Congratulations to our 2017 Volunteer Award recipients!

The Mountaineers has hundreds of amazing volunteers, and each year we recognize about a dozen individuals at our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Thank you for going above and beyond, and for your service!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 29, 2018

The Mountaineers has no shortage of outstanding volunteers. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, we had 2,613 individual volunteers support our programs. That means that over 20% of our total membership - or 1 in 5 members - actively volunteered last year in some capacity!

Every year, a handful of volunteers go above and beyond in support of The Mountaineers programs. Please join us in congratulating our 2017 Volunteer Award recipients!


Cheryl Talbert

A member since 2009, Cheryl Talbert wears many hats at The Mountaineers. She is currently the Foothills Branch Chair, the Chair of the Foothills Hiking & Backpacking Committee, Co-Chair of the Global Adventures Committee, and an active Hike & Backpack Leader. Cheryl is a strong advocate for the volunteers in her branch, and she goes above and beyond to ensure that her volunteers have the resources that they need to lead successful trips. Her energy inspires others to get involved, and Cheryl is an invaluable resource for both the Foothills Branch and The Mountaineers at large. As a participant on a recent trip summed it up, "What can I say, it's Cheryl Talbert. Have enjoyed many trips with her. Always the ultimate professional." Thank you, Cheryl!


Bill Borom

Bill is an example of the best that Mountaineers volunteership can be. He never seeks the limelight but is always there to lend a hand to a leader orcommittee or course administrator, offer advice to students and fellow volunteers, mentor new leaders, and advocate for safety and goodness in treatment of people. And he does this tirelessly across many committees and across branch boundaries, advocating that we present our best face to members regardless of branch. In the 2017 fiscal year alone, Bill supported or led 39 field trips and clinics, 11 lectures and seminars, and 22 stand alone trips. All told, we tallied an outstanding 1,579 participant interactions. And that’s only what’s been “officially” counted! Thank you, Bill! 

The Mountaineers Martinique Grigg Leadership in Youth Education Award

Gala Lindvall

A Mountaineers member for almost 30 years, Gala has spent thousands of hours providing leadership for family programs at The Mountaineers' Kitsap Forest Theater. In 2012, Gala launched Kitsap Forest Adventure Camp, a day camp for kids ages 5-9. Kitsap Forest Adventure Camp uses the magic of an old growth lowland forest to promote nature discovery and imaginary play. An idea inspired by the deeply impactful experiences the kids of Gala's theater volunteers had in these magical woods, Gala wanted to provide this opportunity for more kids. Understanding the need for urban kids to get into the forest, Gala added adventure to the camp by providing supervised ferry transportation from Seattle. Today, entering its seventh year, the camp serves about 60 kids annually, more than half of whom get dropped off at the ferry, cruise across the Puget Sound, and spend the day exploring nature in a temperate rainforest. Thank you for your inspiration and dedication, Gala!


Nathan Reed

Since finishing the Basic Course in 1999, Nathan has been continuously active in the Bellingham Branch, reliably attending Climbing Committee meetings and teaching at many field trips - including almost all Intermediate field trips. He is unfailingly patient with students, making sure that everyone has success and learns the content. Since getting on the leaders list, Nathan has been one of Bellingham's most prolific leaders with a high success rate. Thank you, Nathan! 


Bruce Wolverton

Bruce Wolverton has been a member since 1992. Of all of his various involvement with The Mountaineers - from climbing, to scrambling and backcountry skiing to photography - Bruce is best known for his stewardship work. He has spent countless hours planning, organizing, leading, cajoling participants, and lifting heavy timbers and shutters into place at our fire lookouts, all with a huge smile. Bruce embodies the ideals of volunteerism at The Mountaineers, and is an invaluable resource to the Everett Branch. Thank you, Bruce!

Foothills Branch Service Award

Russ Immel & Jerry White

This year's Foothills Branch Service Award is shared between two co-recipients!

Russ Immel is, simply stated, a volunteer dynamo. In 2017, he instructed for Seattle's Basic Snowshoe and Winter Camping courses, and was responsible for building and launching Foothills' Basic Snowshoe course - which has grown by 150% to 90 students this season! He also led or co-led 13 basic and intermediate snowshoe trips, taught several snowshoe lectures, assisted with the Foothills' New Hike Leader seminars, participated in Avalanche and Snowshoe Summits, helped with the launch of the Foothills Scramble and Navigation committees, and served on the Foothills Branch Council, becoming the branch Vice Chair this November. He is a tireless advocate for students and recruiter and mentor of new leaders. Thank you, Russ!

Jerry White has been a Mountaineers member for 15 years, and he has been the mover and shaker behind the popular Ski and Snowboard Mountaineering course for many, many years. Jerry has also been the chair of the very successful Foothills Winter committee, including our skiing, snowboarding, glacier travel, and AIARE programs, doing this while commuting from Bainbridge Island. Thank you, Jerry!


Ralph Wessels

Ralph Wessels took leadership of the Kitsap Basic Climbing course in 2015 and has guided Kitsap’s climbing program to significant growth and improvement. Beyond training more students than ever before, Ralph has created a system of training and developed the leaders to carry out his plans, creating a sustainable training program with leadership depth and resilience that will sustain it for years to come. In 2016, Ralph took a student who experienced significant uneasiness with exposure and altitude and worked with him to overcome his anxiety, gain the confidence to climb on rock, and complete the course. This is just one of many examples of Ralph’s tireless and selfless work to help Kitsap’s climbers achieve their goals. Thank you, Ralph!


Tom Eckhout

Tom joined  The Mountaineers in 1981, and he has consistently participated, led, taught, and mentored with a true generosity of spirit and infectious enthusiasm. Enthusiasm not only for the outdoors and activities, but also for The Mountaineers philosophy and mission - a true and valuable ambassador for our organization. In addition to all of this, Tom is always highly organized and well prepared. He is articulate and consistently imparts great knowledge and experience with good humor, fostering highly supportive learning experiences in activities, classes, and field trips. Feedback from his activities consistently reflects enthusiasm, support, depth of knowledge, preparedness and organization. For 36 years, Tom has volunteered his time, skills, knowledge, and passion to The Mountaineers. Thank you, Tom!


John Olhson & John Wick

It would be difficult to find a Seattle Program Center project, including the move from downtown, that has not been touched or guided by John Ohlson and/or John Wick. Be it the placement of a defibrillator, the security of climbing cages, or the design of a climbing wall – these two had a hand in the work. Most recently, John and John completed the Friction Slabs project, which will serve thousands of members from our community for many years to come. Their collective patience, persistence, and determination through this project is a monumental accomplishment. Thank you, John and John!


Beth Owen

In 2012, Beth took over as chair of the Tacoma Sea Kayak Committee, a position that she held through the summer of 2017. Under her leadership, Sea Kayaking not only grew in membership, but also further-developed or jump-started several important programs. Beth and the Sea Kayak Committee’s greatest achievement was acting as the catalyst for getting the Intermediate Sea Kayak Course off the ground. This marked the first time in Mountaineers' history that Sea Kayakers had an "in-house" option of developing their skills beyond the basic level. Thank you, Beth!


Chuck Welter

Chuck Welter has been the Meany Lodge chairman for 18 years, and he runs Meany as a self-supported entity. He is the public face of the lodge and demonstrates what it is to be a Mountaineer! Among his many accomplishments at Meany, Chuck organized a five year capital upgrade to the tow system, and he has initiated a plan for upgrading the transportation system. Chuck's work at Meany has also allowed the lodge to grow into a family facility, where children are encouraged to develop independence and a love for the outdoors. Thank you, Chuck!

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