So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

I seem to have formally ended my affiliation with the DVRA today.  This has been on the wall for some time apparently – there’s some who don’t seem to think I, or others that pay dues and help when they can, are doing enough and that we need to do more.  Of course, the problem was that when I brought in a bunch of new folks who were more than interested, eager and willing to do a lot more, they were all met with apathy and indifference, occasionally opposition.  A few times lately I’d get the snarky comments.. “Missed you at the meeting” (which I refrained from replying with, “I had a nice dinner with my family, you were not missed”) and more recently a flat-out “maybe if you showed up you’d know.”  I’m sorry, but isn’t it the dream of an organization, to which membership doesn’t cost the organization anything, to have members who send in dues and do nothing else?  What if that person sends in dues, and maintains websites, email lists, Facebook fan pages, Twitter accounts and more?  Apparently, it’s still not enough as some now want to mandate that people must attend other functions, or – get this – give six months notice they’ll be unable to attend, so that other suitable tasks can be set aside for them.  You have got to be fucking kidding me, I thought.  Nope, all seriousness.  Give your money, give your time (or give more money), or you’re out.  Let me think about that.. oh yeah.  Good riddance.

A copy of my “farewell” letter is below the fold, for those morbidly interested in reading it.  I really do feel bad about this, and got a bit emotional writing it.  There’s a select few who appear to be running the organization into the ground as quickly as they can, and if not for the group there’s some very fine people I never would have met.  But some folks are just hell-bent on getting things their way at all costs… I wonder how many will be left in the group when others who have no desire – or ability – to participate in mandatory events take stock of what they really get out of the club, and what downsides there are to leaving it.  I certainly couldn’t think of one.

So apparently my work here is done. I wanted to say goodbye to the members whose company I have enjoyed over the last five or so years, and hope that you all can continue the club in a forward and viable direction. I fear that may not be the case, considering how I’ve seen many a new member driven away for one reason or another in the time I’ve been a part of the organization, but things change and this too I hope shall pass.

I came here hoping to learn a bit about amateur radio and what it’s all about, and some of you were instrumental in that – Don, AA2F sitting with me a few nights and asking if I had any questions, since I’d already read the book cover-to-cover, and sharing fun stories about people he’d contacted over the years, as well as some heartfelt stories about special contacts he helped facilitate. Really put a human side on the technology, and made me want to be a part of it ever so much more. Not to mention helping me make my first contact; when I heard a voice in clear English, I thought it might be someone from New Mexico or Oklahoma, and it ended up the person on the other end was an American living in Brazil! Bob, N2HX, showing me around the EOC and helping me see what emergency communications is all about – and injecting a bit of humor where allowable by law. Cal, KC2CKI who sat up with me a few nights at field days past and talked about stories that made me wish I had a tape recorder to play them back whenever I desired. Stan, KC2JRJ who showed me that nothing should ever stand in the way of your dreams and desires. I could go on, but I’d be even closer to writing a book!

I had enormous fun helping with walkathons, planning and executing field days, bringing my wife around to meetings and having her become a part in the force of folks attempting to get things done, planning and carrying out the 75th anniversary celebration, raising antennas, hanging out and having fun. But like many of the friends I brought to the organization to help bolster its ranks and infuse some go-get-’em attitude, I seem to be getting pushed away.

While my job as director of web services can be done from just about anywhere, considering it’s all electronic, the fact that I like to spend my free time with my family has become a point of contention with some which apparently cannot be overlooked. I have faithfully helped to get the club’s web presence established as much as I could, monitored software information to try to keep attackers from gaining control of the site (and selling various “performance-enhancing” drugs), maintained mailing lists, even negotiated with our web hosting provider and have secured a plan from them which costs the club absolutely nothing for life to continue to host everything there. However, my inability to attend meetings and some other events, even though I’ve done everything my position otherwise required, is too much for some.

It is therefore with a heavy heart I must say goodbye. I’m tired, really. Tired of arguments. Tired of watching good friends who come to help get discouraged by those too entrenched in their ways to realize that maybe a change would do some good (of which there were at least five, not to mention a couple more who ran off before joining because of those who had already thrown in the towel). Tired of those who think that their arguments and points of view are above reproach, and that it’s their way or the highway. And tired of being told that the things which I do, which I am able to do, which I am willing to do and which I enjoy doing, aren’t good enough and I must do more or keep my opinions to myself. Sorry, but instead of getting more whatever out of me, you’re losing another productive member who wanted to see the club shine long into the future.

Good night, and good luck. Consider the dues check, which was only just cashed a few weeks ago, a parting gift. And perhaps my last mistake.

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