The 2018 BMWNEF Christmas Party was held at Toscanos Little Italy in Jacksonville. We had a great turnout and the restaurant was full of members. There was a huge Christmas tree and decorations, and the mood was festive.

This year’s event was a departure from meeting at the park lodge, which was rustic and had a blazing fireplace. The past events involved many volunteer hours and members bringing dishes and desserts. The club leadership wanted to make this event special and they were successful.

The Toys for Tots campaign, run by the USMC, was our charity for the event. We had so many toys that the USMC representative needed to call for reinforcements with a larger car to transport the toys. The club donated the toys in honor of Bill Botkin’s late brother Major Charles Botkin USMC (bio below). Our generosity will be appreciated by many children who will have a brighter Christmas for our efforts.

We also held a business meeting to elect the new slate of officers, and to thank our outgoing leader Jim Quinn. Jim will still be around as the Immediate Past-President, and his leadership and vision for the club has helped us be a better club for our members and the community. Welcome Philip Mule’ (L) as the next President of BMWNEF, as Immediate Past-President Jim Quinn dons his Past-President’s hat and Philip commends him for his term of leadership with the club.

Bill Botkin was chosen for the Maggie Award, in honor of the late Maggie Nelson. Maggie’s spirit of volunteering and helping others is memorialized in this award, and Bill’s efforts to lead and help the club through many years was honored with the award. Sparky Peterson looks on as the most recent Maggie Award winner. Norm Nelson presented the award to Bill (and his better half Ginny). Congratulations to you both.

It was a great time, and if you missed it this year, make plans to attend next year. There’s something special about having a Christmas party with motorcycling friends.

Bio: Charles Thomas Botkin, Jr. was born in Muncie, Indiana in January 1947.  He was the second child of Charles Thomas and Jeanette Botkin.  His father was a WWII medical officer in the Pacific and mother a college educated interior designer.

After high school, Charles enrolled at Ball State University and graduated with honors with a BS in Chemistry. Charles entered the Marine Corps in 1973, and after Officer’s Candidate School, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.  He attended the advanced infantry officers’ course where he was assigned the Military Occupational Specialty of an Artillery Officer.  He deployed to the Mediterranean in 1983, shortly before the Marine Barracks bombing. After serving in many stations in the USMC, He retired as Major, the Officer-in-Charge of the Marine Corps Museum, MCRD, San Diego.

Charles and family returned to Muncie, Indiana after retirement, where he graduated from the Indiana Vocational Technical Institute with a culinary degree. During retirement he operated several restaurants and was head chef at several more.  He was an excellent chef. Timmy is survived by his wife, Lou Ellen, and children Matthew, Jennifer and Ellen.  He has several grandchildren in California and Indiana.