it. Everytime a new FMCA member inquires on the website about a chapter, that chapter contact person is notified and also the Area Vice President. In too many cases the chapter does not even make a contact to the person inquiring. If this organization is going to survive we need a change in attitude. It can no longer be business as usual. We can no longer do things because that is the way we have always did it. Change is hard especially when we get old, but change is necessary to save this organization. We have a good Executive Board, we may not agree always as to how we should do things but without question we all work very hard and have the organizations interest at heart. There is not a one of us that do not dip into our own pockets for a few thousand dollars a year just to do what is nearly a full time volunteer job. The Governing Board is the key to change in FMCA. If they are for it, it will happen. We need people to get active and be heard. We need to hear your support and your ideas. Paul DuBois National Vice President Northeast Area
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