Archive for July, 2015

a Threefer: 3 & 12 Aug; 9-11 Sep; & More!

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 358 via community-investor.com Copyright 26 July 2015

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog & or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or633-4764

COBA7® Motto = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

INTRODUCTION. WOW! How can so many exciting things be happening in 30+ days throughout the U.S.? Tomorrow, 3 August, finds Elkhart, IN., at the ‘center of the RV/MH Universe’, with a minimum of eight activities at the RV/MH Hall of Fame; from a golf tournament, to a Writers’ Conference, to the Hall of Fame Induction Banquet! Then comes the 24th annual Networking Roundtable a month later, 9-11 September. Read of the exciting additions just made to the already chock full of information and networking program! FINALLY, as an industry, we’re getting accurate MHIndustry statistics out of Washington, DC. Maybe we’ll see industry unity someday after all – but don’t hold your breath! Hey; submitted your thoughts on a name for the next (2015-2025) ‘Decade of Manufactured Housing’ yet? Still time to do so! And finally; Where Will You Be on 12 & 13 August 2015? Hopefully with me in Denver, Colorado. Read all about it in Part IV. Who says we’re part of a boring and dying industry and asset class? Not me!

I.

Exciting Updates, 24th Networking Roundtable!

‘All Things Chattel Finance!’ in land-lease-lifestyle communities’

Yes; upon popular request, we’ve tweaked this year’s agenda to ensure everyone gets to hear and learn the latest information relative to employment of chattel capital to finance, lease option and consummate new and resale home transactions on-site in LLLCommunities, large and small, nationwide. Frankly, there will be nowhere else for you to go, the rest of this year, to receive a better $$$ briefing than you’ll receive at the 24th annual International Networking Roundtable! (More $$$ info in final paragraph here following)

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The hinted-at, but now promised treatise, titled ‘Affordable (Manufactured) Housing’, and subtitled: ‘From Factory to Family; a Bold Look into the Future of Housing & Community!’ will be distributed to every registrant present at this year’s (expected record-breaking) roundtable event.

The document picks up where last year’s WHITE PAPER left off, assuming readers – and hopefully ‘users’ know what is needed to move beyond the widely-recognized paradigm shift of the past decade, toward a WAKE UP CALL, marshalling all the intrinsic benefits of HUD-Code manufactured housing and the community lifestyle!

Haven’t registered yet? Use the brochure attached to this week’s blog posting, or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

FLASH NEWS! The ‘GSE Hour’ Friday morning, following the ever-popular Lenders Panel, will not only feature senior executives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – where real estate-secured mortgages are concerned; but the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’) as well – with its’ focus on chattel capital and other $$$ matters! How can you not want to be present for this almost ‘once in a career’ opportunity to hear and learn from these folk?

This is what you’ve requested, and COBA7® is delivering on 9-11 September 2015!

II.

Manufactured Housing Statistics Update

‘Ah, these times are exciting, as we finally get a handle on our salient #s!’

1. Monthly ‘manufactured housing shipment totals’, among three of four national reporting entities agree! Henceforth, refer only to the monthly ‘manufactured housing shipment totals’ published by the IBTS, MHARR, & COBA7®, and you won’t go wrong.

2. Statistics germane to independent (street) MHRetailers (and likely, ‘company stores’) are literally ‘in the mail’ to COBA7® offices from IBTS; and will be reported to you once received, examined and put into MHIndustry perspective.

3. Unfortunately, the ‘Percentage of new manufactured homes going directly into LLLCommunities’ figure, for the end of year 2014, has been delayed from July to early September. As soon as COBA7® is provided that important trend tracking data, it will be passed onto you via this blog, the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter, and the Allen Letter professional journal.

4. It’s almost that time of year again! You know – if you own/operate five or more land-lease-lifestyle communities in the U.S. & Canada. The ALLEN REPORT questionnaire, pursuant to preparation of the 27th annual edition of this seminal document, will be mailed to 500+/- property portfolio owners/operators during the month of August. If you don’t think you’re on the exclusive and confidential ‘500+/-list’, and want to be, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. However, an important Word of Caution: Be aware of misleading imitations of this 26 year ranking of LLLCommunity owners/operators! One in particular does not include ‘RV rental sites’ in its’ property portfolio counts, while the ALLEN REPORT has always done so.

