Friends of NRA Volunteer of the Year Gail Bussell

Next up on highlighting this year's Region Volunteer of the Year award winners is Gail Bussell from the Mid West Region.

Region Volunteers of the year are chosen by a select select committee of senior NRA staff from the pool of Area Volunteers of the Year - nominated by their Field Representatives. These exceptional volunteers for Friends of NRA were invited to the NRA Annual Meeting as honored guests where they received special recognition at the National NRA Foundation Banquet.

Gail Bussell, who lives in Oklahoma City, has eight years of service with the Heartland Friends of NRA committee and currently sits as chairwoman. Founded in 1996, the Heartland Friends of NRA committee started out with 178 attendees at their first banquet who raised nearly $6,000.

Her committee's banquets have grown considerably in the past 16 years, swelling to 550 attendees in 2011 and raising nearly $110,000 for the NRA Foundation. A total of 5,365 people have come out to their Friends of NRA events and the committee is closing in on half a million raised, sitting at $489,377.

Like the other Region Volunteers of the Year, Gail was chosen for her exceptional contributions to Friends of NRA. Last year Gail was a real trooper, attending 14 of the 26 banquets held in Oklahoma. She helped set up and work 10 of those banquets and solicited donations for six of them. Gail led her committee in getting sponsorships, tallying eight with Blaser - out of 95 available nationally - for $5,000 each.


Friends of NRA Volunteer of the Year Brian Mrnak

Back in March, Friends of NRA announced the recipients of their Volunteer of the Year awards.

From the pool of Area Volunteers of the Year, who are nominated by their Field Representatives, Region Volunteers of the Year are chosen by a select committee of senior NRA staff. These exceptional volunteers were invited to the NRA Annual Meeting as honored guests where they received special recognition at the National NRA Foundation Banquet.

NRAblog is going to highlight the six Region Volunteer of the Year recipients starting with the Central Region's Brian Mrnak.

Hailing from Ashland, Wisconsin, Brian Mrnak is the current co-chairman and FFL of the the Chequamegon Bay Area Friends of NRA committee. Created in 2008, Brian was there from the start when the committee's first banquet had just 45 attendees and raised over $2,000. In just four short years, that number has grown quite a bit. The 2011 banquet season saw 129 friends of the NRA show up, raising over $32,000.

Brian does so much more for the Second Amendment than just help put on Friends of NRA banquets. Despite Ashland, Wisconin’s isolated location on the the shores of Lake Superior, