2014 Volunteer Awards

Each year, one tremendously impactful volunteer is selected by each of our seven branches to receive the branch Service Award. These awards applaud the efforts of volunteers to make The Mountaineers a leading conservation and recreation organization in the world.
Chris Williams Chris Williams
February 04, 2015

Everything accomplished by The Mountaineers as an organization can be credited to the efforts of our volunteers. Our courses, trips, youth programs, and advocacy efforts are fueled by the passion of people who are engaged because they want to be, not because they receive financial motivation. Each year we host a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to recognize these tireless individuals. Find out which volunteers were honored this year with the Branch Service awards and the organization-wide Leader of the Year and Mountaineers Service Award (there are other awards at the branch level that are not highlighted here but which show how our community can embrace those that contribute to it - at the bottom of this blog, we'd love to hear how different committees and branches choose to thank and recognize their other volunteers). 

Organization-wide awards

2014 Leader of the Year - Nicole Hansen

Nicole was selected as the Leader of the Year out of so many worthy candidates for a number of reasons. Nicole serves on 5 different committees between 2 branches (Seattle and Foothills). 

    Nicole is also a hike, backpack, snowshoe and Qualified Youth Leader who posts a high volume of trips each month. In addition to this, and what really stands out, is the feedback she received from her participants. She gets an extraordinarily high volume of positive responses. Not only did she receive the MOST feedback, meaning people went out of their way to say nice things about her, she also got the highest number of “Outstanding” responses.

    Feedback like this shows the impact Nicole has had on others as an ambassador of The Mountaineers and we are honored to include her in the ranks of previous Leaders of the Year. 

    Mountaineers Service Award - Tab Wilkins

    Tab is a longtime member of The Mountaineers and his contributions have furthered the mission and progress of the organization. Tab started as a climb leader and then served as Seattle Branch Chair. He led the Managing Committee as President Elect and led the committee through a minimum standards review. As Board President Tab was instrumental in our strategic planning process and pushing forward the Tacoma Program Center renovation. He recently chaired the Snoqualmie Subcommittee and helped the organization assess how to best utilize our Snoqualmie Property.

    In addition to all of this, Tab designed a short format scramble course (Alpine Scrambling Intense) that utilizes videos and Baker Lodge to train scramblers over the course of a weekend. He has positively changed the trajectory of The Mountaineers and his contributions are deeply appreciated.

    Branch Service Awards

    Listed here in geographical order, from north to south, are the names of the volunteers who our branches selected as providing exceptional service to the mission of The Mountaineers 


    Rich Sanders

    As stated by the Bellingham Branch Council: 

    You may not know what to make of his mesh, chalk-filled shirt pockets and sewn-in kneepads upon first meeting Rich Sanders, but his contagious enthusiasm for climbing, volunteering, inventing, and just about everything else will hit you right in your soft spot.

    He is loved by everyone. Climbing buddies say, “If you know Rich, you know we mean this literally. While Rich’s literal blood may be occupying the best holds, his figurative blood is being pumped into full commitment to the students.” His much needed and appreciated niche within the Bellingham Mountaineers is offering up his home (at any time!) to new students to practice belay escape and crevasse rescue.

    When students return from his set up they are fully prepared for class, usually outperforming students that did not utilize his guidance. No one asked Rich to do this. The idea, like his functional wardrobe, was completely original. His dedication to the students may only be matched by his diligence to his slightly insane exercise regime. We are truly impressed. We thank you, Rich. 



    Thomas Jolley has been on the Baker Committee a number of years and is also active in avalanche training and backcountry skiing.  He hosts at the lodge a couple of time a year and his greatest contribution to the lodge is his creative and excellent construction and design talents.  Thomas had his own carpentry business in France and once he returned to the US he joined a local high-end construction company that specializes in building and remodeling homes and retreats for the "one-percenters."

    He not only physically participates in the work but trains new employees and supervises the construction teamHe has saved The Mountaineers thousands of dollars over the years on repairs and capital construction projects.  Baker Lodge would not have been able to complete as many capital projects as it did without his assistance.


    Evy Dudey

    Everett Branch Chair Matt Vadnal tells the story of “The HOG LOPPETT – also known as the "people's ski race" – a ski event that many Mountaineers participated in. On the last Saturday in February, 600 back country and cross-country skiers take a chair lift at the Mission Ridge Ski Area to the top the ridge. From there, they ski 30 kilometers on mountain trails and roads to Blewitt Pass. When people board the busses at "O dark thirty" in Leavenworth for the trip to Mission Ridge, they always found Evy Dudey and her husband, Mark Glidden, in the front seats in the first bus. That said a lot about Evy. She is always out front and always ready to lead.  