III.

Thanks For Your Responses!

‘Here’re Suggestions for Naming ‘Next Decade of Manufactured Housing’!’

As they say, ‘the ink was barely dry’ on last week’s posting, when responses started arriving to last week’s blog request of ‘blog floggers’ (readers) to name the next Decade of Manufactured Housing’! Without any further ado, here’re the suggestions to date:

• ‘Dawn of Factory-built Housing Efficiency!’ Steve Lefler of Modular Lifestyles

• ‘Decade of Resident Service!’ Michael Power of MHCommunity Investor

• ‘Decade of Affordable HUD-Code Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities!

• (Your suggestion? Still time to submit your ideas)

Hopefully these suggestions stimulate creative thinking on your part, and you’ll fire off your contribution during the days ahead. Remember, we hope to announce the ‘best selection’ at the 24th International Networking Roundtable, 9-11 September, in San Diego, CA. – as we ‘Celebrate National LLLCommunity Week’ together.

Again; to register, use the brochure attached to this blog posting, or once again, phone COBA7® via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

IV.

12 August 2015 in Denver, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Housing Association (‘RMHA’) has invited George Allen, CPM & MHM, to meet with owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), to together experience four of the following six timely and strategic topics, all germane to the realty asset class:

• State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class! (+) ‘Watch Out, Here Comes the Fourth LLLCommunity Consolidation Wave Since 1978!’

• Use the ‘5-Right Ps to Market & Sell New & Resale Manufactured Homes Within LLLCommunities’ (i.e. Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People)

• ‘(Insurance) Risk Management Guidelines Tailored to the LLLCommunity’

• ’10 Statistical Symptoms of Troubled LLLCommunities & How to Address Them!’

• ‘Using Area Median Income (‘AMI’) to estimate Housing Price Points when entering a new Local Housing Market; &, Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’) When selling new or resale manufactured homes to prospective homebuyers on-site.’

• Basic & Advanced Formulae & Rules of thumb Characteristic of LLLCommunity Operations, e.g. physical & economic occupancy, turnover, operating expense ratios, ‘cap rates’ pursuant to income valuation computation, Old & New Rules of 72, calculating local housing market rental homesite rent rates, the ‘Two Faces of ROI’, and more….

To learn more about this knowledge-packed day, on 12 August, and RMHA meeting the following day, 13 August, contact Tawny Peyton via (303) 832-2022. Product & service vendors especially should want to be on board to interact with LLLCommunity owner/operators!

And other state MHAssociation execs reading this; to learn more about having these or other pithy topics available to your members, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Also know the Manufactured Housing Manager® professional property management training and certification program is offered monthly throughout the U.S. If you’d like to host this one day MHM® program at your firm, or for your state association members, also know there’s a $50.00 rebate per paid registrant when there’re more than ten participants in the class. To date nearly 1,000 MHM® own/operate LLLCommunities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Are you MHM® trained and certified yet?

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Name the Next MHIndustry Decade!

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

COBA7 presents Blog # 357 via community-investor.com Copyright 19 July 2015

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog & or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®,
a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

COBA7® Motto = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

INTRODUCTION to Blog Posting # 357. Never before have you, as MHIndustry businessmen & women been offered an opportunity to ‘name’ our next decade! Here it is! AND, do you have any idea ‘What’s really going on in & around you’, politically, in the MHIndustry? Well, there’s an OPEN LETTER, even a formal treatise, being prepared for your reading education & enjoyment. And finally; There are at least eight (just learned of a ninth – but too late to detail here) activities going on in & near the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., throughout the day and evening of 3 August 2015. Already more than 500 RV & MH industry notables, pioneers, & dignitaries are registered! Are YOU?

I.

Help Name Next Decade of Manufactured Housing!

‘Here’s a rare & unique opportunity for YOU to affect MHIndustry Marketing for the Next Ten Years, & Label MHIndustry History!’

