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Thanks for Your Volunteer Heroism Mar 2014

THNMAR2014 coverThanks for coming here’s a Jacket

It’s Rendezvous time and soon many of us will be heading to Ellensburg and a few will be receiving awards for their efforts during a very nice dinner while surrounded by friends.  And yet none of them defied the mud, the rain, and the work just to receive a tchotchke for their efforts. So why do we make such an event out of these awards? It’s to inspire the rest of us.  Saws, loppers, and certificates may not be important to all BCHW members, but keeping the trails open is. What we say in acknowledging these peoples achievements can have a powerful impact—on them and on other members present.

Done right recognizing our members helps BCHW reinforce the behaviors that we want to encourage and keep more areas open to stock use.

We can do better.

BCHW members are often in the news for helping to maintain trail access. Let’s make a habit of recognizing our members not just in April but throughout the year. It doesn’t have to be with awards; a hearty “Thank You”, a helping hand on the project, or even better by telling others about the work.

I was browsing the Washington DNR website and saw that they recently recognized one of our own for their annual Hero Award. BCHW member Ed Haefliger of the Oakland Bay Chapter was the recipient of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ 2013 Volunteer Hero Award for his efforts with the Great Gravel Pack In. In the award text DNR Commissioner Peter Goldmark was quoted saying “We at DNR are eternally grateful to Ed for his many years of service.” That’s a pretty powerful statement and much more meaningful than the jacket that also came with the award.  On a larger scale last year Ed was also recognized by the President Obama and the National Park Service for his over 4,000 hours of volunteer time in the Olympic National Park with the prestigious President’s Call to Service Award. I bet that’s real snazzy jacket.

The DNR Volunteer Hero for 2012 was another BCHW member, Ron Downing of the Tahoma Chapter. Commissioner Goldmark said this during the ceremony “Ron Downing is a dedicated volunteer who inspires the best in all of us.” Again I think it’s fair to say that Ron valued the remark much more than the jacket.

BCHW member Tom Faubion of the Peirce County chapter has also been recognized by the DNR for the thousands of hours of trail work that his crew puts in each year. I can only imagine that Tom got a jacket as well.

Here we have several years’ worth of national and state awards that have been presented to BCHW members by our state and federal elected officials that we haven’t heard nearly enough about. To steal a quote from my dry cleaners “If we please you tell others, if not tell us”.  The next time we see someone working to keep a trail open or doing something that reflects well on BCHW and our mission not only should we thank them for their service we should also be telling our BCHW leaders about the good deeds that are being done, so that they in turn can tell, and inspire, the rest of us. If we can do that and help to spread the word about BCHW’s efforts we’ll have done something that means so much more than getting another jacket to hang in the closet.