By Jerry Yeatts, F390000
I recently viewed a post on Facebook by artist Rafael Casal. He provided an analogy on Upworthy.com about the number of days in a typical life, with each day represented by a jelly bean. Take into consideration the following numbers:
- 28,835: The average number of days of a human life.
- 8,477: Number of days we sleep, hopefully the majority of those days next to someone we love.
- 5,840: Number of days from birth until a person reaches 16, considered the threshold of adulthood.
- 3,202: Number of days we work.
- 2,676: Number of days spent watching television.
- 1,635: Number of days we eat.
- 1,576: Number of days committed to chores.
- 1,099: Number of days commuting to and from work.
- 720: Number of days involved in community and volunteer activities.
- 671: Number of days bathing and grooming.
- 564: Number of days caring for the needs of loved ones.
Regarding community and volunteer activities, Make a Difference Day officially is observed on the fourth Saturday of October each year. This is a time when millions of volunteers around the world unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others. Church groups, neighborhood associations, social organizations, and families take a few hours out of their busy schedules to benefit those less fortunate.
Some of FMCA’s national officers and staff got an early start to Make a Difference Day in May by volunteering to paint several hallways in the oldest elementary school in the district where FMCA’s national headquarters is located. Wilson Elementary School is officially 55 years old. Perhaps not old by our standards, but in the life of an educational building, it seems ancient. The school started with 160 students and consisted of separate buildings (“pods”) with open corridors. Over time, the open corridors were enclosed to address the cold winters and to provide additional space for educational endeavors. More than 700 students currently are enrolled at the school.
This past May, volunteers painted every single hallway and the cafeteria; removed dead bushes and planted flowers; constructed a new brick walkway to help ensure the safety of children walking to school; and designed an outdoor learning lab. Among the more than 100 volunteers were FMCA national president Charlie Adcock; national senior vice president Jon Walker; Midwest Area vice president Bob Nebel; past International Area vice president Alfred Vormittag; current International Area vice president David Kessler; FMC associate editor John Johnston and his wife, Donna; and me and my wife, Sue. After six very productive hours, a dingy-looking school was transformed into a bright and welcoming environment for the children and staff.
This isn’t the first time that FMCA has had a presence at this school. In 2012, then-national president Charlie Schrenkel and his wife, Jean, parked their motorhome in front of the school for a group of kindergarten students to tour, and then Charlie read a story to the kids. What a great way to introduce a future generation to this wonderful lifestyle!
The FMCA national office staff also frequently gives back to the community. The Inter Parish Ministry, located around the corner from FMCA’s campground in nearby Newtown, Ohio, has benefited from the generosity of staff through clothing and food drives. FMCA staff have also adopted families at holiday time, providing food, gifts, and clothing for those less fortunate.
As an association, you have stepped up to the plate this past year in “rounding up” your membership dues to help FMCA’s designated charities. Thanks to the generosity of the FMCA membership, children diagnosed with cancer have been able to attend KOA Care Camps, medically supervised experiences where they can have fun, build awesome friendships, and feel the joy that comes from camping and spending time in nature. Through your generosity, ProLiteracy has been able to launch new adult literacy solutions; sustain and grow existing programs; and advocate for adult literacy initiatives on a local, national, and global level. FMCA members, through volunteer efforts and financial support, have assisted in building homes and have addressed the issue of poverty housing all over the world through Habitat for Humanity International. And you have helped to transform the lives of young adults through the Good Will-Hinckley program, helping them to realize their potential and to take pride in their futures.
I feel truly blessed. I have my health. I have a loving family. I have some wonderful friends. I see the generosity of many of you as you sew quilts for distribution by local law enforcement and fire protection agencies; build homes for the homeless; contribute canned goods to local food pantries; deliver meals to those who may not know when they may have another meal; visit and give words of encouragement to those who are not feeling well, ones who may have lost a loved one, or ones who are lonely. As I reflect on the history of FMCA and the generosity of the membership, the first word of our association — “Family” — certainly is appropriate.