To begin with, those of us who’ve been active in the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class for decades, know we label our decades differently. How so? We measure and label ten year segments of history beginning and ending mid-decade, e.g. 1995 – 2005; 2005 – 2015; & now, 2015 – 2025, the decade we’ll to label, with your assistance, during the weeks ahead!

That first decade, occurring between 1995 & 2005 was labeled The Decade of Manufactured Housing and the Manufactured Home Community. Was it apropos? You bet! By the end of year 1998, HUD-Code manufactured housing industry ‘new home shipments’ crested at 372,843 units, heralding the too short-lived renascence of the time. It was during that period of time, Land & Home Packages (Think ‘Big Boxes = Big Bucks!’) ‘became the rage’, as independent (street) MHRetailers oft became contractors, competing head to head with site-builders for new home sales. On the (then) MHCommunity side of the MHIndustry, when national average physical occupancy hit 95 percent (highest in the 50 years history of the asset class) during the mid-1990s, dozens, if not hundreds of new communities were developed and existing properties expanded. And don’t forget, it was in 1994 & 1995, we saw several property portfolio firms launch IPOs and become real estate investment trusts. But then, by 2005, the chattel capital lending bubble had burst, and the industry/asset class has not fully recovered to this day (2015).

The second such-labeled decade occurred between 2005 and 2015. It’s moniker? The Decade of Factory-built Housing and the Land-lease-lifestyle Community. Certainly not the ‘Rah Rah’ times of the previous decade, but one with its’ distinctions nonetheless. On the MHIndustry side of the house, so to speak – and no pun intended, there was short-lived renewed interest in fabricating modular homes (like manufactured homes, one more type of factory-built housing – oft referred to as being ‘hudulars’), and in year 2009, the Community Series Homes, or CSH Model homes, concept was birthed. These being singlesection and modest-sized multisection homes, with one or more WOW factors, and a plethora of durability-enhancing features to speed ‘make ready’ between owners and renters of these new homes sited on-site in LLLCommunities. And this income-producing property type? For a relatively short time, until 2007, ‘park closures’ caught everyone’s attention. But the conventional housing finance bubble bursting that year brought a near end to much speculative (re)development. Today, among owners/operators, a major interest is in the ongoing consolidation of sole proprietor-owned properties into one or another of the 500+/- known LLLCommunity portfolios in North America.

Now, during the closing days of year 2015, we’re in need of a new moniker, one to highlight where we are today, and anticipate what’s might occur during the next 10 years, between 2015 and 2025. So, what do you think might be the best way to describe/predict the present and near future of HUD-Code manufactured housing and the LLLCommunity realty asset class? We really would like to know, and will value your input…

Here’s how to make your voice and suggestions known. Via GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247; fax to (317) 346-7158; phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764; &, gfa7156@aol.com

Furthermore, MHIndustry veterans recall, when both previous labeled decades began, GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing circulated 1 ½ inch diameter, solid Sterling Silver, Executive Decision Maker coins, during that year’s (1995 & 2005) International Networking Roundtable. The reverse side of each coin featured the years spread and moniker of that particular decade. Many continue to carry that rare and valuable coin on our person, others have it on display in their office. Retail value used to be $50.00 apiece! Today? All but priceless, given the escalating cost of Sterling Silver. However, ‘all is not lost’. While we may, or may not, have a ‘2015-2025 Decade’ moniker selected by 9-11 September, when the 24th Networking Roundtable begins; COBA7® has ‘something akin in the works’ for distribution to everyone in attendance that first day! Care to guess what it is? Just one more, of many reasons to be present this year! Use brochure attached to this blog posting to register today!

II.

Here’s What We’re Working on Now, for YOU

An Open Letter to LLLCommunity Owners/operators Nationwide

If you think business is difficult now, operating under far less than favorable auspices of the S.A.F.E. Act, financial regulations resulting from Dodd-Frank Legislation,

&

Now, imminent enforcement of year 2007 Federal Installation Standards, even implementation of Dispute Resolution nationwide – if HUD can find any complaints.

Look What Else is Coming Your Way!

Possible marginalization of ‘Duty to Serve’ Legislation and more….

