Congratulations to our 2019 volunteer award recipients!

The Mountaineers has thousands of amazing volunteers, and each year we recognize about a dozen of those individuals who have gone above and beyond at our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Thank you for going above and beyond, and for your ongoing service to our organization!
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Volunteer Development Manager
January 28, 2020

Volunteers are at the core of our Mountaineers community. During the last year alone, we had over 3,100 volunteers support our programs, contributing an outstanding 213,000 hours towards our mission. This could be as a trip leader, committee member, instructor, lodge host, event volunteer, or 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!

Club-wide Awards

The Mountaineers Legend Award

John Ohlson

It is hard to quantify the many different ways that John Ohlson has contributed to and advanced the mission of The Mountaineers. His climbing resume alone is impressive, and it is safe to say that The Mountaineers outdoor centers wouldn't be the same without him. John played an integral role in relocating the Seattle Program Center to Magnuson Park, including serving as the Building Committee Chair, participating in the construction of all nine climbing walls, and renegotiating the lease for 10 years of free rent. He is has also played a key role in many fundraising efforts for The Mountaineers and is a charter member of the Peak Society. Today, among other things, John serves as an ongoing and active member of the Board of Directors for The Mountaineers. John is truly a Mountaineers Legend: he is both servant and a leader, and provides example for us all of what deep, sustained commitment and generosity look like. We are thrilled to recognize John Ohlson as the inaugural recipient of The Mountaineers legend award!

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The Mountaineers SERVICE AWARD

Danielle Graham

A member since 2016, Danielle Graham has taken on countless leadership roles within The Mountaineers. She is an example of commitment to caring leadership, volunteership, and cross-branch coordination, and she has helped get multiple new programs - including Foothills Nordic Skiing and Foothills Scrambling - off the ground. Danielle participated in over 100 activities in 2019, and more than half of that time was leading, instructing, or otherwise volunteering. She is also active on the Foothills Branch Council. Danielle is a go-to for members, staff, and volunteers across multiple branches and activities, and her care for the organization is evident in everything that she does. Thank you, Danielle!

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MARTINIQUE GRIGG LEADERSHIP IN YOUTH EDUCATION AWARD

Lisa Newcomb

Lisa Newcomb’s son joined the Seattle Mountaineers Adventure Club (MAC) in the spring of 2017, and over the past two years, she has volunteered 73 days with the program. Her involvement has helped share the culture of the MAC program, taking it to the next level by welcoming new families and fostering a strong and engaged parent community. Lisa has a particular knack for noticing kids who may need some extra attention and she is endlessly helpful and supportive of all of the staff involved in running the MAC program. She is the kind of parent volunteer every staff person hopes for and she embodies the spirit of The Mountaineers in everything she does. Thank you, Lisa!

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The Mountaineers LEADER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Ananth Maniam (ஆனந்த் மணியம்)

A member since 2017, Ananth Maniam became an activity leader just a year after joining The Mountaineers. He is an active hike, scramble, and trail running leader and he’s led or co-led an incredible 64 trips since early 2018 ... all of which he’s done without owning a vehicle! Beyond his extensive trip leadership, Ananth was an instructor for many courses this past year, with even more on deck for 2020. He’s also been an active supporter of our Equity & Inclusion work to assure that all people feel a sense of belonging in The Mountaineers. We’re grateful for Ananth's thoughtful leadership throughout the organization and extensive contributions to our community. Thank you, Ananth!

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Branch Service Awards

LARRY INGALLS DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD

Brian Booth

A member since 1991, Brian Booth graduated from the Seattle Basic Climbing course in 1994. Since then, he’s been involved with both the Everett and Seattle branches as an instructor for our scrambling, snowshoeing, and MOFA programs. Currently (and for at least the last 8 years), he serves as the Everett Scrambling Committee’s Leadership Coordinator, providing resources, information, and mentorship to those interested in becoming scramble trip leaders. Thank you, Brian!

