Delta Waterfowl could not exist without the devoted volunteers who support the organization at every level. More than 4,000 men and women across the United States and Canada are dedicated to Delta’s mission of producing ducks and ensuring a strong future for duck hunting.
In June, Delta’s regional directors nominated 16 worthy candidates for the prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award. While all are highly deserving of praise and recognition, the selection committee painstakingly whittled the list to six finalists. They are:
Sullivan County Chapter
When it comes to growing revenues and community commitment, few chapters compare to Sullivan County. In a large part, it’s because of Grable’s leadership as chairman. In just two years, the chapter jumped from an average of $10,000 in net revenue to more than $25,000. Grable instills and supports community involvement, which in turn earns the chapter support from the community. In the past year, the chapter utilized Waterfowl Heritage Fund proceeds to host a mentored youth hunt, host youth hunting and fishing days, create a memorial high school scholarship and support the National Archery in Schools Program.
Four Rivers Chapter
The status of the Four Rivers Chapter’s recognition as last year’s No. 1 new chapter stems in large part from the work and drive of Hellman. Despite some unexpected hardships and hurdles in launching the new chapter, the Four Rivers team benefited from Hellman’s leadership to host a highly successful youth field day and award two high school scholarships at their recent banquet. He is a dedicated waterfowl hunter and supporter of Delta’s programmatic work to produce more ducks and advocate for duck hunters across North America.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Starting as the chairman seven years ago, Monsees has taken the Triangle Chapter from wondering if they could keep going to a thriving chapter. The chapter hosts youth hunts, wood duck box projects, local conservation initiatives, veterans’ hunts and more. He is a constant promoter of Delta and its programs — including organizing more than $50,000 in donations for disaster relief for those devastated by storms in North Carolina the past two years.
1000 Islands Chapter
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Power has led the 1000 Islands Chapter to become hosts of one of the premier Delta events in Ontario. Last year, he and his committee sold out their 250 tickets in less than 24 hours. With a growing waiting list for the next event, Power and his team set the goal to expand to a 500-seat venue very soon. Under his leadership, the chapter has executed pond and park cleanups and youth hunting days. For each success and milestone, Power is eager to give credit to his chapter volunteers.
Baton Rouge Area Chapter
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
For 12 years, Walker has been at the helm of the Baton Rouge Chapter. Besides growing the banquet steadily during his long tenure, he engaged a title sponsor last year who allowed the event to move to a better venue and attract more attendees — new supporters of Delta Waterfowl. Walker serves on the State Committee as state policy chairman, by which he was instrumental in helping gain $1 million funding from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Iron Range Flyers Chapter
For Wolney and his dedicated team, growing the chapter and expanding its impact are an uphill struggle. Minnesota’s Iron Range continues to face a tough economy, doesn’t offer the best waterfowl production and hunting, and is losing hunters faster than elsewhere. Yet growing is exactly what this chapter is doing, largely because of Wolney’s drive and commitment. His priority is the First Hunt Program, and he recognizes the importance of showcasing youth involvement to the community at large.
“While all of our volunteers deserve recognition, these finalists represent the best of the best,” said Dr. Scott Petrie, CEO of Delta Waterfowl. “The grassroots passion and commitment for ducks and duck hunters each of them exemplifies is truly contagious. It’s what drives The Duck Hunters Organization forward to ever greater success.”
The winner of this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award will receive Delta Waterfowl’s 2018 Gun of the Year — a Weatherby Orion 12-gauge over/under shotgun — plus a $500 gift card for Banded and Avery waterfowling gear.
Watch for the announcement of the winner in August on Delta Waterfowl’s social media outlets and in the Fall issue of Delta Waterfowl Magazine.