Oh Yes, and about another matter: ‘Why does MHI continue to ‘go it alone’, when reporting monthly ‘new home shipment totals’ at odds with everyone else, i.e. IBTS, MHARR, & COBA7®?’ The reason might surprise you; then, it might not…

FLASH NEWS: In response to requests from the manufactured housing industry at large, COBA7® will soon begin reporting statistics germane to independent (street) MHRetailers!

By now most of you realize, to stay atop ‘What’s really going on inside the Washington, DC., beltway, affecting those (of us) outside the beltway and beyond’, you’ve gotta be reading this blog posting weekly, and the Allen Letter professional journal monthly! To subscribe, affiliate with COBA7® @ $134.95/year for 12 issues. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

III.

3 August 2015 in Elkhart, IN.

A Bunch of Good Reasons to be at or near the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Library, & Museum Facility, Elkhart, Indiana, all day & evening, 3 August 2015.

• Golf Tournament at Bent Oak Golf Club. Breakfast @7AM & Shotgun Start @ 8:30AM. Phone (574) 293-2344 for details and to sign-up. Always a sell-out!

• Writers Conference @ 9AM-Noon. No fee. You must call to learn specific location of the conference: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Several signed-up.

• Louisville MHShow Board Meeting @ Noon. Closed session

• ‘Let’s Talk Shop’ about Manufactured Housing & LLLCommunities’ @ 2- 3PM. In the RV/MH Hall of Fame library, with George Allen, CPM & MHM

• Special Reception for RV/MH Hall of Fame Members @ 1:30-3PM

• Free time to relax and prepare for evening festivities @ 3-5:30PM

• Reception Honoring ‘Class of 2015’ Hall of Fame Inductees @ 5:30 – 7PM

• RV/MH Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony @ 7 – 9;30PM

For more information about official RV/MH Hall of Fame functions on 3 August, telephone (800) 378-8694. More than 500 guests are expected for the banquet that evening. This is one gala RV/MH networking event you do not want to miss!

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MHIndustry Missing or Avoiding an Opportunity?

Friday, July 10th, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 356 via community-investor.com Copyright 12 July 2015

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog & or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7® Motto = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

Seriously Interested in Writing for Publication, Profit & Personal Satisfaction?

If so, You’re Invited to Participate in a Unique Learning Experience, 9AM-Noon on 3 August 2015 in Elkhart, IN.

In three hours, learn the basics & practical tools of writing, variety of personal & business writing for publication, and ‘How to get started!’ Group size is limited to ten, but will proceed if only a few attend. Fee? $20.00. payable at the door, to defray cost of handout material.

An RSVP of your intent to participate is required! Phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. You’ll be told the specific location at that time. Session leader has authored a dozen books, pens monthly business newsletters, a weekly blog, & features for various magazines. Come for a unique learning experience!

Later that same day, at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation, also in Elkhart, IN., there will be a Hall of Fame Banquet, inducting ten RV/MH Industry pioneers into the foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame. If interested in attending, phone (574) 293-8694. Already, nearly 500 have signed-up for this gala and historic event. See you there?

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Is Manufactured Housing Industry Missing an Opportunity to Recover?

Gist of the matter: ‘Should we embrace or eschew (avoid) RVs to fill vacant rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities?’

It’s estimated there’s a minimum of 250,000 vacant rental homesites among 50,000+/- land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) nationwide awaiting housing units of any type! And since ‘easy access to chattel capital’ has not returned to the manufactured housing industry, we continue to bump along at a six year nadir average of only 55,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped per year since 2009 (i.e. Some predict 70,000 by year end 2015). This anemic performance compares to 372,843 new HUD-Code homes shipped during year 1998.

Not that some in the MHIndustry aren’t trying! Since 2009, when 25 percent of new home shipments went directly into LLLCommunities; the same year, Community Series Homes were introduced. And since then, an increasing number of the 500+/- known property portfolio owners/operators have been buying new CSH Models (Something rarely considered two decades ago), reselling them on-site, even seller-financing when need be. Result? By year end 2013, 30 percent of new home shipments went into LLLCommunities, and that percentage is expected to continue to rise as Community Series Homes are more aggressively marketed.