    Evy has made many significant contributions to The Mountaineers over many years. She served as an instructor and leader in the Everett Branch's climbing and skiing programs.  Her most recent contribution has been serving on the Board of Directors. In addition, the Everett Branch Council could always count on Evy to provide us with updates on the Board's work and advice on what positions should be taken on issues before the Board. 

    Evy did such a great job when she served as Everett's representative, her fellow Board members selected her to serve as the Secretary of the Board. I believe that I am speaking for the membership when I say that we are confident that the Mountaineers' best days lie ahead because Evy - and dedicated and talented people like her - are serving in key leadership positions in our organization.”


    Bruce Crawford

    Timmy Williams of the Seattle Branch Council explains that "as a Mountaineers veteran - member number 3245 – Bruce has been a mainstay of the Navigation Committee. He carries the institutional and deep professional knowledge of our GPS instructional program. After redeveloping the class to include Smart Phone apps, he is now the lead instructor and mentor for new instructors. As King County Waste Water engineer, he brings a mountaineer/engineer perspective to the Basic Navigation Course field trips. The planning is flawless. The attention to detail is a plus for efficiency and safety. 

    Bruce is singularly responsible for much of the invisible structure of the course--problem lay out, stake placement, accurate measures, redundant safety measures and endless patience teaching others in the tricks of his tradeBruce is also the long-term link with John Muncer, our land host. He spends time with him each trip and listens with interest, responding to Mr. Muncer's ideas, concerns and strong belief in the program.  Further, he does all this with wry good humor and a service dog or two in training. Bruce is also a student and instructor favorite."


    Chuck Maclaren

    The Foothills Branch Chair described Chuck as someone who contributes a tremendous amount of time, talent, and energy to the branch and the club, saying it is greatly appreciated and well deserved. Chuck coordinates AIARE training for the Foothills Backcountry skiing committee, an issue on which he has exhibited passionate leadership for yearsAt one point he worked on an organization-wide effort to look at the avalanche education training provided by each branch and took on an immense workload to ensure that everyone in the organization who goes into avalanche territory is able to keep themselves safe. His efforts continue to this very day and the Foothills Branch leadership felt that he was long overdue in receiving this recognition for his many efforts. A member since 2005, he’s a leader in winter sports and an instructor that inspires students in some of our most important work. A huge thank you to Chuck Mac Laren.


    Mike Raymond

    Mike Raymond is a long-time member of the Kitsap branch Executive Committee, most recently (last year) as secretary and previously as branch chair for two years; and 11 years as climbing committee chair. He is an extraordinary climbing instructor who has taught scores of people safe climbing techniques and led more climbs than anyone else in the branch. He serves on the Kitsap Climbing Committee and is the Secretary of the Branch Council there as well. 

    His diligence and dedication to maintaining a safe climbing program in a small community may be a gift of O. Henry proportions, and efforts like this are the lifeblood of the Kitsap Mountaineers climbing community. Thank you so much for your sacrifice and dedication to teaching people how to access some of the most beautiful mountains America has to offer. 


    Geoff Lawrence

    Geoff Lawrence has been a giant contributor to the health and ongoing success of the Tacoma Mountaineers for years. He spent years as branch chair and led the efforts to build the new program center, led the council, and headed up our Third Friday events when we meet the public. 

    Last year he assumed the role of VP Outdoor Centers for The Mountaineers. Rather than rest on his laurels, Geoff continued to mentor the council, helped train volunteers to manage Third Fridays, chaired our council nominations committee to recruit new leaders and spent countless hours taking care of what needs to be done at the program center in Tacoma. He stepped into new roles overseeing the program center and Irish Cabin as other Tacoma leaders retired from those roles. Geoff represents all that you hope for in a volunteer.


    Carolyn Burreson

    Carolyn Burreson is a long-time member who is a kayak leader and sits on the Olympia Kayaking Committee. In addition to leading and participating in a high number of kayaking trips, and instructing in Olympia’s courses, Carolyn does tremendous work putting together her branch’s “Potlucks and Adventures Speakers Series,” which brings in interesting and inspiring speakers for Olympia members to enjoy. The events help create and support the Olympia branch’s strong sense of community within its membership and is a true gem of an example of how The Mountaineers can create meaningful connections between people with a common love of outdoor activities. Thank you so much Carolyn for all of the different ways in which you make the Olympia Mountaineers community such a strong and proud group. 

    Congratulations to All - THank you so much

    In the comments below, we'd love you to share the many other ways your committee or branch shows appreciation for the many different ways our volunteers contribute to The Mountaineers! 

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