THANK YOU ALL FOR THE MANY MESSAGES OF CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
What a great group to consider myself a part of!
If nothing else, it's been around 24 hours since I got the news, and no one has tried to run me off the road.
Nor shoot me in the back.
My tires have stayed up.
Maybe I can take the Vickers off the mount and go to bed now.
Just kidding. I don't even have a Vickers.
Really, I have received congratulation messages via email, PMs, and this thread, and all were sincere, and I appreciate all. That's the best gift in the prize package.
As I said before, it feels good just to help out the Kamp For Kids.
Winning the prize package is a bonus. A very, very, nice bonus, but a bonus.
I think EVERYONE here knows and feels that helping the Kamp was the purpose of all this, not trying to win a prize. My eyes have clouded up a few times thinking about that fact.
I received messages from the two gentlemen that donated the guns- Al Shear and Jim Keeney- who certainly feel that the cause is what matters. Had I not already known that before, I would have from their messages. Thanks, guys.
There were a couple of things that happened yesterday to put things in perspective.
Yesterday morning, I called a Realtor/Auctioneer to put my Mother's house up for sale and auction her property. She has decided to sell everything and stay in the "senior care center" she has been in since breaking her shoulder (again) this Summer.
I had just finished that rather difficult call, and sat down to collect my thoughts. The closest chair was in front of the computer. I checked our email while sitting there, and saw I had a PM at LTW.
It was good news, at a good time!
When my wife got home from work yesterday evening, I had printed up pages of info on the raffle to show her. I had info about the Kamp, the guns, the holster, the X200 light. I had the announcement that I had won. I was ready to rattle on and on (kinda like now).
My wife started talking about a friend she spoke with earlier that day, and some health problems they are facing with their young child.
As I thought about their child, and looked at our own, winning the raffle seemed pretty insignifigant. It sure made me think about the raffle's cause again.
OK, since you may want to know something about the guy who got our prizes, I'll tell a little about me. By the way, I consider them "our" goodies, as it was a group effort in so many ways. I'll just be taking care of "our" guns.
It might be more romantic if it were so, but the guns aren't going to someone who kicks in doors for a living. Far from it.
I haven't kicked in a door since college.
I'm a Dad.
I'm a Dad who collects, shoots, carrys, trains and competes with guns, but I'm still "just a Dad". No door-kicker, or snake-eater.
I was an aircraft mechanic and lead aircraft mechanic with an airline for 17 years. I went out on Extended Illness Status in early 2001 with a back injury/condition I had since 1989, that had steadily worsened. That situation became permanent when my back got worse; the evil of 9-11 changed the airline industry; and we found that I could manage to handle "Mom" duties.
I became a stay-at-home-Dad.
That changed my shooting interests. I became more defensive shooting-oriented. Up to that point, the bulk of my shooting had been NRA Highpower Rifle competition in years past. Although I had a carry permit (except for seven years in Illinois) I had taken no formal defensive shooting training. I read all I could, but couldn't seem to get to a real trainer.
Now for my training rant...
If you are planning on getting training someday, do it now. If you think you don't need it, you're wrong. But if you want it- Don't put it off like I did. Something will come up that makes it harder to get, yet make the need greater. After my back was injured, I needed training more (couldn't run away, let alone fight), but it was harder to get to. Same with having kids- I had more to protect, but less time available for training. Find a way to go. Make time, save pocket change, whatever you need to do.
Sorry, but this has become sort of a mission of mine.
I put off training for a long time, and now see that was a mistake.
Becoming both Dad and mother lion made me change that. I only had to watch the news or read the paper once in a while to know that a Dad walking with a cane, hunched over and limping, while keeping two little girls close, was an easy-looking target to lots of nasty people.
After back surgery in 2003 enabled me to travel more than 20 minutes at a time, I started seeking out training. Money still doesn't come easy with a single income and medical expenses, but I started scraping together small amounts here and there until I could get some real training. I've managed to go to a couple of places now. Most recent was Louis Awerbuck's Stage I Pistol (highly reccomended).
Now that I'm getting a "fightin' shotgun", I may have to look at his shotgun classes next year!
I have played with about every gun design out there, and carried most, including a Bren Ten. For one reason or another, I kept coming back to a 1911 or Browning HiPower. The exception is an HK P7M8, which is nice when I can't hide a 1911 or HP in some clothing (church and funerals come to mind).
My first carry gun was a S&W M19, 6" barrel, 3Ts, and of course, nickel plated. It rode in a junky Safariland 101 shoulder holster that it came with, until I could afford to order an El Paso Saddlery Threepersons holster and Ranger belt. This was 1980, and I was 15 years old. It was my Dad's gun, I just paid for it, ya know.
Next was a S&W 25-5 45 Colt with 4" barrel. I went shorter, but wider.
Sometime around 1987 or 88, I made things easy for myself and got my first 1911- a Springfield Armory kit gun. Remember those? I had it together in a minute, but made it into a fun winter project. I learned a lot about the 1911 from that gun. The configuration it ended up in is about the way I like them best now- no FLGR, easily seen fixed sights (I like Heinies best), no holes in the trigger, no ambi safety, no internal Series 80 or Series II safety, and no plastic parts.
The Operator I'm getting fits that description to a T. It's almost like I ordered it just the way I wanted. I don't have a "rail pistol", so it is like I just sat down and ordered one.
It even comes with a variation of my favorite belt holster- the Alessi CQC/S! I usually carry IWB, but do carry OWB some, and have Alessi CQC/Ss for any gun that I carry. I didn't have one for a rail gun, and would've needed one!
The "house shotgun" has been an old Ithaca 37 for a long time. It could use some things, and in light of Ithaca's recent closing, should perhaps be retired.
Another big stroke of luck to get that 870.
I've drooled over the pictures in Yost-Bonitz's website for a while. The addition of the shotgun package and it's pics were pretty exciting news for me. I figured up countless guns on their "Gunbuilder", but knew I was just dreaming. I thought if I inherited some money from a long-lost aunt I might be able to send them a 1911 or HiPower, but even then, thought a Y-B shotgun was really dreaming.
I know some will want to know "What is he going to do with the prizes?"
I know that if some people won them, they would put them away somewhere and never shoot them.
Others might sell them.
I'M GOING TO SHOOT THEM.
That's what they were made for to begin with.
They were later refined by the Y-B craftsmen to make them more efficient and easy to manipulate.
They will be shot.
I will no doubt use them to safeguard my wife and two little girls.
It's not a kicking in doors or eliminating terrorists, but it's a noble job in my my mind nonetheless.
I will give them range workouts and post reports on LTW so everyone can see how OUR guns are doing. If I get another training opportunity in the future (money is tight) and one or both guns go, I'll share that info also.
Sorry for the length, but I wanted to try to assure everyone that they were getting a good home, and were greatly appreciated. I also want to remind everyone again (like it needs it) the reason for the raffle.
Proud to get the prizes, but prouder to be a part of LTW.
Thank you again- everyone,