Furthermore, owners/operators of LLLCommunities, especially some of the 500+/- known property portfolio ‘players’, boast mixed-use LLLCommunities. In fact, one of the real estate investment trust owner/operators count more RV sites in their huge property portfolio than MH sites – but more about that later in this blog posting. This mixed-use business model underscores the reality there are now as many as six types of shelter to be found in LLLCommunities across the U.S.: pre-HUD Code ‘mobile homes’; post-HUD Code manufactured homes; modular units; park model RVs, ‘RVs for a season’, and in FL., even stick-built homes constructed on-site to imitate HUD-Code homes!

So, ‘nearly everyone’ appears to be doing ‘whatever it takes’ to market and sell more new homes (e.g. Community Series Homes) and fill vacant rental homesites with whatever type shelter is permissible and fits on the rental homesite, e.g. park model RVs on otherwise functionally obsolete rental homesites! Parenthetically, these survival measures have already resulted in at least two MHIndustry terminology adjustments:

• Land-lease-lifestyle community supplanted manufactured home community, given the six types of shelter sited therein, vs. ‘just two’ in previous years.

• New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender, a moniker only recently coined to describe LLLCommunity owners/operators routinely buying, selling, and seller-financing new and resale homes on-site to get the rent meter running.

While aggressive self-help measures have fought this rear action to ‘Save the MHIndustry’ from itself (After all, ill-advised industry $ practices chased chattel capital lenders away at the turn of the Century), there now appears to be an internal movement afoot, one whereby the MHIndustry appears to be distancing itself from its’ sister recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry. How so?

The first indicator, in this industry observer’s opinion, occurred a year ago, June 2014, at MHI’s Summer meeting in Indianapolis, IN. ‘Defining & describing’ park model RVs, at HUD and elsewhere, was a hot topic at the time. And just when it appeared MHI was going to weigh-in on the side of the RV industry, all went silent. The reasons can be debated, but the MHIndustry has not involved itself in the ‘HUD & RV definition debate’ since.

Less than a year later, during MHI’s annual Congress in Las Vegas, its’ National Communities Council division unveiled their new ‘Top 50’ List’ of LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators. While a patent imitation of the 26 year ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’), there was one significant – and telling, difference. Before crafting this first ‘Top 50 List’, MHI staff stripped all RV sites, (…or so they thought they did at the time – but didn’t) from the total rental homesite counts. The question ‘Why?’ has been asked repeatedly, but not answered – other than to maybe differentiate the new data base form the imitated ALLEN REPORT – which has always included RV with MH sites. In any event, that’s the second indicator, again – in my opinion, of manufactured housing leadership ‘distancing itself from the RV industry’.

And there’s more, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Especially considering most major HUD-Code home manufacturers also routinely fabricate and ship all types of recreational vehicles. Moving on…

I recently read published commentaries by Sherman Goldenberg, publisher of Woodall’s Campground Management newspaper, and Ross Kinzler, retiring executive director of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance, and publisher of Industry Insights. Both suggest, in round about fashion in the first instance; and directly, in the second, that perhaps the manufactured housing industry is ‘missing the boat’, maybe even ‘missing a golden opportunity’ altogether. Their commentaries?

Sherm’s piece, titled ‘Park Model Builders Buy into Go RVing Campaign’ observed: “RVIA’s Seasonal Camping Committee, comprised largely of park model RV manufacturers who vacated their former association (the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association three years ago to join RVIA) took the next step toward integrating their affairs with that of the nation’s RV industry by voting to invest their own financial marketing reserves into the Go RVing Coalition’s national marketing campaign.” One thing is for certain, they’re not investing financial marketing reserves with the MHIndustry! Why should they? They’re obviously, ‘Not welcome!’ And yes, I understand there’s controversy, within RV circles, about becoming too closely aligned with the MHIndustry, and maybe facing the unintended consequence of park model RVs coming under federal building code oversight via HUD.

