Third Annual Bob Reunion 2007
History of the Bob Reunions
Three years ago, I received an email from Kirk Ramsey, who is the web master for the 2/14th web site. He said he had received an email from Randy Goodwin, the son of a man who had served with Bob in Viet Nam, and could he share our email address with him. I replied that would be great, and anxiously awaited the next email.
Soon we not only had emails, but also telephone calls - from Randy, Goody and Doty! Goody has lost all of his Viet Nam memorabilia in a house fire and Randy was trying to find some things to help replace some of these things. He had found a picture of his dad on the 2/14th site, standing with two other men named Bob, that I had submitted almost a year before. Randy called his dad and to make an even longer story short, had him get on his computer and he walked him through to the site with the picture. Soon we were all making plans for getting together in August. That was the first Bob Reunion.
This picture was labeled: Bob Goodwin, Bob Gillick, Bob Doty - medics.
This picture was taken at the first Bob reunion in August, 2005.
This picture was taken at the second Bob reunion in August, 2006.
The Third Bob Reunion
On Tuesday, September 18th, Bob and I headed into Des Plaines to the Best Western Motel for the third annual Bob Reunion. The other two Bobs were to arrive later that evening, as Goody and Shirley were flying in from Boston, and Doty and Tia were to meet them at O'Hare. Once we were registered, I pulled around to the parking lot in the rear of the building. I called our son Danny to come help me get all of our things into our room. I had made two trips with a full cart by the time he got there. He and Shannon grabbed the remainder of our belongings, and I pushed Bob's wheel chair and up the elevator we went.
About an hour later, Bob asked Danny to take him downstairs, so he could be on the look out for the "Bobs". As they got off the elevator, they saw the men checking in. They went out the back door to have a cigarette, and hollered at Shannon and I to look out the window. They said that the Bobs had arrived. Within a few minutes, there was a knock on our door. Shannon hurried to open it and there was Doty with a full cart. He said he had to leave Goody and Shirley's things in our room, for somehow the motel didn't have a room for them. He soon left to get his things from his vehicle.
Dan brought Bob up to our room, leaving to help Doty and Tia unload their vehicle. A few minutes later, there was another knock at the door and I opened it to let Goody and Shirley in. Doty and Tia soon followed with Danny in tow. Hugs and introductions were exchanged, and Danny and Shannon left as they had to be up early in the morning. The story of no room for Goody and Shirley was soon told. Goody had made his reservation six months previously and then had called within the last couple of weeks to see if the rooms were grouped near each other for our ease in being together. He was told that our room and his were next to each other, with the other two rooms being on a lower floor, as they were non-smoking rooms. He was even told our room numbers were 325 and 327 in that phone conversation. When they first tried to check in and were told there was no reservation for them, the young desk clerk said that there was a dirty room she could give them, but she had to go clean it herself. She told them it would be ready by 11 p.m. After gabbing for some time, Shirley noticed that it was almost 11:30 and the desk hadn't called us yet. She called the desk and was told it would be a bit longer before the room was ready. After another half hour or so, Goody and Shirley decided to go down to the desk to find out what the further delay was. The desk clerk was very snippy with them and soon told them that since they were acting beligerent, they did not have a room and they were to leave the motel. They headed back upstairs to let us in on the latest, and as they got off the elevator, ran into the first desk clerk who told them the room was finally ready for them. They told her that the other clerk had just kicked them out. She went down in the elevator and they came into our room to tell us the story. Within a few minutes, the phone rang and Goody talked with the desk clerk. He was very reserved and calm and said several "Yes, Ma'm"s and then hung up.
The clerk had told him that they looked more in the computer and were able to find his original reservation, but that the man he had made it with, had cancelled it. That man had since been fired for doing that to several other guests. They would "comp" a room for them for that night. Goody and Shirley headed down to the desk. When they came back, they said they did have the room that the first clerk had cleaned, and they were getting it for free for the night. Shirley and Goody made plans to talk with the manager in the morning. We discussed what time we needed to meet at the continental breakfast and then leave for O'Hare to meet Maggie's plane. Maggie is the sister of another medic who served with the three Bobs in Viet Nam. That medic's name was Niel Riggs. Niel was killed after only being there 8 weeks, and my Bob was the person who brought his body out of the field. Randy had made contact with Maggie in April, and got the ball rolling for her to be in touch with the rest of us. Maggie and her family had been under the impression that when Niel was injured, he laid for several hours before his body was found. With the contact with Randy, they discovered that Bob was on the same mission as Niel and he was the one who went to Niel as soon as he went down. Niel had died instantly. Randy had videotaped a lot of the stories that the Bobs had discussed at the first reunion, and this was one of the stories they had discussed.
Niel Riggs, Dec. 1966.
Goody had the idea for us to make a banner to greet Maggie with so that she would know us and Bob thought we should get it made before we went to bed. Tia drew a large letter on each sheet of paper, and the Bobs colored them in. Shirley and I taped them together. The final banner said, "The Bobs Gillick, Doty and Goodwin (drawing of the patch for the 2/14th - where they served) are here for Maggie." Each letter was on a separate piece of paper with a blank paper in between each word. The surnames were listed on one sheet, and the patch drawing was also on one page. Was that banner ever long! We folded it fan style and set it aside. Soon we all went to our beds.
