Vote for Delta Waterfowl’s Top Volunteer!
Sponsored by Lowe Boats
Delta Waterfowl’s mission to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowling is fueled by passionate, dedicated volunteers. They organize fund-raising banquets, manage local conservation projects, host First Hunt events for new waterfowlers and provide Delta with resources to meet critical program objectives.
In annually naming a Volunteer of the Year, The Duck Hunters Organization celebrates the thousands of selfless, devoted individuals across the United States and Canada who make Delta’s work possible.
Thanks to Lowe Boats, sponsor of Delta’s 2017 VOY Award, the winner will receive a Roughneck 1756 — a 16-foot, 10-inch, camouflaged, all-welded, all-aluminum johnboat — complete with a trailer.
Below are seven finalists worthy of your consideration. Be sure to cast your ballot before voting ends on July 31!
As chairman of Delta Waterfowl’s Louisiana State Committee and Vermilion Chapter, Brandon Broussard is leading the charge in his region. His efforts to introduce kids to duck hunting are extensive, and in 2016 included a youth duck calling contest, junior skeet shooting event, youth duck hunt and a waterfowl essay contest that awarded four scholarships. Further, Broussard coordinated the installation of 18 Hen Houses for mottled ducks, helped secure a Delta Waterfowl license plate for his state and diligently reduced his chapter’s expenses by nearly 50 percent.
Port Rowan, Ontario
The Norfolk Chapter generates more funds for waterfowl conservation than any chapter in Canada, thanks largely to the passion of vice chairman Brody Thompson. His well-organized, downright fun banquet typically sells out within hours. Thompson also serves as an unofficial caretaker of the new Delta Waterfowl Hunting Heritage & Conservation Centre, and volunteered two weeks of his time there last summer helping run Youth Hunting & Conservation Courses for aspiring hunters. In addition, Thompson has led his chapter’s efforts to hold youth hunts and expand Delta’s Hen House program in Ontario.
When Mid-Shore Chapter chairman Paul Henry learned of a friend’s wish to renovate a building on a large island in a prime waterfowl area, he had a charitable idea: Construct the perfect lodge to host Delta First Hunt events. Transporting materials by boat, Henry’s committee built a lodge that sleeps 15 people, a trap range and eight duck blinds. The island’s first youth hunt was held in February. Henry has also led efforts to host duck hunts for veterans and first responders, and his committee had a chapter record fundraising year in 2016.
Wisconsin River Valley Chapter
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Despite only recently graduating college, Wisconsin River Valley Chapter chairman Taylor Hennlich has become a strong advocate for ducks and duck hunters in his region. Notably, while serving on his county’s Conservation Congress, he wrote a resolution that helped move the state’s duck opener from 9 a.m. to 30 minutes before sunrise. Hennlich also organizes First Hunt events and youth hunts, installs numerous Hen Houses and wood duck boxes, and has greatly improved his chapter’s fundraising. He relocated last year to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where he has already founded a new Delta chapter.
Fowled Up Chapter
Pierre, South Dakota
The Fowled Up Chapter’s banquet is consistently one of the most highly attended and charitable events in South Dakota. Why? Chairman Willie Gloe’s enthusiasm for all things ducks resonates within his community. Last year, he personally sold more than 100 tickets. Under Gloe’s leadership, the chapter has used banquet funds to hold mentored duck hunts, install Hen Houses, sponsor high school shooting teams, provide student scholarships and participate in the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Youth Expo. Gloe also works tirelessly to recruit new volunteers and network with other regional chapters.
Alcorn County Chapter
It takes time and dedication to build a successful chapter, but in just two years, chairman Franz Schnabl has guided the Alcorn County Chapter to incredible heights. More than 350 people attended the banquet, raising more dollars for ducks than any chapter in the region. Schnabl raised additional funds by securing 20 chapter sponsors, enabling the chapter to host a dove hunt for wounded veterans and offer a college scholarship. Most recently, Schnabl is working with John Devney, Delta vice president of U.S. policy, to address challenges faced by Mississippi duck hunters.
Kaskaskia River Valley Chapter
As treasurer and former secretary of the Kaskaskia River Valley Chapter, Gretchen Steele is a strong face of Delta Waterfowl in southern Illinois. As a professional outdoor writer/photographer, she’s communicated the Delta message both in print and through her dedicated actions. Steele founded chapter-sponsored hunts for youth, female and disabled hunters. She devised the chapter’s “Lending Closet” program to provide gear to new waterfowlers, and she donates books on waterfowl conservation for a local library’s reading sessions. Such outreach has played a key role in the chapter’s 30 percent increase in fundraising.