Ross’s piece, titled, ‘Industry Needs to Embrace Tiny House Movement’ goes down yet another rabbit hole, of sorts, promoting shelters 12 by 40 foot in size (as long as we keep them at 400+ square feet in size, they qualify as manufactured housing). He makes a good case for these being practical answers to rejuvenating long vacant functionally obsolete rental homesites, an ideal application of manufactured housing interior design expertise, and something today’s millennials will likely buy. How ‘bout that for a proverbial WIN WIN WIN solution to today’s ‘new HUD-Code home shipment slump’ and need for beaucoup more new homes on-site in LLLCommunities nationwide!*

So, where are YOU on all this? Do you think, as I do, that MHIndustry leaders, elected, salaried, and otherwise, are mistakenly distancing us from the RV industry? Or do you tend to be a purist (Some say Luddite) who believes we’re solely manufactured housing focused, i.e. It’s what brought us to the affordable housing dance and it’s likely who we’re going to go out (of business) with! (Sorry; couldn’t resist that crack).

In any event, we’d like to learn your opinion(s) on the subject and subjects. Simply use the contact information at the head of this blog posting. Again; the question: Should RVs continue to be an integral part of the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity asset class, OR, shunned per recent indicators on the part of at least one national advocacy body?

End note. Yes, it’s violation of some local zoning ordinances, in some states, to site RVs in LLLCommunities. But that doesn’t mean a statute can’t be changed….

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Celebrating Independence Day with Sam!

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

COBA7® presents Blog # 355 via community-investor.com Copyright 5 July 2015

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog & or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7® Motto = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

When I first read the following story, I counted it worthy of sharing with family members and friends throughout the manufactured housing industry. I hope you enjoy and appreciate this historical moment in our nation’s history as much as I did and do…GFA

Celebrating Independence Day with Sam

The following true story, from the Revolutionary War days of our nation’s history, is titled ‘A Minuteman Who Refused to Fade Away’ and is told in the recently-released book, The Warrior’s Soul, by Jerry Boykin & Stu Weber. It’s my opinion, the biography of this little known patriot should be required reading for every American citizen.

The authors begin by telling of “…the most famous patriot soldier you’ve likely never heard of. This tough old buzzard should have stopped, even died, a dozen times. And he almost did. He was a living legend in his own day, so I suppose you could say in his old age he’d tried to just fade away on his farm surrounded by scores of grateful descendants. But it wasn’t to be. When his country was in trouble, his warrior soul couldn’t resist responding – even when he was in his 80s!” p.7

Samuel Whittemore was “Born around 1695,…served as a captain of the King’s Dragoons. He was already 50 when he fought the French at the Fortress of Louisburg in Nova Scotia in 1745. There he acquired his favorite was trophy, a saber he’d taken from a French officer. When asked about it, Sam, without elaboration, simply explained the Frenchman had ‘died suddenly’.

When the hostilities ended, he bought a farm at Menotomy, built a house with his own hands, and settled his family there. When war kicked up again with the French, Sam volunteered, and at age 64 he was sent to help recapture Louisburg. The following year he was part of General Wolfe’s expedition that took Quebec from the French.

Later, nearing 70, he fought in the frontier Indian wars. He came home this time astride a much finer horse than he’d left with, and he now owned a brace of pistols, whose previous owner had also, in Sam’s words, ‘died suddenly’.

For Sam, back in Menotomy, life was good. Having traveled far and wide, survived multiple combat deployments, and fought against enemies of varying stripes and tactics, in his senior years he was now loving life and basking in the admiration of his wife, his children, and his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

But in the Spring of 1775, Sam could see storm clouds gathering. And he was deeply concerned about threats to his freedom, both foreign and domestic. Freedom was what Sam had always fought for, and he found living in freedom to be a glorious way of life. Freedom’s song hummed in his soul. He openly stated he wanted his descendants to live in a free land where they could govern and be governed by their own laws and not have their lives dictated by a king on the other side of the earth.

April 19, 1775 – arguably the most important day in American history – was a fine Spring day. The air was clear, and the smell of freshly turned soil filled the nostrils of 80 year old Samuel Whittemore as he breathed deeply of freedom.

