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Individual of the Year

Individual of the Year - 2017

Tom Hendricks

 

I consider myself to be a mix of many things, and a primary one is a Rider of motorcycles, in particular, Honda Gold Wing trikes.  I have been riding motorcycles since 1976, when I purchased a new BMW while stationed with the US Army in the Federal Republic of Germany.  My European tour allowed riding my BMW throughout much of central Europe, and paved the way to a love of motorcycle touring and visiting new places.

 Like many Riders I have children; two beautiful, capable, and smart women, and I took a long break from riding while they were growing up.  Throughout those non-riding years, whenever I heard the sound of a bike or saw one travelling down the road, I wanted to revisit those good memories.  Upon retirement I started looking at getting back on a motorcycle.  Due to an automobile accident many years ago my right leg is not as strong as I would like, and while shopping for a new ride I started considering three wheels in my future.  What a great decision that turned out to be!  I am experiencing the joys of riding with minimal worries about my ability to hold my machine upright.  Shortly after I bought my trike I began my involvement with GWRRA.  Arriving at my first Gathering I was warmly greeted, made to feel at home, and immediately started riding with a group of dedicated, fun loving, experienced Riders who lived the GWRRA motto of “Friends for Fun, Safety and Knowledge.”

 I believe in commitment to an organization and have supported GWRRA on the local Chapter and national level with articles, participation, and involvement within my capabilities, i.e., Chapter Membership Enhancement Coordinator, Newsletter Editor, creator of “Tux Penguin”, the Chapter U mascot, and input to Wingin’ It, one of the GWRRA newsletters.

 To give some background on myself, I was born in Fairbanks, Alaska where my father worked for the US Air Force.  Following my father’s Civil Service career I grew up in Southern California, and graduated from high school in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  Upon completion of high school I proceeded to Ohio University, joined the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC), and upon graduation was commissioned as an Air Defense Artillery officer in the US Army.  While in the Army I served in Germany and South Korea, and was stationed stateside at Ft Bliss and Ft Sam Houston, Texas.  After leaving military service I completed a Master’s of Business Administration degree at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas and in 1980 I entered into a Civil Service career with the US Army and retired in 2012. 

 Back in the ‘40’s my father rode an Indian motorcycle from Philadelphia, PA to Washington State.  Growing up hearing of his adventures embedded in me a desire to travel and to do some of it on a motorcycle.  My first bike was a 1976 BMW R75/6 and I travelled on it to Denmark, Belgium, Holland and attended numerous festivals and Volksmarches throughout Germany.  It was a great introduction to motorcycle touring.  Returning to the United States I was stationed in El Paso, Texas and started buying, selling and riding BMWs.  Over the next few years I made and restored a BMW with sidecar and rode throughout the western states on 2 wheels and sidecars.  After I had children I quit riding for approximately 20 years.  Since I began riding again I am devoted to the Honda Gold Wing marquee.  My present ride is a 2009 Honda Gold Wing triked out by California Sidecar. This bike, turned trike, epitomizes what I need and want to ride, and has introduced me to some of the best Riders it has been my experience to call friends.

 I have been married to Janine Stewart Hendricks since 1987 and have lived in Universal City, TX since then.  Living in the heart of Texas has complemented my year round riding and love of sunshine.  As the Texas saying goes, “Not born here, but got here as soon as I could.“

 Life has been good to me, and much of my fulfillment can be attributed to motorcycles.  I have and continue to “Enjoy the Ride.”  See you down the road; look for the trike Rider with a penguin by his side.

 

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