Was able to get someone on another board to tell me how to do it....so fyi if anyone is interested:
turn the key to 'ACC' and turn the radio on. now, turn the key off.
step 2 on the radio, press and hold 'MUTE' and while continuing to hold down 'MUTE', turn the key to 'ACC'. you should now see a horizontal line on the head unit lcd display start to flash. you can now let go of 'MUTE'.
step 3 within 15 seconds, press and hold 'PRESET 1' and turn the key off. you should now see a flashing cursor with the letter 'A' displayed.
step 4 now use the 'PRESET 3' and 'PRESET 4' buttons to change to the letters/characters you want to use. when you find the letter/character that you would like to use, press 'PRESET 6' and the cursor will move over to the next position. if you need to delete a character, press 'PRESET 5'. once you have complete your message, press and hold 'PRESET 6' for five seconds to confirm your selection.
*note* there is a 16 character maximum for the welcome message for the 2st gen hu.