You know what happened that glorious day. A corps of hundreds of British regulars – the world’s finest professional soldiers at the time – had been given secret orders to march out from Boston and capture colonial militia supplies at Concord, eighteen miles up the road (It was an early attempt at gun control on American soil) But the Minutemen wouldn’t give up their guns. The colonials got word of the British operation and made their own plans. As the Redcoats advance element headed out, they made contact with Captain John Parker’s Minutemen at Lexington, armed and ready.

The veteran Parker had prepared his grim-faced company with these famous words from his warrior soul: “If they mean to have a war, let it begin here!” By early morning, eight freedom-loving Americans lay dead on the green. Six of the eight were three fathers and their three sons. So it is in every freedom-loving generation: the ones who ‘get it’ pass it on.

Leaving Lexington…the British companies moved on toward Concord (where) they fought hard. The Redcoats, overwhelmed in this deadly clash, fell back. Their road back to Boston would take them through Sam Whittemore’s hometown of Menotomy. And Sam had decided they were gong to get a bellyful.

He had methodically loaded his trusted musket and his already famous set of dueling pistols. He stuffed his well-traveled pack with more powder and ball, strapped on his previously captured French saber, told his family what he was up to, then ordered them to remain inside until he returned.

Then he walked to a position he’d selected near a tavern, behind a rock wall at a strategic intersection the British would have to pass on their return to Boston. Records suggest a number of other militiamen tried to talk Sam out of the vulnerable position, but Sam wasn’t out that day to avoid a fight. He intended to pick one. The greatest moment in Sam Whittemore’s life was about to unfold.

As the British pushed ahead, the fighting in Menotomy was particularly fierce, from house to house and cellar to cellar. Death came to many, some were even reportedly shot by the British after being taken prisoner.

While the shooting got closer, Sam held his fire. Minuteman on both sides of him were firing their muskets, then they’d sprint away to reload. But not Sam. Waiting for the right moment, when the enemy was almost on top of him, he stood up and fired his musket, dropping on British regular in midstep. Sam then jumped out from behind the wall and fired off both his fine pistols, killing one Redcoat immediately, and mortally wounding another.

That kind of opposition draws a lot of attention. Fire draws fire. With no time to reload his weapons, Sam drew his saber and ‘flailed away at the cursing, enraged Redcoats who now surrounded him.” Think of it: most of those British soldiers would have been less than half his age.

One of the regulars shot Sam point blank in the face, tearing away half his cheek. The .69 caliber ball knocked him to the ground. Dazed, he rose, still trying to fight, but was again knocked down by a musket butt, and bayoneted 13 times by the vengeful Redcoats.

The aftermath has been described this way:

When the last Britisher had left the scene and were far enough away for them to come out in safely, the villagers who had seen Whittemore’s last stand, walked slowly toward the body. To their astonishment, he was still alive and conscious – and still full of fight! Ignoring his wounds, he was feebly trying to load his musket for a parting shot at the retreating regiment.

Using a door as a makeshift stretcher, the townsmen carried Whittemore into the nearby tavern, where a doctor ‘stripped away Sam’s torn, bloody clothing, and was aghast at his many gaping bayonet wounds, the other numerous bruises and lacerations, and his horrible facial injury.’ The doctor remarked it was useless to dress so many wounds, since Whittemore could not possibly survive for very long. But Whittemore’s neighbors persuaded the reluctant doctor to do his best. When the bandaging was finally finished, old Sam was tenderly carried back to his home to die surrounded by his grieving family.

To die?

Not quite!

That old warrior thought differently. Sam survived – and went on to live another 18 years.

When later asked if he regretted his losses that day – injuries that left him lame and disfigured – Sam responded, “I would take the same chance again.’

Sam Whittemore eventually died of natural causes at age 98. He was survived by 185 direct descendants – and he was especially proud to know every single one of them was living as a free American.” Pp. 8-13

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POSTSCRIPT. Every free American reading Sam’s story should have tears in his or her eyes – I certainly do. Tears of pride and gratitude for the patriots, then and now, who have blessed all of us with their service and sacrifice these past 240 years! ‘Happy Independence Day to You and Yours!’ GFA

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