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FOOTHILLS BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Travis Prescott

Travis Prescott chairs our Foothills Snowshoeing Committee and runs the Intermediate Snowshoe course. He is a key member and contributor to the Foothills Navigation Committee, creating a multi-week comprehensive Digital Trip Planning course delivered entirely by webinar, and he also supports the Scrambling Committee and new Climbing Committee. Travis is a highly valued member of the Foothills Branch Council and is someone members value for his technological expertise and all manner of advice. Thank you, Travis!

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Gabrielle Orsi

Gabrielle is a force of nature. She co-chairs the Foothills Trail Running committee and has been instrumental in the rapid expansion of this very well-designed and well-run program. She also leads for the Foothills Backcountry Ski Committee, Hiking & Backpacking Committee, and Snowshoeing Committee and she helps out as an instructor a variety of programs. Gabrielle has initiated a number of great event programs including seminars from the UW Predator Ecology Lab and sessions on trip planning, ultramarathons, fast-packing, winter camping and more. Thank you, Gabrielle!

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KITSAP BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Jeff Schrepple

A member since 2011, Jeff Schrepple led our Kitsap Branch for three years as Branch Chair and four years as Treasurer. He's had a huge influence on everything accomplished by our Kitsap Branch since 2011, and this award serves as recognition for his dedication to the ideals of the organization. He's been an invaluable counselor to the current branch leadership, and we look forward to celebrating his ongoing support of the club in years to come. Thank you, Jeff!

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OLYMPIA BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Richard Kennedy

Richard Kennedy has played a key role in Olympia Branch management as well as the climbing committee, but he has also carved out a unique niche of service. From Richard's vision and many hours of work, tens of thousands of dollars have been added to our Olympia Branch budget through the Banff Film Festival. In fact, this event has become a major fundraiser for Olympia, providing almost a quarter of the branch's revenue and helping to keep course fees low in Olympia. In 2016, Richard stepped down from his important position, but not without finding a replacement to ensure that his vital and unique offering will continue to enliven the Olympia Branch. Thank you, Richard!

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SEATTLE BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Peter Hendrickson

A member since 2005, Peter Hendrickson has demonstrated a life-long interest in outdoor pursuits, volunteers, and leading. He gives to the community as a Peak Society member, multi-year Super Volunteer, and leader for many committees and programs. Peter has served as Seattle Navigation Chair for three years, Branch Leadership Committee Secretary for two years, and Seattle Branch Chair for four years. In 2020, Peter will join the Board of Directors as the Vice President of Branches. Thank you, Peter!

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Alan Vogt

A member since 2005, Alan has served as the Seattle Sailing Committee chair for the past 12 years. He has been a Key Leader and Super Volunteer every year that the badge has been awarded, and along with his wife Wendy, has led an annual sailing course to serve hundreds of students. If anyone has sailed with Alan, the one thing you will never forget is that he shamelessly sails his 42’ Catalina into the dock at the end of the day. It is impressive and speaks to his skill and love of sailing. Thank you, Alan!

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TACOMA BRANCH SERVICE AWARD

Lisa Hayek

A member since 2016, the impact that Lisa Hayek has made on the Tacoma Branch community is nothing short of epic. Since taking over as Hiking & Backpacking Chair in 2017, she has played a central role in revitalizing the committee and increasing participation. A fearless innovator, Lisa established and still leads programs such as the beginning backpacker class, recognition programs, socials to help connect new members, and “New Hike Leader” seminars quarterly to boost leadership development within the community. Her super-positive attitude is as contagious as her persistent smile, and she uses her boundless energy to motivate and inspire those around her - most often with baby Zoe in tow. Thank you, Lisa!

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OUTDOOR CENTERS SERVICE AWARD

Patti Polinsky

For more than 50 years, Patti Polinsky has been working to make Meany Lodge a welcoming place for all people and introduce them to the joys of untracked snow. Her list of accomplishments includes starting a nationally accredited snow sports school, leading the charge to install the "Turtle Tow" for beginners, founding the Mushroom Weekend with the Puget Sound Mycological Society (going for 30 years!), and developing a European-style trek and lunch trip unique within The Mountaineers. Patti has also made countless function and aesthetic improvements to Meany Lodge and has been instrumental in expanding the involvement of people in this community, particularly women. Thank you, Patti!

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