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When do you just say no

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Old 08-11-2007, 12:20 PM
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Regent
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Default When do you just say no

There has been a lot of interesting post on this forum addressing the promotion of the hobby and how AMA members/clubs should go the extra mile in order to help new flyers.

I have been flying RC for a little over 40 years and I have been an Intro Pilot ever since it’s inception. For the last 6 or 7 years I have been very active in training new pilots and I have taught 75% of my current club members how to fly.

My question to the forum is at what point do you finally give up on a new pilot and tell him that he is never going to be a good or safe pilot?

I had one old gentleman, in his late 60’s, that was on the buddy box going on three years. After he finally soloed he crashed every plane he ever owned within two to three weeks after it was purchased. He never hurt anybody but did have a lot of close calls. His problem was that he never could keep his left and right straight and when turning on final would give the wrong aileron input and roll inverted into the ground.

Right now I have two new pilots in training that are just not ever going to be safe pilots. These guys are so bad that none of the other club instructor pilots want to take them up. One pilot who has about 20 buddy box flights can’t make a simple turn without spiraling to the ground. If I tell him to pull up he is likely to push down.

At what point would it be appropriate to tell these guys that this is not something that they are going to be able to do?

On a little bit different note we have a young fellow, about 12 years old, whose parents are divorced. He is very enthusiastic about flying and has a trainer and 4-channel radio that has been given to him. His mother brings him to the field and politely asks if her son can fly as our guest. They come by about once a month. We always say yes and she will leave and not come back until almost dark. We are stuck with babysitting duty because somebody must be with him the whole time he is there. He is a nice kid and a decent pilot. I trained him and paid for his AMA membership so that he would not have to be on the buddy box all the time. His mother says that they can’t afford to pay the membership dues and that is probably true. Every time that the kid comes out we have to give him props, plugs and fuel and usually have to charge his batteries for him. Our club rules say that a visitor can fly as a guest for two times then they must either join or not fly. We are very lenient with enforcing this rule unless the visitor gives us the impression that they are just trying to take advantage of the club. Right now we have unofficially given him a complimentary membership. We have not told him or his mother that and he was not issued a membership card nor does he have voting rights at a general membership meeting etc. I am sure that the AMA doesn’t have any problem with this arrangement being as he does have AMA membership. But I do wonder how other clubs would handle this kind of situation. I guess that it does help that his mother is a very nice looking woman.
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Old 08-11-2007, 12:34 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Wow! You are to be highly commended. After what I read I am sure you will make all the right decisions as you see fit even without our help. The hobby desperately needs more like you. I want to offer my sincere thanks. Thank you!

As for as the pilots that lag behind are concerned, maybe suggest a GWS slow stick (SS). The SS has helped many get over the hump. As for as the kid it might just be as simple as letting the mom know when you want to leave the field. Good luck. Oh BTW welcome to RCU.
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:12 PM
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John Casey
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Default RE: When do you just say no

I also commend your patience BUT.....

If in the instructors determination,
after a time frame to be determined by the instructor,or team of instructors,
the trainee can not safely perform the required flight manuvers.

The trainee can be put on "probation"
after which he can be Grounded due to ........safety reasons.

All of this is subjective of course,

The trainers have an RC life too...and other pilots to train.

What does the FAA do, or say in a situation like this?
Don't reinvent the wheel.

Put him on a flight sim till he gets it right?
noones endangered then.

Change trainers..possible training style conflict.

