I thought I'd posted this before, but it looks like I hadn't. Anyone who has been on this (or other) forums, knows how generous pipe folk can be. Here's another story to add to the list:
About a month and half ago, I was contacted by a very nice gentleman (who shall remain nameless). He'd found out about the Cleveland Pipe Club and contacted me. At first, I thought we'd end up with another member, but as it turns out he lives locally, spend decades in the hobby, and had recently given it up.
He wanted to meet up before a meeting and donate his tobacco collection to the club. Both before meeting us, and when we all arrived, he flatly refused any sort of compensation or consideration. He simply wanted to donate it all to a good home for the good of the hobby because (his words) "that's what this is all about."
He came with two large boxes filled with quality tobacco. By "filled," I mean 30-35 large mason jars and a handful of tins, mostly burleys and virginias, and most at least five years old. Peretti, GLP, SG, all represented (and others). Again, we tried to offer something in return, but after another refusal, we accepted the kind offer - it's a fine thing to give freely, but also important to accept a gift with the same graciousness with which it was offered.
This man didn't know any of us from Adam. We'd never met, never communicated online before, and (as far as I know) know nobody in common (save the obvious fact that we've met/know some pipe-related folks...carvers/blenders/collectors, etc). Understand, we'd have all been grateful if he'd shown up with five pounds of dried out Borkum Riff - the gesture alone would have been remarkable. But to simply give away the quality and quantity that he did out of a sense of community and brotherhood really speaks to what our hobby is and who we, collectively, are.
Some of the tobacco has stayed with the club for meetings and some has been forwarded on to other pipe smokers we know who don't have the means to buy quality tobacco at the moment. Of the tobacco that was divided among the members for personal use, most went to the newer guys so they can experiment and get to know new leaf.
If the giver ever stumbles on this thread, please know that we're all very grateful. We have several members who have been in the hobby less than a year or two...so thanks not only for the tobacco, but for demonstrating to the new guys what our community is all about. It's an example we all should follow.