JKOwners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have been wrestling with what has gone on our family. Yeah I typed it - we are family.

But why are we famliy? We are family because one man said he wanted to find people in his community who shared his interest. One man wanted to form a club and share good times together. Our friend Jake is that man. He made us a family. He was the guy who stepped up and said "let's see who is out there."

Myself? I am just a planner. Guys like me never get anything done. I have a good idea every now and then, but I was not born w/ that spark Jake Bratten has. I dont have that ability to have a grand idea and make it a reality. We all have great ideas -damn near everyday - but only a few of us have the fortitude to make our ideas a reality. Jake has that ability.

I have been drifting these past few days. I am doing everything I can to fill up the empty spaces in my life - but those empty spaces are painful. I have been keeping everyone I can think of abreast of what is going on. This helps me deal with the cruelty of this world and the injustice it has visited upon my dear friend.

But tonite, I came to a reckoning. I realized that every single one of us - if you are reading this, that includes you - are here for a purpose. And that thought is giving me more and more comfort as the hours tick by.

When Jake started up this club, it was in the middle of his street. Did you know that? I had just come home from Jeep Beach 2 years ago (2008). I had literally been home about 30 minutes and was heading to my mom's house for Sunday dinner when the guy who lived down the street stopped me as he was backing out of his driveway with his wife, daughter, and son in the Jeep with him.

He flagged me down and said "Hey man. My buddy Dan says he talks to you on a Jeep forum."

I instantly knew who he was talking about - Dan - a damn good person and Jake's good friend from his police force.

I told my new friend (yeah I didnt know that yet), "Oh yeah! You're that cop guy's friend! Yeah he told me about you. He said you wanted to start a Jeep club!"

Now, I had the wonderful idea for over a year at that point to start a jeep club, but I didnt know how to go about it. But this guy, this new freaky cop living down the street from me, he had an exact plan of how that would work.

Jake introduced himself to me and introduced all of his family - "This is my wife Amy, my daughter Reagan, and my son James."

I told him I had just gotten back from Jeep Beach (there was literally still Daytona sand in my floorboards) and told him all about it. I told him that next year he had to go and that, "Yes", I was "very interested in getting a Jeep club going!", when he proposed the idea to me.

I gave him my email address and really didnt expect anything to come of it.

Man did I ever underestimate this fella.

Within 48 hours I had an email and it was a link to a VERY rudimentary forum called "jacked-up-jeepclub.com."

"Jacked Up Jeep Club dot com?", I told my wife? "Are you kidding me? What a fucked up name! We'll see. And a cop? Man I dunno." I am a deadhead afterall.

Within a matter of weeks, that page had become a legitimate forum, but with relatively no posts. How could this pipe dream work?

(cont'd)...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Well, this crazy cop, was persistent. Now I am a paranoid deadhead at my heart. So when this crazy cat calls me and says "Hey man, I wanna come by and talk about some ideas about our club!", I was pretty freaked.

First of all - "our club?" It was his club!

Secondly, I didnt want some freaking cop at my house. But he came anyways. He pulled into my driveway, got out of his bone stock Jeep, and said "Hey man..." The rest was a blur. Within 5 minutes I forgot he had a gun strapped to his hip, a badge on his belt, and was a cop. He was just a (what I was figuring out at that exact moment) good guy. He was wanting to get together, share our love of our strange vehicles, and generally have a good time.

I figured this out - first meeting. I went from being confused and paranoid to instantly knowing that this guy was one of the good ones. You cannot imagine the hell a deadhead like myself got for becoming a "redneck" hanging out with "cops." But I took that in stride - they didnt know my new friend Jake. Jake Bratten.

This fella, Jake, he kept sending me emails. Every one of them was a new idea or a new version of his forum. He understood the importance of having a web based community and knew that I was enough of a forum freak to give him good feedback. I watched him develop a forum out of nothing.

All we were missing was the people. We were a club of 2 jeeps!

Jake eventually decided we need a meet n greet. Here is where he and I differ. While I would have also suggested we do it - I would not have initiated it and said "We will do it on this date."

Jake lacked that weakness.

He took the initiative - a simple thing for him that was a monumental thing for me - and ran with it. He contacted Dan - who I had first me on another forum and had Dan notify his friend Mikey - who also owned a Jeep. He also told his friends down in Avon Park and had 1 of them show up with her Jeep. And this other guy showed up who actually found us on the web - Nootch aka Justin. This motley crew met at Hurricanes - chosen for its proximity - for the first time in the summer of 2008.

Jake did that. I didnt. No one else did. He stepped out into the void and said, "Screw it. This is what I want and I'm gonna make it happen."

