To Lee, Bill and the Volvo community,

I truly appreciate and am honored to have received the People’s Choice Award at the West Coast National Volvo Meet. To then receive the Lifetime Achievement award really made my day … weekend … month. I was totally unprepared and wish I could have made a speech at the banquet, so the next best thing is to write one afterwards. Here goes …

I can remember my first National meet in 1988. Actually it was also at the same location, in Solvang, then a Holiday Inn. I had been a VSA member since 1976 with a ‘70E, but never attended (or paid much attention to) the National Meets. I had no idea what to expect, I cleaned up my red ‘73ES that I had owned for a year and drove the 225 miles to the meet and placed 3rd in the stock ES class behind Bud Hartwell and long time club associate Cal Terry, two great guys who encouraged me to make the most of my car. Also of significance was the encouragement of Jerry and Gerald David whose orange ES was then the cream of the crop in the Masters class. I remember them seeing my car and saying "It’s back!" Of course, I didn’t know what they were referring to, but they filled me in on the car’s history and significance. That was my first experience with a Concours. Since then, great people like, Bill Webb, who always offered information, hospitality and inspiration after writing "Swedish Iron", and Art Banks with his relentless pursuit of perfection, and friendship. Their encouragement, and that of others, led me down the Concours path … I’m not sure I want to thank them or curse them, but they hooked me and I have been dedicated to the preservation of Volvos ever since. Before that, I say, I just used them. My most current classic Volvo "project", the ’61 P210 Duett, is the car I have always wanted since first buying a ‘64 544 some 32 years ago. I found this Duett about 4 years ago on a tip from VCOA member David Speiler while attending the Palo Alto Concours with the ES. It was a very complete car in decent shape, but needed a lot of TLC to get it back on the road after 12 years of storage. I have spent many hours TLC’ing it to get it to its present condition … and there is still much more that can be done. It is one car that brings smiles to the faces of those that wonder what the heck it is or are "in the know", and, need I say, to me. Thanks so much Lee, Bill, Cal, Art, and all the others who made this possible. You have created a wonderful Volvo community filled with great people as well as great cars. I am proud to be part of it.

Volvo for Life,

Mike Dudek