This is a phrase I use often when speaking of our Club Elders who have paved the way. They have Held our patch before us so that we would have a patch to wear. They have fought the hard-fought battles to ensure that we have a place in society. They have earned the respect that we owe them. But what happens when age begins to tarnish their suits of armor?
Old age is coming for all of us, should we live that long. Something many nations are facing is how to handle respecting, but also protecting our Elder Brothers. Some Elder Brothers can no longer ride the distances that are required of us. Some Elder Brothers are not as astute mentally as they used to be. So, what do we do about that? Do we force them into the pastures? Do we make them retire? These are the same questions many family members are forced to deal with as their parents grow older. It is such a difficult decision in many cases. How do we respect our legends, yet protect them from the potential harm they could not only cause themselves, but the Club as well?
Unfortunately, there is no one answer. It must be taken on as a case-by-case basis. I think in general; any Active member must be capable of meeting the minimum requirements that is expected of every patched member. I do not care if you are the newest member with 4 months, or have 40 years, we are all held to the same expectation. But I believe Clubs who offer Retirement Privileges are on the right path. Most I know do. Some of those privileges might allow club members to no longer donate dues, or pay for food or event entrance donations, etc. Many do not require the same level of participation of retired members as of active members. That makes sense. These legends have been out there doing it for many years before many of us came along. The most difficult decision is how to address this with Elder Club members. I think if you hold them to the same standards that they held you to when you joined, then you are on the right track. Respectful, but unyielding. Just like they raised you.
To those Brothers that Have Gone before us, Much love & Respect. We would not be here without you. There for You Go I..
My Road Name is Tabasco… Keep it Real!