"When the plane is coming toward you, to level the wings, push the stick toward the wing thats down"

Do not try to put yourself in the cockpit "mentally" while flying your plane
(to many mental gymnastics)

Do we have a "Training forum" for non AMA related stuff like this ? should we get one?
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Old 08-11-2007, 02:13 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Regent, you are to be comended for your philanthropy and patience. Unfortunately, some people just cant learn to fly. Its no ones fault, its just the way it is. I have trained many people to fly RC and I too have had my share of those who just couldnt do it. As difficult as it may be, you just have to explain to them that the safety rules cannot be changed. If we were talking about flying a full scale aircraft, there would be no question. RC aircraft should be no different.
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:39 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Maybe recommend a simulator to guys having trouble.
I know one old guy (66) who progressed fast cause
he flew on his sim at home a lot. I was amazed at his
progress.
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Old 08-11-2007, 04:40 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

I thought that it might have been our field until you mentioned that his mother was nice looking
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Old 08-11-2007, 06:36 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

I have been an instructor for over 25 years and I know just what you are talking about. I have taught many pilots over the year's and I have had a few that were just not going to ever get it. I accepted that and I would still work with them everytime they came out to the field. I just kinda felt it was part of a freindship and my love of the hobby. One of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had while enjoying RC was working with a developmentally challenged young man. He loved airplanes and was at the flying field every Saturday. He and his Dad built the planes and he and I were on the buddy box almost every weekend for well over 3 years. I knew that a solo was never going to happen, yet somehow it never mattered to me. This young man lived for Saturday and seeing me at the field and always had a smile from ear to ear as he assembled his plane. I know that our Saturdays together were his life and he lived them to the fullest and then he was gone. To this day some 20 years later, I still think about him and our time together. Working with someone for years on end may seem like a burden, but somehow, someway, the rewards are there for you. As for the young man that you mentioned, you may well be doing more than you know. Good Luck, Dave
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:27 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Many times the problem is the wrong aircraft. An Avistar or other Semi-Symmetrical trainer may be suitable for most, but for those having more trouble a more stable aircraft may be best. Sometimes the Avistar is just too fast and responsive, plus I have witnessed many instructors flying around at constant full throttle with a too fast plane and a hot engine making it even more responsive. Might work for kids who grew up with video game systems but not a good selection for many older folks.

Best to try a plane that is only one small step removed from a free flight plane. I second littlecranshafts suggestion of a slow stick. Littlecrankshaft has instructed well over a 100 students in this area and knows what he is talking about. I would also like to suggest a Sig Kadet Senior on three channels with an OS LA 40. Very stable and will just about fly itself for a full tank!

I've not met anyone that could not learn to fly, given the proper plane.
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:41 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

I've seen the same situations many times. In the first case, where do you trade hurt feelings for safety? If there's a point in the learning curve where the student just isn't progressing, some things may have to change. Try a simulator. Try another plane. You may have to face the fact that some people just can't fly R/C. He may have to face that fact, also. It's not an easy situation or decision. Get the club officers together and discuss it, THEN make a move.

As for the little boy, it's obvious the mother is using your club for a babysitter and her and her child are using your generosity for their equipment. We had a couple people who would constantly "borrow" a glow plug, prop, charger, tool, etc. It would never be returned. First, immediately rescind that complimentqry membership, official or not. The club must abide by its own rules or they are only suggestions. Y'all are setting yourselves up for many years of sponging. Second, tell the mother she must stay with the child for safety and insurance purposes. R/C is not necessarily a cheap hobby. Someone might suggest a paper route or another small job the kid can do to earn his way in R/C. The club can NOT put itself in the position of babysitter or of making special conditions for one case.

Your compassion in both cases is commendable, but misplaced. You make a very eloquent statement in "we are stuck". There is already resentment brewing and it will continue to grow. As for the individual members, a simple, "Gee, I didn't bring any (whatever)." will stop a lot of his "borrowing". Y'all have to pay for your stuff, weighing buying R/C things against how much free money you have. If the kid doesn't learn the value of his stuff, he won't respect it. His mother obviously doesn't respect the club or members and is perfectly willing to use her "nice looks" to get what her kid needs.

As I've said a lot, "Do what you have to do and shed no tears."

