There are posts you never want to make. This is one of those. In fact it’s probably the hardest post I’ve ever had to make.
Yesterday, I learned that Scott “Madmac41” McAllister passed away. He was a long-time member of the Joe Community, a long-time member of JBL’s staff, and, most importantly, he was one of my oldest friends. In many ways, the word “friend” doesn’t really cut it– he was like a brother to me.
The G.I. Joe community was a different place when I first met Scott just shy of 20 years ago. Back then, the online Joe world was limited to a select few websites and their online forums. Each of those sites became its own community and they were as unique as the individuals that comprised them. It was at a local meet-up of the now-defunct “Chicago Coil” that I first encountered one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Sitting in Sam Damon’s living room I found myself face-to-face with this older bearded biker with a pronounced Kentucky drawl. I was the admin of JBL and he was a staunch advocate of a different online community. I still remember him looking me in the eye with a lot of skepticism and saying “Who the Hell are you?”
Apparently he liked my answer because at the end of the day I left Chicago with a good friend. Scott was many things: a biker, a combat veteran, a father, a customizer, a brand advocate, an Outback fanatic, a proud grandfather, a patriot, and a fiercely loyal friend.
We road tripped together to Joe Con 2007 in Atlanta and the drive there and back are some of my favorite memories in the hobby. In 2009, at a time of financial hardship, he paid for me to be his “aid” at Joe Con simply because he felt “I needed to be there.” At the 2013 Joe Con in Indy he sat with my fiancé for 2.5 hours while I braved the registration line in Indy and I knew I couldn’t have left her in better or safer hands. During a period of unemployment in late 2013, he would call and check in on me daily– just to shoot the breeze but also to check in and offer encouragement during a frustrating late-year job search.
I can still remember him telling me that he called Hasbro corporate and asked for the current brand manager by name. (He got through too as he was a persistent individual.) His reason? He wanted to let him know just how important it was to include Outback in the current line. After that call, he just rang the brand manager’s direct line whenever he had an observation on how to improve the line. If he was passionate about something then the whole world would hear about it straight from the horse’s mouth.
One time he sent me a package with a Harley-Davidson switchblade inside. When I asked him about it he laughed. “If you’re going to hang out with me, you’re going to need a better knife.” To this day that knife is what I use to open every single G.I. Joe purchase I make.
We were different people with different backgrounds. I was the academic kid from Central IL. He was the rough-and-tumble vet from Louisville. Yet he was one of the best friends I’ve made in this hobby and one of the few people who never truly drifted out of my life. That’s the kind of man he was– if he really liked you, you weren’t going to get rid of him without a fight!
I won’t lie– I’m going to miss him. It doesn’t seem possible that I can’t just pick up the phone and hear his voice on the other end of the line. I’d need to use scientific notation to calculate all of the hours that we’d spent on the phone talking about life, G.I. Joe, Marauder, customs, westerns, war movies, or answering his questions of “When the Hell are you going to get married?!!” I don’t really have the words to convey just how much his friendship meant to me over the past 20 years. I could go on for hours about the impact he made on my life.
Rest easy, brother. You really were one of the best friends a guy could have. I’ll never forget you.