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FT 10th Anniversary: Gifts & Best Wishes for The Big Guy (Randy) [merged threads]

FT 10th Anniversary: Gifts & Best Wishes for The Big Guy (Randy) [merged threads]

Old Apr 27, 08, 2:30 pm
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FT 10th Anniversary: Gifts & Best Wishes for The Big Guy (Randy) [merged threads]

Since it is the 10th Anniversary of the creation of this marvelous bulletin board that has made us better travelers & extended our list of friends, we wanted to do something to celebrate/honor the Big Guy (aka, Randy) who started it all.

So I sent out emails & PMs to FTers I know, and had a few assistants (sandiego1k, wharvey, dhammer53) send to those they knew. Obviously we couldn't send to the entire FT Community so if you weren't contacted no disrespect meant, just that I was winging it on the list. There are still ways to get involved though.

My thought was to get some gifts that would be meaningful for Randy/celebrate FT/community, and present them to him at the Freddies. However, it became apparent that logistically doing it at the Freddies wouldn't work, as that's an industry (vs FT) event, quite busy, hectic, long, etc. But just sending the gifts to sit on Randy's desk wouldn't be much fun either. Plan B was to have the gifts presented to Randy at the Mod Do which was held yesterday, as that was an FT event & there would be 40 mods in attendance.

So the call went out to FTers asking if they'd be interested in donating $5, 10, 20 (ie, whatever they felt comfortable w/) to the FT 10th Anniversary/Randy Gift Fund. In addition, I said if they wanted to send along "Best Wishes" emails or letters to send those along, and I would put those in a binder to give to Randy. I also posted a thread in Community asking Do Organizers to provide Do photos. Received 85 responses/donations, which allowed us to do the following:

Gifts for Randy presented at the Mod Do:

* Crystal (Boeing) Airplane w/ an inscription to Randy (inscription reads: "Randy Petersen - Thanks for 10 years of miles, points, enriched travel, and great friends. Your FlyerTalk family.")

* Original PIP (ie, the first ever FT Do) picture blown up to 16x20 & professionally mounted/framed for his office

* Regular leather photo album of "FT Dos over the Years" pictures; approx 200 photos from domestic & int'l dos (which still has some blank pages if people want to send photos to go in it)

* Anniversary card (w/ sheet inside listing all the handles of folk who donated to date; will be updated w/ final list and another card when the remainder of the gifts are sent to Randy)

Post Mod Do - to be shipped to Randy at House of Miles

* 1-year RV Association membership (yes, he really does own a RV!)

* Bottle of really good tequila (evidently he built a cantina in his home & likes tequila)

* $23 gas gift card in honor of Randy only filling his gas tank to $23, which is Michael Jordan's player number. Evidently Randy's an MJ fan & only fills his gas to $23 (of course given the price of gas, Randy remarked at the Mod Do it would probably take $230!)

* A donation to the American Cancer Society in honor of Randy's mother, who died of cancer

wingnut was the MC at the Mod Do, ably assisted by sandiego1k. Thanks need to go to peteropny, AZTravelstheWorld, bhatnasx for their assistance w/ the logistics of delivering/shipping the very large boxes that contained the 2 main gifts.

Thanks also to chrissxb, missydarlin, boxo, goalie, lucky9876coins (and me LOL) for contributing photos for the FT Do Photos over the Years photo album.

And a big thanks to Randy's assistant, Janet, who filled me in on Randy's interests when I said we wanted to get something for Randy that wasn't hotel/airline/car rental related. She's the one who gave me the heads up on MJ #, RV, tequila & the cancer society.

And before I forget - thanks to gfowler-ord-1k. The night before the Freddies I suddenly realized that I forgot to buy the anniversary card & went onto chat, hoping someone local would be on. Gene was & I said, please buy an anniversary card that says anniversary - but doesn't say love - and is fun. Tall order! He came to the Freddies & said no anniversary card; hope this works. Card said 'CONGRATULATIONS' - you done good! How perfect! Even better than the anniversary card. Thanks Gene!

rcs85551 was kind enough to email me some pics from yesterday's presentation at the Mod Do of the gifts to Randy. Link is here:


sandiego1k, peteropny, wingnut contacted me to let me know the overall presentation went well. I was on pins & needles since I wasn't actually at the Do!

And I received the following PM from Randy titled "You know how to make a grown man cry".

"Sharon, we just took a break from the ModWorkshop here in PHX where i unexpectedly received some very personal memories of the life of FlyerTalk. Your name was mentioned several times as the member who i think I owe a great deal of thanks for the memories. I don't like to receive any accolades for just trying to help others and in this case, FlyerTalk and its members, but putting that aside, I must say this particular reward of the personal memories and thanks from the members of FlyerTalk did cause me to shed a tear.

On behalf of the very personal gifts that struck the most positive of all my efforts, my most humble and personal thank you for doing something you really shouldn't have!

A reminder to me that while giving is its own best reward, so it is for others as well.

Again, thanks for making a grown man cry!


So of course I'm a little weepy that it all went so well! And just wanted to add my thanks to this wonderful community/family called FT. I've learned to be a better traveler, but I've also made so many friends - both virtual & real. So thank YOU - and thanks for helping me in terms of this anniversary surprise for Randy.

