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Bikers revved up about volunteering

Heidi Rice

John and Leslie Getty can be seen at almost every local function in Rifle.But when they’re not volunteering or participating in local events, the Gettys take a time out by getting on their Harley-Davidsons and going for a ride.The couple moved to Rifle three years ago from the Los Angeles area, where each had a job in the aerospace industry. Although they attended nearby rival high schools, they did not meet until years later when mutual friends set them up on a date.”We met in 1976, and I thought he was so cute,” Leslie said with a smile. “I was hoping he’d ask me out.”He did, and the two married in 1978. On a trip touring the western United States in the spring of 2001, they landed in Rifle.”When we got here, we just said ‘Wow’!” Leslie said. “We weren’t planning on retiring for another five years, but we saw how beautiful it was and the pace of life.”As soon as they returned to California, the Gettys put up a “for sale” sign in their yard and eventually sold everything except for their motorcycles.John, a longtime motorcycle enthusiast, who wears a worn leather jacket when riding his Harley-Davidson Road King. At one time he had a 14-inch-long ponytail, which he later cut off and donated to Locks of Love – a group which provides hairpieces for cancer patients and others who suffer from hair loss because of diseases. He is also a member of the riding club A Brotherhood Active Towards Education. “The focus of ABATE is safety and education,” he said. “It also deals with helmet laws and protecting the right to ride and not get legislated off the road.”Leslie obtained her motorcycle license in 1985 and rides a Harley Sportster.”But I wear ski clothes when I ride,” she said with a laugh.The two have taken touring road trips to Cody, Wyo., Scottsdale, Ariz., and Seattle.”Our worst day on the road is still better than our best day at the (aerospace) plant,” Leslie joked.And while they may be officially retired, the Gettys still put in countless hours of volunteer time in Rifle.John has served on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission since August of 2002 and is also a member of American Legion Post 78. The group is working on bringing a replica of the Vietnam Wall to the city of Rifle this summer, in conjunction with the city’s 2005 Centennial celebration.”It’s amazing how many people don’t even know there’s an American Legion post here in town,” said John, who serves as secretary for the post. “Right now, the Wall is our big push.”John is also a member of the Rifle Sportsman’s Club where he does volunteer work.”Volunteering is in his blood,” Leslie said with pride. “His father was in the military his entire life and given to service. That rubbed off on John and it’s rubbed off on me.”And it has. Leslie is a part-time volunteer at the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce and volunteers three times a year helping out with registration at Colorado Mountain College’s Rifle campus. She is also a member of the Rifle Centennial Committee and helps put together various community events such as the Rifle Rendezvous and Apple Pie Days.”The chamber has about 18 events a year and I try to get involved in as many as I can,” she said.The volunteer work is simply a reflection of the Gettys’ appreciation of Rifle and what is has to offer.”We’re very fortunate to be in the position that we can do this and volunteer,” John said.


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