I met this week's subject for lunch and I'm sure there were only a few seconds we weren't laughing. This man is a hoot, an absolute riot. If you're familiar with Dave, you'll probably agree. As for how far we go back, let's just say it's been a "Long" time. Technically, I met his wife, Gloria previous to being introduced to Dave. I subbed for a card club Gloria was in (oh, my, a story in itself as it must be one of the longest standing ones around, being over 40 years old) many times before I, too, became a member. It was along the way somewhere around 35 years ago or so that I became acquainted with Dave Long. Eventually, I've met the rest of the family and every one of 'em is a riot, just like Dad.

Dave however is not all play and party. On the contrary, he is an amazing worker and his lengthy and impressive resume shows what he's all about, that being helping his community. Kiwanis; Elks; Legion; Montgomery County Easter Seal Society; PTO; Leadership Academy; League of Women Voters; Jaycees and Alcoholic Beverage Board are his main memberships although there are more. In fact, the Alcoholic Beverage Board prompted his current business, Training Solutions of Central Indiana (he instructs people to serve and sell alcohol). Dave has served as president of all of these organizations. Besides those, he served in the Indiana National Guard for 40 years and worked full-time for 37 of those, plus as the Chamber of Commerce Executive VP for eight more. His awards are numerous, Commendation Medals; Distinguished Service; Meritorious Service; Indiana "Long" Service (for National Guard but we laughed at the name); Achievement Medals; Outstanding Jaycee; Citizen of the Year (Chamber of Commerce); Army Commendation Medal. Well, the list goes on but the most impressive (to me) is the coveted Sagamore of the Wabash, so well-deserved.

Dave is especially proud of Operation Concerned, a project which became state-wide. Our local group collected over $500,000 in five years. Operation Toy Box began when the Toys for Tots head man skipped town and left Mayor Michal with a bunch of toys. Mayor Michal opted to let the Guards have them to give away. Dave joked, "It's like taxes, never goes away," since Dave just finished his 20th year with the program. Longs are a tight-knit bunch so that added to getting involved.

Tight-knit, indeed; here's the perfect example. Dave began playing softball (he plays volleyball, too) in 1958. He's the oldest currently playing. Gloria plays (but much prefers coaching or subbing at this point). Gloria and Dave have two children, Chris Long (married to Mike Hutchison) with children Royce and Sierra. Chris is a resident manager of Houston's Group Home. Son David Long is a Sergeant for the city police (a detective). He and wife, Lisa, have two daughters, Macie and Marie.

Dave met Gloria through friends. What drew him to her was that Gloria was so cute and fun. She was dating someone at the time, so he would go out to the Country Diner where she worked and leave her big tips (50 cents). Must have worked as even after she wrecked his gorgeous car they were still married on Jan. 29, 1966 while he was on leave from basic training.

Dave doesn't really have a bucket list, but did say there is something he'd like to do and that is take a cruise through the Panama Canal. Thanks, Dave you silly boy, for being this week's ATC subject!