Guardian Spirit Award

The GMCMI Guardian Spirit was awarded to Ken Burton for his service to members and GMCMI. Ken Henderson nominated Ken and had planned on presenting the award. In his absence, Emery Stora presented the award at the Welcome Meeting on Sunday, March 25, 2012 in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Below is the nomination as submitted.

Among the many GMC owners who promote the GMC motorhome by their personal actions, none is more prolific than Ken Burton.

Over the past 6 years or more, Ken has been THE GMCMI expert on WiFi. Long before most campgrounds became equipped with reliable wireless internet access, GMCMI members attending conventions could count on good connections, thanks to Ken’s knowledge and efforts. Before conventions, Ken has often visited locations at his own expense (once even flying his private airplane) to determine the availability of internet connections and the quality of the WiFi connections. With that information, he acquired, assembled, tested, and installed, at his own expense, whatever was necessary to provide good coverage for the duration of our conventions. We still frequently need him to install routers, range extenders, and wiring to improve the available systems.

In addition to keeping GMCMI in the forefront of internet access, he early on provided a unique communications capability: He provided the equipment, expertise, and initiative to produce live video broadcasts, over the internet, of our technical seminars.

To enable those of us who don’t hear very well, Ken selected and acquired the wireless headsets we use during seminars. Speaking of which, he has presented several very well received seminars based on his professional knowledge of computers, communications, and general electrical and electronic systems. That same knowledge has been invaluable to a number of members who’ve called upon him for assistance at conventions.

For at least one convention, where most parking was well away from the meeting area, he organized and managed a very effective shuttle service.

As a member of the “Black List”, Ken is a frequently called upon to assist GMC motorhome owners who are in distress. He is always willing and able to help anyone who calls. His specialty is supporting those with blown suspension air bags. He keeps an inventory of bags ready to ship anywhere at a moment’s notice. The only requirement is that the recipient replace the bag and pay shipping costs. He has saved numerous owners from extended delays and expense by shipping them bags.

On more than one occasion, Ken has volunteered to travel long distances to pick up and deliver GMCs for new owners. His knowledge of the GMC, and mechanical skills, enable him to avoid or overcome breakdowns which might frustrate new owners enough to cause them to abandon the community.

He’s always willing to help anyone with any problem. In one typical incident, Ken volunteered to travel to Canada to pick up a GMC engine, handling the transportation and all of the customs paperwork. He stored the engine for later delivery to the buyer at a convention.

A typical example of his enthusiastic support of our community occurred after he had an engine fire. After much research into fire fighting equipment, he learned that one of the most effective and economical fire extinguishers on the market was being discontinued. He travelled a wide area of the Mid-West purchasing the remaining stocks of those items, which he later sold, at cost, to other GMC owners.

Having identified an economical source for an improved refrigerant for the GMC air conditioning, he frequently purchases large quantities of the material and delivers it at rallies.

At a recent rally, 13 members had new windshields installed at an unusually good price. That whole exercise was initiated by Ken, who persuaded the installer and his crew to work a weekend. He then went to the glass supplier’s warehouse and transported the windshields to the rally site. He managed the schedule, keeping the crew busy and the members from having to wait. He’s now planning an even more ambitious and complex session at the upcoming Amana Colonies convention.

He is one of the most active supporters of the GMCNet, where he always provides clear, authoritative, well expressed comments on electrical or mechanical topics. He frequently winds up spending a lot of time off-net assisting those with difficult problems. He’s a very valuable resource for new GMC owners.

Ken Burton’s quiet voluntary efforts have done much to promote the GMC motorhome’s preservation, and reflect great credit upon himself and GMCMI.

He more than deserves the award of the GMCMI Guardian Spirit Award.