Dr.1
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:08 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

the only extra mile i got from my first encounter at a field was.... what are your doing here, you got ama, are you a club member, you cant fly here. it was in california at a field called avti ten years ago. after that i went down the road and turned on my radio and left it in the bushes for eight hours. i wonder what happened. oh well. my second encounter after i moved to florida was great. the club i belong too now has members
that are great. some really good people ive come to know.
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:36 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Thanks to all who have responded. I found DavidAgar’s response particularly insightful. Maybe in my old age I am beginning to get a little impatient with some of those that don’t ever seem to catch on. Keeping people on the buddy box forever would be one way that you could insure the safety of the flight and not have to cause any hurt feelings.

I don’t think that the problem is with the type of airplane that is used for training. I believe that the people in question may have a problem with dyslexia or the beginning of Alzheimer’s or a muscular/coordination problem. Sometimes I think that they just have narcolepsy and just take naps at inopportune times. They are just not ever going to be able to fly any airplane safely.

There are some of the responses on this thread and in my club that recommend that after a period of time just tell the trainee that it is just not working out for them. If I take that approach and the member files a compliant with the AMA what position would the AMA take? Do you think that they would they support the member or would they support the club?
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Old 08-11-2007, 10:08 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

I am not sure how the AMA would stand on the issue that you have asked about. There was a thread a while back on senior's and RC flying. It was noted that some senior's will never be able to solo and just when is enough, enough. There were alot of reply's, however if memory serve's me correct most members took the position of help them as much as you can. Alot of senior's only have one passion in life and if you remove it, they have nothing. I am getting on in years myself and I am looking forward to retirement in a few years. I also know that if I cannot have my planes, I would be lost. As for the boy, I do agree that your club should not be running a babysitting service. I think that this is an issue that needs to be taken up with the mother. As for supplying the young fellow parts, this can get old as well. Maybe the club can help with some of the cost's and have the young man work it off by working at the field and doing maintance. Once again, the help that you are giving him may be more than just teaching him how to fly, he may see you and the other members as the father figure that he does not have at home. Good Luck, Dave
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:40 AM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

We have a similar situation where I work. I'm an air traffic controller. We have trainees that just can't do the job. They "wash out". They are given a finite amount of hours of training and then they are given a check ride. If they fail, they are out of the program.

If you feel you cannot offer any additional training to your cadet, or if you think the chemistry between you isn't providing the results you need, then simply say , "I have offered all of my time that I can". "You need to find a new instructor". Or, " I feel we aren't getting the results that I think we should be getting, perhaps its time to change instructors". Or leave it more open ended, " we aren't making any progress, if you wish to continue training then you will need to find a new instructor".

Its their problem, not yours. Don't own their problem. Give it back to them.


As for the child. Karma baby. Be kind, Be generous, it all comes back one day. The importance of positive male role models is great. You are helping this kid in more ways then you can count.
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Old 08-12-2007, 01:35 AM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

I'm with pilot fighter on helping the child. Kids seem to have a high PIA factor but, you get used to it

But think about the chance you have to make a real difference in the life of this one "kid"

As for the mother of the child, a general boo and hiss would do[:-]
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:05 AM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Jeez, Philadelphia lawyers! The AMA will do nothing and will absolutely refuse to get involved. That issue is between the club and the trainee in question. An issue of site safety is generally not arguable. The AMA card is not a RIGHT to fly anywhere, even at an AMA chartered club. A club is usually a private entity, and as such, governs and controls the site where they fly. Local club rules are automatically incorporated into the general AMA rules. A club has FULL rights to exclude anyone from membership and/or flying by whatever rules they so choose, as long as they are applied equally to everyone.