Ways to still get involved if you want to:

Some folk at the Freddies, Mod Do, etc, either asked in person, emailed or PM'ed if it was too late to get involved w/ the Randy 10th Anniversary Celebration. The answer is - if you are interested there IS still time for another couple of weeks (since I'm traveling & won't have time to finalize the binder etc until I return). Things you can do include ANY of the following - whichever works best for you:

* donate via Paypal or check (additional funds will go to filling up that RV gas tank or add to the cancer society contribution in honor of Randy's mother - his hero);

* send some photos from Dos you've attended or hosted to go into the FT Over the Years Dos photo album;

* email, PM or snail mail me a note expressing your best wishes/congrats/what FT has meant to you, to be included in the binder being compiled & sent to Randy.

And if you wish to just read what's taken place to date/look at the pics & do nothing else, that's ok too. This was & is intended as a voluntary event & is not a requirement of being a member of FT.

If there are any Mods who were at the Do yest who also took pictures, if you'll email them to me I'll add them to the link above.


Last edited by SkiAdcock; Apr 28, 08 at 9:59 pm Reason: add link of photos taken at Mod Do
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Old Apr 27, 08, 2:41 pm
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thanks Sharon for having organized all that - it was a real pleasure for me to contribute. and I know that Cholula has another very special gift for you, Randy from the Reims DO. We'll find out a way to get it to you

thanks for having started FlyerTalk, 10 years ago ^

and as a moderator in this forum, I made this a sticky for the next weeks to ensure that a maximum of people will read this thread and post a simple

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Old Apr 27, 08, 3:16 pm
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It's hard to work out how long Randy has been publishing information about Miles and Points that I have been reading. I seem remember copies of InsideFlyer in Black and White when I first started travelling with TWA. Flyertalk added a whole new dimension to that, and despite ups and downs over the years, it is still somewhere I like to come to find information, share things I know (as little as they are) and to talk to people who have become friends.

I am not sure a 'Thank You' does it justice.
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Old Apr 27, 08, 4:47 pm
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Santa was so happy to play a small part in making this happen.

I can honestly say I owe a lot to Flyertalk and Randy.

I have taken many a trip I would not have if not for what I learned and gained from this website.

Here is to another 10!... or wait 13.... get it to #23.....
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Old Apr 27, 08, 6:41 pm
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I'd like to thank you for being thoughtful enough to think of this idea. @:-)
Way to go. ^

Randy, I've been a subscriber of Inside Flyer since the days before Flyertalk. I read that magazine cover to cover, as it arrived monthly. As a matter of fact, I read it as I walked in the door. When you promised to go online, I couldn't wait.

The big thank you goes out to Randy for helping us generate additional miles and points; over and above what we would have earned. This is a list that's a mile long (no pun intended).

FYI, I know you're recovering from the Freddies. I'm still saving you a seat or 2 on the Brooklyn Tour.
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Old Apr 27, 08, 7:25 pm
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On behalf of myself and many FTers who rarely get to the 'nerve centre' of FT and behind the scenes, thank you Sharon and everyone who made this possible (not making Randy cry, but the thoughts behind it ).

Your birthday surprise for Randy and his incredible creation is something we all appreciate and is appreciated by myself and I suppose lots of us who could not be there.

To everyone who has helped, on behalf of you FT diaspora -
Thank you!
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Old Apr 27, 08, 7:39 pm
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Thanks Sharon for taking this on--I also thanked Randy personally at the Freddies. It has been a great 10 years!^
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Old Apr 27, 08, 7:48 pm
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Wirelessly posted (FlyerTalk.com/wap is fun : BlackBerry8130/4.3.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

Sharon thank you for organizing this. I was getting a bit nervous when the gifts were not handed out at the Freddies. I am so glad to see that waiting to give them out was the right move to make. Thanks to you, Santa, and Randy for a wonderful site, people, and great memories. Looking doerward to the 25th anniversary at the HOM!
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Old Apr 27, 08, 9:03 pm
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Thank you again Sharon for organizing this tribute. I owe so much to Randy and Flyertalk, for enriching my life, ever since I discovered FT.
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Old Apr 27, 08, 9:41 pm
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Sharon, two thumbs up (^^) for spear heading this.

Randy, dispite not being able to make the presentation, I still want to thank your for your 10 years of making FT a success. You're the man!!!
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Old Apr 27, 08, 9:55 pm
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Sharon - thank you very much for putting so much thought into this project.

Randy - thank you for Flyertalk.
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Old Apr 27, 08, 10:39 pm
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There had been discussion earlier this year about Randy having a party for FlyerTalkers to mark 10 years. I'm glad that Sharon flipped the focus to thank Randy for the 10 years of travel, fun, and friends he has enabled for us. FlyerTalk is an extraordinary site in the way it brings people together who forge strong friendships. I am so glad that Sharon was inspired and found such a terrific way for us to say thank you to Randy.
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Old Apr 27, 08, 11:01 pm
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Excellent job, Sharon. It seems as if all of your hard work really paid off. ^
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Old Apr 27, 08, 11:05 pm
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Kudos to Sharon for spearheading this great event. The Big Guy was clearly moved as were all who witnessed the presentation. Wingnut , with his mellifluous voice, made the presentation truly elegant.
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Old Apr 27, 08, 11:59 pm
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Glad to be part of this group, and thanks Randy. Look what a hobby can grow to.
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