I was in traveling in Texas last week visiting Trek dealers. Trek loves Texas. We sell a lot of bikes in the Lone Star State and we have a great group of retailers there.
Last Thursday on Veterans Day I found myself at Richardson Bike Mart in Dallas to see my good friends Jim and Rhonda Hoyt. They have one of the largest and most successful bike shops in the world and it doesn’t happen by accident. They take great care of their customers and employees. The rest takes care of itself.
About ten years ago, I was visiting Jim and he invited me to his house for a beer. Always works for me. Anyways, I am looking around the house and I see a purple heart framed on the wall. “Jimmy, who’s Purple Heart is on the wall?” I asked. “Hey Butter Bear (a name he uses for many people), that would be mine. 18 months in Nam.” That was the end of the conversation; he didn’t want to talk Vitetnam. He wanted to talk bikes.
This week was also the 30th anniversary of Richardson Bike Mart and they had a table filled with memorabilia from over the years. Since Thursday was Veterans Day, some of Jim’s items from Vietnam were on the table. I took my trusty phone camera out and took a few pictures. These are photos of a kid who spent 18 months on the front lines, earned two silver crosses and two purple hearts. In one battle on Hamburger Hill his unit lost 78 men. 38 were wounded and only 12 walked away. He would never tell you, but I will.
In Washington at the Korean Veterans Memorial there is one simple inscription. It reads “Freedom is not free.”
Thank you Veterans.