Tech Session by Bill Scott
Charlie Frink, our club VP and tech session coordinator, e-mailed a couple of members to inform us that another member had asked for help with his car's light switch so that the car could pass the state inspection. What is unusual here is that he was reluctant to mention the member with a broadcast club e-mail because it was so unusual for this member to ever ask for help. The irony is that this member, Paul Hinchcliffe, has in the past always been there to help someone else. Under normal conditions, Paul would be too proud to ask for help. He's a much respected club member and past president who has been extremely active in the club until the past three years when Paul began his courageous effort to overcome his health problems, a struggle with the debilitating effects of cancer.
The word spread quickly, and everyone wanted to pitch in and help give Paul support. In the past, Paul had always provided the Chili dogs with his special sauces whenever there was a tech session, but Frank Frett immediately offered to bring Grinders from an Italian place, Marzilli's, that Paul liked and others said that they would bring the usual British beer. Oh yes, some actually thought about the repair and said that they would bring some tools!
Saturday morning , October 20, we had fourteen (14) eager members turn out for the tech /support session. A good friend, Bud Kruger, was one of the early arrivals and is also quite skilled at MG repair, well actually very good at most any kind of repair. He along with Frank Frett, Art Cox and Bob Vogel had the lights in operation by the time the second set of arrivals began to show up: Charlie Frink, Ken Stone, Kevin Thompson and myself, Bill Scott. Did I mention that Charlie told Paul that one or two guys would show up, so needless to say, Paul was surprised to see others arriving. Paul, grateful to see us and always quick to react, said, "Well now that you're here, what else needs fixing". It seems he had a snow blower that the mice had made a home inside the housing and had eaten through the gas line as well as several critical wires. We declared that it must be a "British" snow blower and immediately put it on the lift and began the repair. In the process we tried to use the air compressor and couldn't believe the racket. Paul had been sent a recall part to install to prevent a fire, and Paul, not being able to bend and fix things as he used too, did a less than perfect repair. So while one group worked on the snow blower the other group worked on the "British" air compressor.
By this time the rest of the members had shown up - Jay Welch, Rick Johnson and his brother Bob, Charlie Bohm and the ever funny, Bruce Turner (or was that Rip Torn, we are never sure). By this time Paul was on a roll, so he said that the first two groups had something to do, so the last group could help him with one other project. This eagerness to help was wearing a bit thin, but some of us followed Paul to a van sitting in the drive way. This was NOT a British van, but it did have a badly damaged door. Paul showed us another door in the back of the van and said that he hoped that we might be able to install the new door as he couldn't do that by himself. Some of us started to look at what that project would mean and what tool we might have to do the job. Paul played along for a few moments, but the grin on his face soon told us that we had just been suckered in. Paul had already made arrangement to have the local garage make the installation, but he just couldn't resist hooking a few of us hook line and sinker. A bit of the old Paul spirit showing through. We all had a good laugh.
While we began to break out the grinders, Charlie Frink, VP and Mike Dallaire, President, brought out the special Trophy award that had been presented to Paul at the BLW in his absence. Paul had always arranged, purchased and presented the Gerry Goguen Award, given to an owner who has demonstrated an enjoyment in and commitment to maintaining the breed, one who shares his knowledge and skills for enjoying these British cars. For years, Paul had deserved this award, but Paul was giving it to other deserving members. This year, Paul had asked that the club take over this responsibility as he just couldn't do it any more with his health problems. So as head of the award committee, I called the members together and only one name came to the top. It was time for Paul to receive this award, so well deserved for so many years. Paul has encouraged so many people to join the club, or get a car, or fix the car they owned so that they could enjoy it. Paul also has held a "Safety Fast" annually in his garage as he has a lift and lots of equipment. In the last several years he has let the "Safety Fast" be held in his garage, but Art Cox and Frank Frett have actually done the inspection and repairs as Paul's health no longer allows him to do it. But his encouragement and spirit was there in support. So the group watched as Mike presented the Goguen Award to Paul, who was standing in his drive way with his beloved MGs and surrounded with many appreciative club members. We were all happy to have such a fitting occasion to make this well deserved presentation. This is one tech session we will remember and talk about for a long time to come.