Volunteer of the Year for 2011Tom Perkins, January 2012
Volunteers are the backbone of any successful event. Without them, there would be a group of people milling about the area with no sense of order. As a race director, I would be a chef serving wind soup with air sauce. I would be nothing without race volunteers. The reason we are here tonight is to celebrate the Grand Prix winners, but without volunteers we would not be here, either. What makes this volunteer so special to be named Volunteer of the Year? What attributes can we ascribe to this recipient?
This volunteer repeatedly seeks me out and asks when and where. On race day, our volunteer will be on time, if not early. Runners need not worry whether to go left instead of right at an intersection, and that cars won’t run them over. When assigned a job, I have no doubt that this individual will get it done.
This individual is one of the friendliest people you know. The energy that he inspires is legendary. Words of encouragement propel you through the toughest of times on any course. A master of whit and innuendo keeps you entertained in your travails.
Who asks for the toughest and nastiest job and revels in it? Why would anybody in their right mind smile when told it’s going to rain and be a nasty day on race day? “The tougher the better” is this person’s motto.
Knowledge of all of the inner workings of a race is not required to be a volunteer. You can learn on the job, like many have. A race director who volunteers at someone else’s race is a real plus. Most runners show up to run and then leave, never realizing the time and effort it takes to organize an event. When not racing or injured, this volunteer shows up over and over to lend a hand. And for years, he has supported Gulf Winds races in many, many capacities.
He shows up and does all of these things without fanfare. In addition, if you ever need a training partner at any distance, I can think of no one greater. Running with entertainment— it doesn’t get any better than that!
Please help me in showing our appreciation to our 2011 Volunteer of the Year, Dana Stetson.