Congratulations to our 2018 Volunteer Award Recipients!

The Mountaineers has thousands of amazing volunteers, and each year we recognize about a dozen of those individuals at our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Thank you for going above and beyond, and for your service!
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Education Manager
January 29, 2019

Volunteers are at the core of our Mountaineers community. During the 2017-18 fiscal year alone, we had an outstanding 2,865 volunteers support our programs. This could be as a trip leader, committee member, instructor, lodge host, event volunteer, or even as stewardship activity participant!

Every year, a handful of volunteers go above and beyond in support of The Mountaineers programs. Please join us in congratulating our 2019 Volunteer Award recipients!

THE MOUNTAINEERS SERVICE AWARD

Jim French

Jim French has taken on many leadership roles in the Olympia Branch, but none more tirelessly than chairing the Conservation and Stewardship Committee. Under his inspiring leadership, the committee’s ranks have grown with new leaders stepping up every year to offer a wide array of stewardship trips – from trail work, to habitat restoration, to wildlife enhancement. Jim stays connected to countless agencies and organizations in the region, always with an eye for what The Mountaineers can learn and contribute. He works tirelessly to advocate for issues which affect the environment and keeps our members informed so we can become involved. Jim’s passion and dedication to stewarding our outdoor places, including his work to encourage future conservationists through our Youth Programs, is an incredible resource for The Mountaineers and an inspiring example for others. We’re proud to honor Jim French as this year’s Mountaineers Service Award recipient. Thank you, Jim!

THE MOUNTAINEERS LEADER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Susan Shih

In the 2018 fiscal year alone, Sue Shih led or co-led 5 field trips and an outstanding 53 standalone trips. That includes 12 climbs, 12 day hikes, and 29 scrambles! All told, we tallied an outstanding 284 interactions with 100 unique participants. And that’s only what’s been “officially” counted! In Sue’s feedback from this past year, one participant wrote: “Sue's laid-back, yet conservative, approach to the risk assessment of the climbing conditions and the evaluation of the climbing team was very re-assuring. They are qualities I aspire to.” A member of The Mountaineers since 1997, Sue is an active member of Seattle’s Climbing Committee, Alpine Scrambling Committee, and Hiking Committee. Thank you, Sue!

THE MARTINIQUE GRIGG LEADERSHIP IN YOUTH EDUCATION AWARD

Kevin DeFields

It is hard to quantify how crucial Kevin DeFields has been to the success of Tacoma MAC. In what must be one of the more impressive streaks in The Mountaineers, Kevin has instructed at every single Tacoma MAC meeting and trip since our launch in March of 2016. That’s 28 meetings, 35 trips, and a conservative estimate of over 750 hours of volunteering. As a competent all-around outdoorsman and climb leader, the group has been able to lean on Kevin regardless of the type of trip. He gives high-quality instruction and guidance to the students, always with plenty of patience and humor. And even now that his own kids have aged out of MAC, he continues to faithfully serve the program.

BELLINGHAM BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Andrew Hollon

 Andrew Hollon has helped at all of the Bellingham Basic and Intermediate Climbing Course field trips, often more than once. He has been an important part of maintaining the Basic curriculum and creating the Intermediate Course content, but despite all of that, his favorite volunteer activity is to lead climbs.  Since becoming a leader in 2010, Andrew has led just shy of 39 Basic and Intermediate climbs.   While students may find his serious demeanor intimidating when it comes to skill demonstration, on climbs, they learn that he just loves to get out and climb, have fun, and give summit high fives.Thank you, Andrew!

LARRY INGALLS DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD (EVERETT BRANCH)

Louis Coglas

Louie Coglas has been a member of The Mountaineers since 1987. He has been on the Everett Climbing Committee for decades, and he has served as an instructor and leader in both the Everett Basic and Intermediate Climbing Courses. Louie loves to teach and to lead.  His enthusiasm for mountaineering inspires others, especially new members who will be the Mountaineers of the future. Louie is also the chair of the Everett Lookout and Trail Maintenance Committee, and in 2016, he was the Project Manager for the restoration of the Mount Pilchuck Lookout - which included installing a new roof, replacing the decking, and painting the interior and the exterior. Thank you, Louie!

