Was it luck or was it faith, we will never know. Either way, the Western Region owes its existence to Louis Henderson of Port Orchard, Washington and Alex Jones of Kent Washington.
After learning about NAARVA during a camping trip, they decided to join NAARVA. Henderson joined on December 18, 1995 and was assigned membership number 94-273, and a few months later Jones joined and was assigned membership number 94-297.
The idea of forming a Western Region was suggested during conversations between Alex Jones and Norm Ellis, President of NAARVA.
Alex Jones and Louis Henderson got a meeting together with five other RVers at the International House of Pancakes in Kent, Washington on August 13, 1996, to discuss establishing a Western Region within NAARVA. The people present at this first meeting were:
Sam Stallcup - Kent, Washington
Alex Jones - Kent, Washington
Ernest Ellison - Renton, Washington
Louis Henderson - Port Orchard, Washington
Gary Stricklin - Port Orchard Washington
Clemmon Peterson . Renton, Washington
Daniel Harris - Seattle, Washington
At this time it was decided that temporary officers would be elected, with the understanding that nominations would be presented to the attendees at the next meeting. The temporary officers elected were:
Louis Henderson - President
Alex Jones - vice President
Sam Stallcup - Secretary
Gary Stricklin - Assistant Secretary
It was suggested to keep the name Western Region, since this group would be the pioneers of NAARVA for all the western states. A discussion was held to contact African-American clubs in California and Oregon to get a feel for interest in NAARVA.
The next meeting was held on August 24, 1996 at Manchester State Park in Port Orchard, Washington. Twenty-eight (28) people attended this meeting. The majority of attendees were from the Funseekers RV Club of Seattle, Washington.
The floor was open for nominations for permanent officers, no nominations were offered and a motion was made to retain the pro tempore officers. The next item was membership in NAARVA and the procedures for applying for membership. This began the WESTERN REGION OF NAARVA. Contact was made with the “Charioteers” RV Club of Oregon and members of NAARVA in California, Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico and Idaho.
The President of NAARVA, Norman Ellis and President pro tempore of the Western Region Louis Henderson met at the FMCA Rally at the Columbus, Ohio, fairgrounds on July 15, 1997. The many aspects of forming the Regions, By-Laws, badges and patches, etc, were discussed. At that time President Ellis charged President Henderson with the task of drawing a map forming the Regions of NAARVA. This information was forwarded to President Ellis on August 24, 1997. A response was received from President Ellis on October 30, 1997, with his recommendation to add the states of Idaho and Utah to the Western Region.
In 1997 Five (5) rigs from the newly formed Western Region attended the 5th NAARVA Rally in Buena Vista, New Jersey, August 14th through 17th. The members from the Western Region were Sam Stallcup, Ernest Ellison, Louis Henderson, Henry Jackson and Clemmon Peterson. At this time a bid was put in to host the NAARVA Rally for the year 2000, since 1998 and 1999 were already taken.
During these formative years, two Region rallies were held. The first rally was held in Astoria, OR in 1998, hosted by the Ebony Rose City Travelers and the second one in Mount Hood, OR in1999 hosted by the Ebony Rose City Travelers. They were attended by members of the: Funseekers of Seattle, WA; Rolling Roasters, Kent WA; TNT RV Club Tacoma, WA and Ebony Rose City Travelers, Portland OR.
At the second rally the election of a new administration was voted in and Obedell Coxeff of Portland, OR was elected the new “Regional Director”. The Western Region is still growing with the same enthusiasm that it had at the beginning and the Regional officers, Chapter presidents and members will take it forward through this millennium.
(This information was extracted from the pamphlet (NAARVA HISTORY – The First Fifteen Years). Copies of the pamphlet can be obtain from the NAARVA office).