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The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) International Convention/Expo will go ahead as planned in Las Vegas beginning on Sunday (Sept. 23).

In view of last week’s tragic events, RVDA Chairman Ernie Friesen, and President Mike Molino issued the following statement to dealer and associate members:

The leadership of RVDA joins with all its members in offering our deepest sympathy to those who have lost family or friends in the enemy attacks on our people and our freedom last week. Please advise us if you know of anyone in our industry who suffered a direct loss.

All of us stand in awe of the true heroes who are working at the crime scenes in herculean efforts to rescue survivors and recover the blessed remains of those who lost their earthly lives. We are also impressed by what our members are doing to help the recovery effort and to restore consumer confidence in our system. We are thankful for the sentiments of grief and solidarity expressed by our Canadian brothers and sisters.

We reflected thoughtfully on what we should do about a convention scheduled so close after the disgusting events of last week. We do not want to seem insensitive but the decision was obvious; we had to go on. We understand why anyone who suffered the loss of a relative or close friend might not be able to participate in the convention. We also understand why those involved in recovery operations and the associated military and police operations would not be able to be with us. But, it would be playing into the hands of our enemies to allow their cowardly acts to disrupt the lives and business plans of the rest of us. We want to make it clear to all that the 2001 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo will begin as scheduled on Sunday morning, preceded by a golf tournament on Saturday (Sept. 22). On Sunday afternoon, we will honor America and Canada and remember those who lost their lives in the first General Session.

As President Bush stated, Americans need to go back to their jobs. Part of our job is to put on as good a convention as we possibly can. We are prepared to do that.

The line up of presentations and exhibits is truly first class. Our business partners have already invested heavily in preparing for this event. This convention is important to dealers and dealership employees who want to become more professional, profitable, and customer focused.

We will have the opportunity to declare our resolve that cowardly acts, even those done in the name of religion, cannot weaken the spirit or limit the freedom of the American people when we meet in the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Please join together with the cream of our industry and come to the convention to learn more about what you can do to make yourself a better dealer, a more valuable dealership employee, and a more knowledgeable member of the industry.

To all of you who are registered, see you in Las Vegas. We invite any of you who are not registered for the convention to call and register at 1-800-336-0355 before Thursday or show up at the Rio on Sunday. It is three days of the best RV retail education anywhere and registration is less than $400. There are some reasonable airfares available; the Rio has a limited supply of rooms.