Volunteer Spotlight – The Dexters to the Rescue

Judy Alexander, August 8, 2007

Volunteerism is a very personal thing. Some people love to jump in with both feet and fill every spare moment; others prefer to dip their toes in and test the water gradually with smaller jobs of a more finite nature. Both types of volunteer spirit are necessary and appreciated by race directors and club officials alike! People who know this month’s featured dynamic duo, Joe and Nadine Dexter, will tell neophyte volunteers not to be intimidated by what they’re about to read. It should take a small army to do all that this couple does and there is no job, big or small, they won’t do.

JA: How long have you been a member of GWTC & what positions have you held in the club, including races directed/co-directed?

JD: I have been a GWTC member since 1984 (I believe). I have been Race Director Coordinator, Equipment Manager, Elected Board Member (Directors at Large), and President 1993-94. I have directed the following: Humanatee 5K, Palace Saloon 5K, Beat the Clock 5K, Black Bear 5K, Spirit of Gymnastics 5K, TLH Marathon/1/2 Marathon, Panther Prowl 5K, The Big Chill 5K, Springtime Tallahassee 10K, Flash 12K, Railroad 5K, Wakulla Library 5K & 1 Mile, FSU Cares 5K, St. Marks Trail Biathlon, Temple Israel 5K, St. Marks Trail 5K, FSU VS UF 5K, Miccosukee Greenway Biathlon, Rails to Trails 5K & 1 Mile and several others, whose titles escape my memory.

ND: I joined in 1994 after I ran the Echo 5k in Killearn. I was thrilled! I have been a board member for 3 years. I was the race director for Temple Israel 5k in 1999, 2000 and have been directing the FSUCares 5k since 2000. I have been teaching a running class since the Fall of 2000 when I pulled together a training group for the FSUCares 5k. Joe and I co-created the Bootcamp running classes (2006) in the spring to mirror the beginning running class in the fall. I have been a water stop, traffic control and finish line volunteer for many races through the years. Plus, we have all the GWTC equipment living in our garage and at times I have filled in for the official equipment manager, JOE, when he was not here. I have been helping Joe since 1999 with the equipment. This usually means talking to race directors before the race, helping them with all the particulars of the race, like the flyer, advertising, awards, food, finish line crew, volunteers, registration, and of course designing the 5k course. We load up the GWTC trailer and haul the equipment out to the race, run the race or help out, then load it back up and return it to our garage to be re shelved. 

JA: What is the most memorable volunteer job you’ve done for the club?
JD: Volunteering to be the Equipment Manager, through which I met my wife, Nadine. 
ND: Training new runners in my beginning running class.

JA: What drives you to want to take on such time-consuming activities?
JD: I have the “TYPE A” personality and an overwhelming drive to accomplish things and try to make others happy.
ND: I want to share with others what I have found – an ability to make something of myself with my own determination. With some encouragement and good coaching I was able to run any distance race despite how fast or slow I may be. But more than the physical feat is the internal feeling of accomplishment that I was doing something right for myself which spilled over into my personal and professional life.

JA: What are some of the most important things to keep in mind when volunteering? 
JD: You may or may not get the thanks you want or deserve, so you need to accept that. Very few people will realize the amount of time and/or effort you put into the volunteer work, so do it for yourself, not just for them.
ND: Make sure the person in charge of the event you are volunteering for knows how much time you have to commit and what your job preferences are. That way, both of you will get the most of your volunteer experience.

JA: What would you tell someone else to encourage him/her to volunteer? 
JD: The satisfaction that you helped things to go smoothly, helped out others (race directors in particular) and helped runners to have a pleasant experience is a strong and positive reward. Volunteering allows you to see running from a very different perspective. 
ND: That you get that good feeling of giving back to the running community.