FOOTHILLS BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Chris Soverel

Chris Soverel has been active in the club since early 2016, bringing her prodigious energy and positive spirit to many different activities. Chris became the Foothills Branch treasurer in mid-2016, and she has done an incredible amount of work to tighten up the Foothills Branch planning and budgeting processes. Chris has earned a high-level of credibility and respect at both the branch and the Finance Committee through her immense capabilities, her practical but disciplined approach, her great way of connecting with people, and her tireless commitment – much of which remains invisible because stuff gets done right!  Beyond all of this, Chris also joined The Mountaineers Advisory Council last year. Thank you, Chris!

KITSAP BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson is Kitsap’s most active volunteer, averaging 20 instructor days and more than 10 days leading activities over the last 3 years. Steve co-leads Kitsap's Intermediate Climbing course, and he is a prolific instructor for both Kitsap’s Intermediate and Basic Climbing courses. He is also active with the Seattle and Everett Climbing Committees, bringing new expertise to Kitsap's programs. In addition to all of this, Steve took the lead to design and install the anchor system for Kitsap’s new program center. Thank you, Steve!

OLYMPIA BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Dixie Havlak

Throughout her 35-year membership, Dixie Havlak has participated, led, and taught with true spirit and enthusiasm. She participates and/or leads trips in Backpacking, Hiking, Global Adventures, Alpine Scrambling, Sea Kayaking, Snowshoeing, Stewardship, Urban Adventures, and Youth Activities. Dixie has also been the vision, drive, and creative force behind Olympia's growing Youth Programs, recruiting a supporting cast of volunteers as well as funding to make it all work. Thank you, Dixie!

SEATTLE BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Takeo Kuraishi

Takeo Kuraishi has been a Mountaineer since 1999. He’s been Seattle's steadfast and even tempered Safety Officer for the past two years, and he brought an engineer’s training and climb leader’s disposition to the tasks. More recently, Takeo stepped up as Seattle's newest Climbing Committee chair - the most complex and demanding activity committee in the Seattle branch. Takeo's service to the Seattle Climbing Committee is long and deep. Beyond being an excellent climber, Takeo is direct, honest, respectful, and compassionate, recognizing that people of all kinds of backgrounds can learn and contribute to the Mountaineers, regardless of prior experience or skills. Thank you, Takeo!

TACOMA BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Troy Mason

Troy Mason has been a mainstay of the Tacoma Mountaineers since he became a member in 2007. Though primarily a climber, Troy’s contributions are felt throughout the organization. He has served on Branch Council for several years and has organized nearly every Branch-Wide event in the past three years. Troy has also served as the Intermediate Climbing chair, he frequently mentors new climb leaders, and he has contributed his photography to many instructional manuals. Thank you, Troy!

OUTDOOR CENTERS SERVICE AWARD

Bill & Arlene Woodcock

Bill and Arlene Woodcock have a combined 33 years of volunteer service to The Mountaineers. Arlene's first trip to Baker Lodge was in 2000, and she loved the experience so much that she immediately went home and changed her work schedule to continue volunteering on the weekends. Since then, reservations and revenue for the lodge have increased by a factor of five. Arlene makes first class meals, including a meatloaf that is routinely requested by return guests! Bill began volunteering at Baker Lodge in 2004, then fell in love with both the lodge ... and Arlene. He's provided crucial maintenance of an old building, and added countless improvements to include the guest experience. Bill has trained more than 25 new volunteer lodge hosts, and together, Bill and Arlene have been been lodge hosts for more than 80% of the lodge operations during their tenure. Thank you to Bill and Arlene!