OK, let's call it like it is:
Frankly, you, the other members, and the club as a whole have created these two touchy, embarassing situations for themselves and now y'all are looking for an easy way out. It ain't gonna happen. The old guy will probably get his feelings hurt and be very disappointed after being hopefully strung along (for 3 YEARS!!!) by well-wishers no matter what route you take. The young boy has been taught that he can get a free ride by your club and his mother (who is obviously only too willing to take advantage of your gullibility) and it will hurt him when he finds out it ain't so. Y'all have led him on, too. I'm sure there is resentment that the club rules are being flaunted for this one (self-created) special case. "Hey, why do I have to pay and he doesn't?" "Gee, I wish someone would give me a radio." There's no answer to that one. As for his mother being a "nice looking woman" (obviously an issue since the OP mentioned it) I hope your wives and girlfriends all read this thread.

You dug the hole, you climb out.

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Old 08-12-2007, 08:55 AM
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Jim Thomerson
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Back when I was concerned with looking at student evaluations of professors, one thing was almost universal. For any given professor, there would be students thinking that professor was the best in the world, and others thinking the professor was evil, ignorant, and incompetent. People have different temperments, and there is no universal method which is most efficent for everyone to learn. So if a student is not learning, change something: instructors, method, give up, whatever.

I am aware of a single mother with kid situation. The mother and local club are supportive. The kid builds and flies very well by adult standards. Worked that time.
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Old 08-12-2007, 10:59 AM
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Default RE: When do you just say no


ORIGINAL: LANNYBOB

...after that i went down the road and turned on my radio and left it in the bushes for eight hours. i wonder what happened. oh well.
That was a really stupid and crappy thing to do no matter how you felt you were treated. It's one thing to think about doing it and to be mad about the situation; it is another thing entirely to actually do something so stupid. I hope in the ten years since, you've grown up and learned to control your impulses![:@]
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:32 AM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Hope you like soft food.
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:00 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Yeah no kiddin. No matter what there is always a Lanny out there.

One thing to keep in mind is that BEFORE you ever have a training session with a person you sit down and try and get a feel for what everyone's time frame is. If you both have an understading ahead of time that in the event you simply are not getting it, we will terminate the effort. Some folks will realize that its time and move on, but in the event of the gentleman that has been buddy boxed umpteen million time, pulled off a solo and has had numerous crashes that little talk keeps a lot of bad feelings out of the way.

You go back to the talk and say Bill, Bob, Lanny whatever...remeber when we were starting out and we had a talk about being safe? Well we have to not let you fly anymore because your not...and most likely will not be.

People will still get upset, but it is amazing how much a pre-start talk will tone things down.

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Old 08-12-2007, 02:19 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

ORIGINAL: LANNYBOB

the only extra mile i got from my first encounter at a field was.... what are your doing here, you got ama, are you a club member, you cant fly here. it was in california at a field called avti ten years ago. after that i went down the road and turned on my radio and left it in the bushes for eight hours. i wonder what happened. oh well. my second encounter after i moved to florida was great. the club i belong too now has members
that are great. some really good people ive come to know.


Someone who would acturally commit this vile and vindictive and criminal act just because he didn't like the victims or thought they didn't like him and then actually get on a national forum and brag about it. Now he brags about what good people his club is now.

Can.t help but think what those good people would think of him now if they knew. Amazing, truly amazing!



In regards to the child abandonment problem we have had a spate of that at our field where kids were being dumped (This miles into the desert) In cases as young as six and told to stay there. We were trapped and could not even leave. This problem was finally aleviated when The police were informed a number of times and the children picked up. In these cases no one knew or had ever even seen the parents.

Needless to say in this matter I agree with DR-1 Driver completely.
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Old 08-13-2007, 05:44 AM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

DR1Driver,
Man, you tell it like it is don’t you buddy.

You are probably right on the AMA reaction. I tried to discuss it with my AMA District VP and that was a waste of time. He wouldn’t even answer my emails.