From there, the seed was planted and it grew. The forum grew. The club grew. We discovered, despite our early wishes/desires, that what was going to set us apart from every other club in florida was that fact that our club would not need officers. It would not need politics. We would not need money! We would jus meet, wheel, and have fun.

Eventually, we (and I say we as in - all of us - on the forum and off) knew we could move it up the next step. AS we grew we knew we had the potential to help someone or make some positive impact on our society. This all, of course, sprang from Jake. He wanted to do some charity and we ran with it. We wanted to because he wanted us to run with it.

Folks, I consider myself an alpha male. I consider myself a man that, for whatever reason, people follow or listen to. I never, ever want that role, but it seems to be thrust upon me. But my friend Jake, he was a true alpha male. He organized, planned, cajoled, and worked things into happening. I have deferred to him from day one - gladly. I have enjoyed folllowing his lead and seeking his approval for my actions and suggestions.

(cont'd)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
So when Jake wanted a charity, we decided to take our time. We wanted the perfect charity. And when Dean came to us and told us about his neice, we knew we had found it.

I watched with amazement as a rag tag club of what had otherwise been a bunch of strangers, coalesced into a team of human beings who had one goal: to represent ourselves well in our endeavor to help another human being on her path through life. What we did with the Lacey Poker Run became one of the proudest things I have ever done with my life. How about yours?

And here is the thing. Here is what I figured out from all that.

Jake brought us together, unknown to him or us - for a reason. We are supposed to help Lacey. Were supposed to make the world a better place. But that wasn't the end of it.

I have been asking myself, as I am sure you have Jake (as you read this), "WHY? Why has this happened?" But it is a bigger question than that. It is a bigger answer.

Why did you get in an accident? Why did you get hurt? Brother we cant answer that. Accidents simply happen is the best thing I can say. It's not fair - but it it surely is the world we live in.

But I can answer this question: Why am I here typing this? The answer is: you would need me one day. I am here for you Jake. We all are.

The universe, god?, whatever you want to call it - it knew you would face this struggle. It Knew you would need a huge support system. So it made you the strong human being you are. It made you gather people to you to help someone else - unselfishly - so that we would be here later when you got dealt this hand.

That's why we are all here Jake. You made friends out of strangers. You helped unite a community and make the world a better place. You helped ease a sick little girl's family. You didnt do it for any reward other than following your conscience. The universe knows that and so do we.

I know my place in this universe Jake and you helped me realize it. You helped me realize why I am here and what my purpose is. I cannot thank you enough for that. I count you as one of the very best friends a man could have in his life and want you to know that I will always be there for you. Feel some pride - you earned it my friend.

Now let's get better. I miss you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
694 Posts
Karn, YOU have life figured out waaaay more than a lot of us. You my friend... (my family) are good peeps! I'm glad I know you. Life has its ups and downs... we learn lessons at the oddest of times. Things happen, and things evolve... things change... and always will. Much respect!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you brother. I have an inner peace right now that I have not had in a long time. Jake gave it to me. I am going to share it with him and we are going to be just fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
735 Posts
Just read this in some down time at work, took a while but it was worth it! Very inspiring words Karn!

Jake, when you read this..Stay strong buddy, you'll be fine!! We are all here for you anytime you need anything!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
What a long strange trip it's been, brother...


And why in the hell do you live 3,000 miles away??? Damn it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,765 Posts
Wow Dave, wow. I don't really know Jake that well, except for what I've seen him write on here, but now I've got a much better picture of him and would be HONORED to meet him face to face some day! Wishes for a speedy recovery Jake and if there's anything this Trooper can do for you don't at all hesitate to ask! Hang in there brother!! Dave- wow again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,839 Posts
very well put together. you guys made some thing great happen.

life is kind of like a train track it has its ups and its down it has the turns and things like that. it is always sunny on this track as it is gods plan for us.there are also tressels which are moments of greatness which it seems you have had many.some time we enter tunnels filled with terrible trajic things happen while youre in this tunnel and as the light is coming that is where your decisons are made you are either gonna do this or your gonna do that. right now yall are just in a long dark tunnel but everything will be ok because yall have already made your decision your gonna make it through.it may not be now but it will be soon.


:beer::beer::beer:stay strong brothers:beer::beer::beer:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,117 Posts
Karn, well said. You and Jake get "it", and what, "it", is all about.
Cheers and prayers for the two of you whenever you need them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,462 Posts
I've never met Jake and I haven't been on here long enough to know him very well. But from what i've been reading lately, he seems to be one helluva man.

One day perhaps i'll meet him (and some of you guys as well). Till that day comes :beer: cheers.

Karn, nice write up. Lots of emotion and honesty in it. I wish I had friends like you.:beer:

Jake, you're still in my thoughts and prayers! Get well soon bro!!!

~Ray
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,248 Posts
Keep fighting it, man. I want to meet you soon.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top