As many . . . if not most of you know, I am the principle organizer and founder of the Pledge Ride, which has partnered-up with Pastor Gary Burd of the M25 Mission of Hope Riders, for the initial purpose of declaring for all who will listen . . .
My friendship and BOND with Gary Burd has evolved to include far more than just the Pledge of NEVER AGAIN, which in a different time and place would have been strange, since he and I come from totally different worlds.
1 – I’m Canadian. Gary’s American.
2 – I’m Jewish. Gary’s Christian.
3 – I am not a religious person. Gary is a Fundamental Believer.
4 – I am a businessperson. Gary is a Preacher.
5 – At 64 years old, I just recently started to really ride a BIKE (4 years). At about the same age as me, Gary has always been on a BIKE.
6 – I’m a Conservative born into a Liberal Montreal family. Gary’s a TEXAS Conservative.
So . . . How could two people from such disparate backgrounds, who are so different in so many ways, manage to forge a BOND that has become so strong?
Even though I am not an American, like most of the modern world, my concept of FREEDOM and HOPE comes from the worldview of the American Dream.
Gary and I both believe that we are responsible for ourselves, just as we are solely responsible for the actions we take, and the decisions we make. We don’t believe anyone owes us anything that we haven’t earned . . . least of all the government.
We both believe that it is noble to reach out to people who need and want help. But not to be forced to do anything that goes against our morals and ethics.
Fundamentally . . . we believe that government should play the smallest roll in the lives of the people, and govern in the most honest, respectful and competent way.
We also believe that our government should work for us . . . and not that we should be working for the government.
Gary believes in a religious code of behavior. While I believe in a Secular code of behavior based upon Judeo/Christian Values. I guess we’re not really that far apart.
When it comes right down to it though, we have far more in common between us, than we could have ever imagined . . . had we not met.
Through the BOND that has been created between Gary Burd and Myself, I have realized the obvious, that I had never thought about before . . . that what Gary and I share beyond Religious and Cultural differences . . . comes down to one word – VALUES.
And when you really think about it, this is the same word that is now dividing the world, especially the world where we live – in America and Canada.
This sense of VALUES between decent Conservative people is creating BONDS everywhere, amongst FOLK who never considered common ground with people from different faiths, no faiths, cultures, races, language groups, educational and vocational backgrounds – etcetera.
And as I see and understand more . . . just like the majority of the people who visit Galganov.com, I am learning that we who VALUE FREEDOM and PERSONAL responsibility, share in that one word we call VALUES – one of the most vital principles in the human experience.
And as we see in our Politicians . . . not just some of them, but just about all of them, they tread on our most BASIC VALUES, driving Conservatives like Gary and myself of totally different backgrounds so much closer together . . . that it will soon be at the peril of the LEFT.
And what is also fascinating beyond expectations, certainly my expectations, is how so many people who never gave any thought to it at all, are all of a sudden discovering that they too are Conservatives, even though their prior views on Conservatives have not always been positive.
I had the GREAT pleasure and good fortune to meet a BRIT, who decided to become a full-blown American in the truest sense.
Michael Thomas moved from England to grasp to the fullest extent possible; the American Dream, which used to be within everyone’s reach.
I met Michael last year (July 2014) at the Dallas Pledge Ride.
He was a large man riding his Big Harley Davison with incredible confidence. He blocked traffic at intersections for the hundred or so riders amongst us. He led some of the Ride, but mostly rode shotgun (sweep) at the end of the line of BIKES, paying special attention to Anne and Stryker, who drove in their car behind the BIKES . . . just behind me.
Michael was a prominent member of the Atlanta Sabra Riders, who I asked while in Dallas if he would want to help plan a Pledge Event in Atlanta, as part of the 2014 Pledge Ride to Boca Raton, to which he immediately said yes.
I’ll make this a somewhat shortened story by telling you that Michael Thomas literally created one of the all-time great events, which we will hold in his honor on September 1, 2014 in Atlanta Georgia, just as he had planned.
Michael was a driven person who never gave less than 100%. He was in every measure a Conservative who cared about people, and cared very deeply for those Conservative Values that drives people who are part of the Pledge Ride. And was an unabashed supporter of Israel and the Right of the Jewish People to live in FREEDOM, without FEAR wherever they happened to be.
It must also be said . . . Michael was fondly thought of by members of the Christian M25 Mission of Hope Riders, along with other Christian Groups who appreciated his enthusiasm and VALUES.
It seems that the stress of life became too great for Michael who cared too much. And on the morning of Monday April 7, 2014, Michael chose to take his own LIFE.
I only hope that Michael knows in death, how much he is missed by so many, and how much VALUE we have placed on his life and contributions.
In addition to many friends . . . Michael leaves behind a young daughter and wife.
DON’T EVER LET LIFE GET THE MOST OF YOU – TO THE POINT OF SURRENDER.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov