Our organization is fairly new. We have grown in numbers and in success at a rapid pace. I thought I would tell this story so the new members could know how this all began.
What is a Gaunch?
Gaunch was a term coined by a Varsity Football player in 1977 and popularized by a Phys Ed teacher in the 1980'S in Orchard Park, NY. The term was used as an insult but proudly embraced by a group of school age boys and girls dressed in leather and denim who enjoyed intoxicating good times. They would gather together often and share in their love of fast cars, loud music, and keg parties. Many "Gaunches" seem to have been in trouble with the law from time to time. School was not as much a place of education but as a playground to bring teachers and administrators to their knees. Fueled by the love of a good time and an irreverence to the status quo. Many Gaunches have grown into responsible loving parents and successful citizens.
After leaving high school I lost contact with most of my Gaunch friends and had not seen or talked to many of them in 25-30 years. The term Gaunch that was placed on me during those years was nothing more than a vague memory that had not even crossed my mind in as many years.
The time was January 2011. During the years just prior to that time, God had come into my life. I didn't find him. He found me. I struggled between doing the right things that would please him and falling back into my old ways. It seems like it was always a constant fight but I was trying. I was working as an over the road, coast to coast truck driver. I did not even have a home. For several years I worked constantly and lived out of my truck. I would do small things like giving the homeless man at the end of the exit ramp a few dollars or stop to help someone change a flat tire. But I had a desire to do more. I remember praying one day. I told God that I did not feel like I was doing enough, and asked him to understand that there was only so much I could do from the cab of my truck. What could I do? This was my situation at the time.
Within a day or two...I was on Facebook when I noticed a post from my old friend, Eric Knauer, that said "Where is the Gaunch army? Are you out there?" Wow...I hadn't heard that name in years! Trying to be funny, I responded back,"1983 Gaunch...reporting for duty sir!" He wrote back "We must Unite!" That gave me the idea, again only trying to be funny and as a joke, to start a Facebook group called Gaunches Unite. Within a day or two we had 50-100 former Gaunches in our group. Within a month or two we had 400. And now we are close to 1000 and open to anyone who would like to join.
During that time Eric told me about a friend of his and a former Gaunch who was battling cancer. The story of this girl touched my heart and it was really affecting Eric. I told the rest of the group about her. Karma Wylie...many knew her. We wanted to help her and her family so we had what we called a "Gaunch-a-thon". We raised several thousand dollars for this old friend. What we did for her showed her how much her friends cared, and when she left us...she left taking much love with her. Everyone came together for this girl and she touched us all. It felt great and natural to us. So much that we didn't stop. We looked for the next person we could help and never looked back. Soon after I created the non profit organization that we are today. All with nothing more than desire, a laptop, and entirely from the cab of my truck while travelling across America.
This was never a plan...we never set out to do this. It just kinda happened. And to this day I believe that this organization was God's answer to me when I asked him, "What can I possibly do to make a difference from the cab of a truck?" I guess he showed me...and all of us! And only good things have happened to us since!
See what Kid Rock did for us soon after!