Editor / Secretary
The early days- April 1997 Agawam High School parking lot.
Left to Right- Dave Lassard,Garry Brinn,behind him is Garry Retzlaff, David Gumlaw and Paul Bourbeau
Remember this: On any given day you may hear the echoes of a tiger roaring in the distance. If the sound fades fast, it might be one of us!!!!
The Pioneer Valley GTO Association has been giving to others for over 24 years. Its inception started with Gary Brin and David Gumlaw, brainstorming in 1996. They felt having a GTOAA Chapter located in Western Massachusetts would be beneficial for the members and the community. The two men planted the seed in local car parts stores and the Wheeler Dealer magazine. The idea took off, with nurturing support of the community. The Pioneer Valley GTO chapter grew. They needed ten GTO members to reap the harvest.
In 1998 the first car show happened at a Springfield transfer station where original charter member, Paul Bourbeau, worked. With 30 members at the time, we knew having a car show was a great way of growing our membership.
When the first two founders stepped aside, Paul Bourbeau was elected President in 2001 along with his wife, Pam, as Secretary. At that time the membership count was at 70.
As the car show continued to grow, our membership did as well. Soaring over 100 members in 2012. Paul and Pam Bourbeau continued the legacy with members and other officers, Gil Lambert as Treasurer and Jim McDonald as Vice President for over 20 years. Their tenacity and dedication inspired the growth of the Club. Club affiliation facilitated many friendships. Each member is like family.
The Pioneer Valley GTO Association’s accomplishments consist of a monthly newsletter “The Diamond” (in representation of the Pontiac emblem); monthly Club meetings; Christmas parties, Club excursions; yearly four-day trips to the Adirondack Nationals in New York; Fall cruises; museum visits; and other organized events all with family and friends.
The passionate GTO members volunteer time to organize, plan, and host an annual car show in June. The proceeds generated from donated raffle items, picture taking, food and apparel sales, face painting, and local vendors are donated to two local non-profit charities – Shriners Children’s New England in Springfield and National Alliance on Mental Illness of Western Mass (NAMI). Over the past 24 years, the club has donated over $200,000.
Club awarded trophies are given to participants displaying their cars. These vehicle owners recount stories from the past and present about how they acquired their automobile, what they did to repair or restore them. They also solicit feedback from others about additional ideas to continue the restoration or enhancement of their cars. The stories are fascinating and educational.
The Pioneer Valley Chapter’s dedication directs its interest in “Giving to Others”. Please donate or join us in continuing the community support and to having a wonderful time looking at the American dream – cars!
Support our Club to continue to Give to Others.
Treasurer / Web master
President and Founder of Pioneer Valley GTO Association.