Bob and I followed the others to O'Hare, and as we got up to the deck to park, they were waved on - they were to go back to the Economy Lot, several miles back. I started to follow them, when a guard hollered to me to go up to the first left, turn and come back. With us being in a vehicle with handicapped plates, we were allowed in the lot. I found a parking spot just outside the doors. I unloaded the chair, my tote bag with the banner in it, and Bob and we headed inside. I didn't know where to go, so we stood and waited outside the elevator. About 20 minutes later, my cell phone rang, and it was Doty telling us to come up in the elevator and we should see them. As we got off the elevator, we saw our little group. Once we knew Maggie's plane had landed, we unfolded the banner and stretched out to hold it up. We attracted a lot of attention, from everyone there! I was the only one who had any idea what Maggie looked like, and so told Tia what to basically look for. At one point, she made the comment that a lady had just gone down the escalator and she thought it was Maggie. I was not in a position to have seen the lady, so we just waited. Soon, Goody's cell phone rang. Maggie was on the floor below us! We all trooped into the elevator, and stretched out the banner as we walked towards this lady that Tia had seen use the escalator! She just stood there, and then the tears started flowing! We knew we had the right person! Introductions were made, hugs were exchanged, eyes were wiped and again, Maggie looked at the banner! We folded it up then and gave it to her!
At O'Hare airport, Gilly; Maggie holding her banner; Goody and Doty. Maggie is the one who gave Bob Gillick the nickname of Gilly, although she calls him, "My Gilly".
Tia and Maggie joined Bob and I for the ride back to our motel. While Maggie checked in and then changed clothes for something cooler, we decided on a restaurant for lunch. There was a lovely restaurant almost next door to the motel and it was a nice little walk. They seated us at a round table, but then the waitress decided we were too "smooshed", so she added another table and we were able to sit much more comfortably. A lot of giggles went on while we were deciding on our orders, but finally we all made a decision. The waitress brought our drinks, and as she went to put Tia's drink on the table, the glass split in her hand and the tea/lemonade mixture went all over. Tia got a lap full! The liquid was cleaned up, and a new drink was brought for Tia. Soon the food arrived and we all started to eat. Well, we started, but of course with talking and asking Maggie questions, it took a long time for us to finish our meal. We took a couple of pictures, and the waitress even took a couple of the entire group for us. I managed to get her in one of the shots, while she was laughing, for she really was a good sport to have put up with all of us!
Doty and Tia, across the table; Maggie and Gilly's backs.
Goody and Shirley with the waitress laughing at all of our antics.
Susie, Gilly, Maggie, Doty (standing), Shirley (almost hidden), Tia and Goody. This picture was taken by our waitress.
We trooped back to our motel, each going to their own rooms, but planned to meet in our room, as it was the only smoking room. While we waited, I took off my shoes and stretched my toes, and then got the gifts Bob and I had brought out of the closet and set them up on the foot of one of the beds. I propped open the door with one of our bags, and soon, the rest all trooped in. The beer was still in our room from the night before, but it was no longer cold. Goody and Doty went after ice for our soda pops, and to ice down the beer in a waste paper basket. Maggie asked if she could go first as she had something that was very special for the Bobs.
Maggie gave each of the Bobs a booklet she had made, asking that we go through it together. We went through each page, reading and looking at the pictures she had put there. We all reached for Kleenex. She had written up the events as she had gotten in touch with Randy and then the Bobs. Randy is Goody's son and he is also the one who got the three Bobs together for the first time. He has worked hard over the years and we all love him as if he were our own! Other things in the booklet were stories and pictures of Niel and their families.
Eventually, the other gifts were exchanged, and talk shifted to some other things. Doty had brought a map of Viet Nam that his father had hanging on a basement wall while Doty was in Viet Nam. He showed different areas of it to Maggie, while the rest of us went through the two scrapbooks Maggie's mother had made after Niel died. One was of his childhood and life up to the military and the second one had letters from him while he was in boot camp and on until after his death, with several letters from different parts of the military and others about his death. They were both well done and heart-breaking to see. Doty also had a book of the 2/14th that had one picture in it of Niel and Bob, helping a wounded soldier to a helicopter. It is of their backs, but the Bobs knew exactly who it was. It is the only picture we have that is of Niel in Viet Nam.
Doty and Maggie
Gilly and Tia
Goody and Shirley
Maggie, Shirley and Tia, with Doty holding a book.
Maggie, Goody and Shirley.
That evening we went to an Italian restaurant - the manager at the motel had made the reservation for us, as well as paid for a taxi for all of us to ride to and from the restaurant. The food was great and we continued to chatter away about many subjects. Back at the motel, we again met in our room. Danny was waiting for us and was able to meet Maggie and then he was off on his phone with his friend Shannon. Before too very long, we all decided it was time for us all to get to bed, as Maggie had to be at the airport about 10 in the morning. We made plans to meet for our continental breakfast in the morning.
The next morning, we were about ready to go downstairs, when Bob decided he needed to use the restroom. He wasn't in there long when he had an episode of vomiting. He felt ok after he was finished, so we went down to the elevator. We were downstairs, visiting for a short while, when he asked to be taken to the restroom, where he again was ill. This time, he had several episodes, so on our way back to the others, I stopped at the desk and made arrangements for us to stay another night. Before too long, it was almost time for them all to leave. We pulled out cameras and had the the men line up around Maggie. Maggie had surprised us all with wearing her shirt that I had given her, as well as to the other ladies (and myself). She even turned around when she was next to the Bobs, so the words could be read.
Goody; Maggie, wearing her Honorary Bob shirt; Doty and Gilly in his wheel chair.
These are the hands of the 3 Bobs and Maggie, each wearing their bracelet of Niel. Randy had bought them for the Bobs when he was in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. Maggie's bracelet is the one Randy was wearing when he made the rubbing of Niel's name from the Wall.
After we finished with the pictures, we said our good-byes. Maggie sat to talk with Bob, her Gilly.
Maggie's special good bye to her Gilly.
Bob and I slept most of the day, and felt ok the next day to drive home. Once home, and the van unloaded, we again both took long naps. Plans are tentative for next year, we are hoping to have the Fourth Annual Bob Reunion in Colorado.
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