Family & Friends
Donald E. Bunn, F263349
For more than a decade, members of FMCA’s Gold Diggers chapter have traveled to Indio, California, in early January for the Western Area Rally. Chapter members volunteer to help welcome rally attendees by stuffing goodie bags with everything folks would need to enjoy the event, as well as their stay in the city of Indio.
In addition to the good times we have as volunteers, our chapter also loves to participate in the annual rally parade that is traditionally held on the second day of each Western Area Rally.
Typically the theme for the following year’s rally is announced shortly after the conclusion of the current year’s rally, which gives participating chapters plenty of time to plan their parade presentation, with the objective of landing the top trophy for their entry. The Gold Diggers chapter has been fortunate over the years to have members with very creative ideas, and generally when the chapter meets to discuss the plans for the next parade, there is plenty of enthusiasm and anticipation of what these ideas will produce. After the plan is approved, members all pitch in so that the final outcome is a group effort.
Our 2006 and 2007 parade entries were both designed by our chapter president, John Hibel, F168039, who is a terrific creative artist. In 2006 the rally theme was “Puttin’ on the Glitz.” Each of our chapter’s male members wore top hats and tuxedo tails, and carried a marching cane, while the female members wore dancing skirts and tights while they performed a chorus line down the entire parade route. In addition, the group pulled a cart with a large martini glass including an olive. This entry won the top parade trophy award.
The theme for the 2007 rally was “Get Your Kicks On Route 66.” For our entry, the women wore specially designed hats and walked in two columns while carrying a long sheet of black plastic with a dotted yellow line down the center, depicting Route 66. The hats were models of famous cities and business landmarks along Route 66, such as skyscrapers in Chicago (the beginning of the route), a roadside orange juice stand, the Wigwam Motel, oil derricks in Oklahoma, and the Santa Monica pier (the end of the route). The men carried “Burma Shave” signs, reproductions of the billboards that were placed along Route 66 to advertise the product. The chapter also built a special float with a sign that read, “Route 66 “” The Main Street of America,” which was pulled by a classic 1940 red Ford.
We all had a ball and were awarded the Grand Marshall’s trophy for our entry. We now look forward to the 2008 Western Area Rally and the opportunity to let our imaginations run wild as we create our next parade entry.
Columbia Basin Cruisers Create 10th Anniversary DVD
To commemorate our 10th anniversary as an FMCA chapter, the Columbia Basin Cruisers embarked on a year-long celebration in 2006 that included 10 rallies, one for each year the chapter has been in existence.
As part of this celebration, we wanted to compile and share a collection of our history in photographs and other trivia. The first idea was to produce it in a coffee-table book format. It was quickly discovered that we would be severely limited in the number of photographs we could share, and the production costs would be in the range of $25 to $30 per book. So we scrapped that idea and went to work on a DVD that members could play on their TVs or computers.
The result was a DVD with a video introduction; a section with rally, host, and executive board histories; and six slideshows, each containing approximately 100 pictures, grouped by years. As an added bonus, the pictures, history documents, anniversary roster, and the latest version of the chapter bylaws and membership handbook are also on the DVD. That way, they can be accessed on a computer and read or printed out.
For folks who don’t have access to a computer, the DVD can be taken to most any photo-processing kiosk and the photos reproduced there.
Because of the cost of reproducing and distributing the DVD, the chapter asked members to order copies. Chapter members who attended a 10th anniversary rally were not charged for the DVD, nor were charter members and those who completed at least one term of service on the chapter’s executive board and are still members in good standing. All other members were asked to cover the $5 production cost plus shipping.
The DVD also makes an excellent recruiting tool for members to use when encouraging other motorhomers to join FMCA and the Columbia Basin Cruisers chapter.
Our chapter includes FMCA members from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, as well as British Columbia, Canada.
We think this might be a great idea for other chapters who would like to chronicle their history, as well as help recruit new members. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then you have about 600,000 words at your disposal to help convince them to join.
Phil Rogers Loved The Motorhoming Life
Philip A. Rogers, L1895, who served as FMCA International Area vice president from 1985 to 1988, shared a passion for RV travel with his wife, Barbara. He passed away on November 11, 2006, at the age of 84.
The Rogerses purchased their first coach, a Travco, around 1965. They learned about FMCA a couple of years later when they attended a rally hosted by another motorhome club and met some FMCA members there. The couple joined FMCA in 1967. According to Barbara, “It’s been our life.”
What they enjoyed most about FMCA, she noted, were attending the chapter rallies and conventions, and meeting so many people. Their daughter, Julie, accompanied them to many of these gatherings and had a great time participating in the youth program at conventions. “She still keeps up with several girls she met back then,” Barbara said.
Phil’s professional life revolved around motorhoming as well. For a short time he was employed by Grumman Motorhomes. In the 1970s they moved to Warner Robins, Georgia, and Phil began to work in sales for Blue Bird Corporation. After their Travco, all subsequent motorhomes the Rogers family owned were Blue Bird Wanderlodges, because Phil wanted to keep up-to-date with the models. “So, every two years we would sell ours and would buy a new one,” Barbara said.
Phil’s job involved a considerable amount of traveling to dealerships and shows, such as FMCA conventions, and Barbara accompanied him on most of his trips. They took the motorhome, and she often did the driving. “He felt very strongly that the women had to learn to drive in case of an emergency,” she said. In fact, as a Blue Bird employee, Phil provided motorhome driving instruction to women, sometimes even at FMCA conventions. “But he was a backseat driver when I would drive,” she said with a laugh.
The Rogerses put their motorhomes to good use for both business and pleasure. “We crossed the United States, I don’t know how many times,” Barbara said. “You mention a place in the United States, and we’d been there.” This included two trips to Alaska, and to off-the-beaten-path places as well. Phil liked John Wayne, and once the couple went “way out of our way” to see where the actor lived, Barbara recalled.
Phil was born on May 4, 1922, in Lyme, New Hampshire. He learned to fly airplanes before going into the military service, where he was a flight instructor and a B-24 pilot during World War II. He also served as a pilot during the Korean War.
Barbara met Phil in Massachusetts near the end of World War II; she was attending Smith College, and he was stationed at a base nearby in West Overfield. They married in 1946 and moved to Long Island, where they lived until they relocated to Georgia.
Following Phil’s retirement from Blue Bird, the Rogerses moved to Del Ray Beach, Florida, then to Palm Beach County, where they purchased a house on 2½ acres near Lake Worth. Phil became known for the Super Bowl parties he’d throw at their house, Barbara said. They invited FMCA members specifically, who arrived by motorhome. Everyone pitched in with the cooking while enjoying one another’s company. At one party, 14 motorhomes were parked on their property.
In addition to serving as International Area vice president, Phil also participated in FMCA at the chapter level. He served as national director of the Blue Bird and Vintage Birds chapters and assisted in the formation of the Long Islanders chapter. “He was always helping somebody,” Barbara said.
Phil also was active in Rotary International, and served as president of the Long Island Rotary club for two years.
The couple continued motorhoming until a couple of years ago, when health issues forced them to sell their coach and move to a retirement home in Juno Beach, Florida. “He was broken-hearted when he saw that motorhome go out of our driveway,” Barbara said. “He always said when he got better, we’d buy a smaller one.”
Barbara said she appreciates the many FMCA members who contacted her after Phil’s passing. “I got so many letters from FMCA people, some that I didn’t even know very well. I would really like to thank them for their thoughtfulness.”
In addition to Barbara, Phil leaves his daughter, Julie DeMarois; a son, Richard Ashley Rogers (wife Rebecca); granddaughters Lauren, Ashley, and Meredith; and a grandson, Douglas.