As we were about to send the magazine to the printer, I received an e-mail from FMCA member Chris McCool that perfectly illustrates the sentiments I have shared, and I asked the staff to include it in my column (see accompanying box).
So, as we enter this season of Thanksgiving, how many jelly beans do you have in your bowl? Perhaps you can add one or two more to helping those a little less fortunate.
From our family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Chapter Gives Meaning To “Family” in Family Motor Coach Association
By Chris McCool, F403740
My husband, Mick McCool, and I became members of FMCA and joined the Allegheny Mountain Chapter (AMC) around six years ago. Little could we imagine the fun and fellowship that would follow. We met and made life friends through the local chapter and were able to meet and make more life friends at the international conventions and area rallies.
We loved touring in our motorhome and took many trips with our newfound friends. When Mick retired, he shared that he dreamed of traveling and seeing the United States, which would take us two years. We sold our home, had an auction for the contents, and left Pennsylvania in December 2012.
We toured 31 states plus Canada and Mexico. We visited the farthest place south in the continental United States (Key West, Florida) as well as the farthest place north (Barrow, Alaska) in the same year. We traveled in our motorhome by ourselves; with other members of AMC; with friends we made along the way; or by caravan.
On our return trip to Pennsylvania, Mick decided to cut our trip short by two weeks. He kept saying he wanted to get back home to visit with his son, Eric. Mick was in good health, not experiencing any symptoms. Two days after we arrived home, he had a massive heart attack and passed away. I believe a higher power was guiding us to cut our trip short so we could spend time with our immediate family, and then I would be safe in their arms.
So, now I was in the motorhome, parked in my son and daughter-in-law’s driveway, grieving my love of 34 years, wondering what I was going to do, plus how to get there. Mick had loved driving the motorhome, and although I had taken a driving class, I had driven very little. The kids and grandkids welcomed me with open arms, and I could have stayed in their driveway forever, but that was not practical.
My FMCA family had a plan. They offered to help me get my motorhome to anywhere I wanted to go. I had FMCA members from Florida offer to drive up and help me move my motorhome. The president of AMC, Vaughn Wood, and his wife, Margie, took the day to drive from their home 100 miles away to pick me up with Fletcher (my dog), plus my motorhome. Then they drove me 140 miles north and helped me get set up in a campground. Afterward, they drove another 75 miles back to their home.
Later, Tom Snyder of Snyder Brothers in Emlenton, Pennsylvania, commercial members of FMCA, helped me to get my coach serviced and drove me back to my campground.
My FMCA family has not stopped there. I have had numerous visits, calls, texts, and emails as they continue to provide me support.
Mick and I had planned to relocate to Florida this winter. Jim Schollaert and Janet Rominski, members of AMC, are taking a week of their time to see that the motorhome and Fletcher and I safely get to Florida from Pennsylvania.
I found this quote a few years ago and believe that it applies to MY AMC chapter of FAMILY Motor Coach Association: “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life” (Richard Bach).
Thank you, My Family, for being there to help me through a very difficult time and putting the true meaning behind the words FAMILY Motor Coach Association.
Benefits Update: FMCA RVinsurance
It’s that time of year when snowbirds begin to travel to warmer climates. Are you covered with the proper insurance for your motorhome? Let the professionals with FMCA RVinsurance provide a quote on coverage of your motorhome and other vehicles. Whether you are traveling during the winter months or simply keeping your motorhome in storage, FMCA RVinsurance may provide the correct coverage to protect you. There is insurance for your motorhome … and true motorhome insurance. Make sure you know the difference. Review your policy by visiting www.FMCARVinsurance.com or by calling (877) 589-3599.
Office Closed For Thanksgiving Holiday
The FMCA national office will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28, in observance of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. We will reopen on Monday, December 1, after the tryptophan wears off! Happy Thanksgiving to all!