Technically you are right about having rules and sticking to them. That leads to a very strict and orderly lifestyle. However, I try not to play “hardball” with all my interactions with other people. I can be a mean and ruthless SOB when dealing with jerks and aggressive people but when it comes to pretty ladies with a nice smile and a kid that wants to fly model airplanes I guess that I am just a big teddy bear.
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Old 08-13-2007, 08:08 AM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

regent, THANK YOU for Being YOU!!!!
I want to only address the 12 year old boy as I am the president ofour club and have never been an instructor nor is my ability to that level.
The issue witht he 12 year old is CLEARLY the mother, not the boy. Hooking him up with membrship and props and stuff, to me, is great and I think we would all do it. Not everyone has money and divorced single moms or dads probably has very little discretionary money. the issue is the babysitting duty..The mother needs to be contacted and told flat out in a nice way that anyone under the age of 16.5 years old needs to have adult supervision. Now I am sure the boy has a grandparent or aunt,uncle or someone who can stay with him. Further, we don't know where the mom is going, is she heading to work, the beach, on a date.....If GOD forbid something happened at the field....well you get my point. Contact the mother, correct the action. We ran into this at our club, and frankly the mother was,well, ummm.....relatively uninformed and had no idea that it was an issue. From then on her child came with a grandmother who just sat and read a book all day. She was a very pleasant women.and was very pleasant to have at the field. thats my two cents
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Old 08-13-2007, 09:23 AM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

Regent,
Seeing as that I don't belong to a club I will not comment on club rules and such, or your problems training older pilots. I can say though that I completely agree with SSRCCPREZ and others who say to continue to help the boy. I would think his mother needs to be informed that an adult is needed at the field with the boy. The best approach I think would be to pull her aside the next time they come to the field and tell her politely that an the kid needs to have an adult with him. You guys are doing a great thing by helping this kid, don't listen to anyone that tells you otherwise. As far as his borrowing parts, is the mother aware that you guys give him parts everytime he is at the field? Maybe you should put together a list of general supplies the boy needs and give it to his mother. Better yet maybe at your next club meeting you could ask for donations to buy this kid a field box and a couple of the things he needs. When you give the box to the child let his mother know that the items in the box need to be replaced as they are used and tell her where she can buy them. If you take the time to remind the kid before he leaves the field that something in his box needs replaced you may be suprised to find a new one in the box next time he comes. I think your problem is that the mother is unaware of what needs done. She probably knows nothing of the hobby and is only trying to make her boy happy by letting him fly. Since she isn't dropping him off every day or even multiple times every week I doubt that she sees you and your club as a babysitting solution. What you are doing for this boy is setting a good example. You aren't teaching him that he can get a free ride, you are teaching him how to be a good person.
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Old 08-13-2007, 06:04 PM
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Default RE: When do you just say no

I don't think that there are any hard fast rules here.

But if you are given the chance to be a mentor, take it.

A few years back, I noticed a mother and her son sitting on the sideline. I went over and talked to them, and showed the kid around. He was 10, his parents divorced, living with his mom. He wanted to get into RC, and his mother supported that inspite of the costs. I told him what to get at the hobby shop, never expecting to see them again. They picked up the LT-40, engine, radio and then called me. I then spent a year and a half of Sundays with the kid building the kit, covering it, installing equipment, and flight training. Of course, there were also the repair sessions, and the building of a 4-Star 40 as the follow on project. The kid got to be a very good pilot with better skills on the sticks than 90% of club.

For me, I got to see the RC dream again from someone else's prospective, about the same age I was went I got the bug. It was well worth the effort.
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Old 08-13-2007, 06:20 PM
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Jim Thomerson
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Default RE: When do you just say no

I'm not up on all the ins and outs of this. But if a kid is out on the field without a responsible adult, and something bad happens, it could be really bad. The kid may need discipline, or get hurt and need medical assistance which you don't have the right to authorize. I just have heard some vague things about this. If I were going to take a 15-year old kid to a contest without a responsible adult along, (which we did all the time in the old days.) I would think carefully about it; learn and understand the possibilities of the situation. Maybe get a notarized letter from the parent saying what I have the authority to do for the kid, giving the details on his medical insurance , etc. This is the 21st century and life is not what it was in the good old days.
Jim Thomerson is offline  
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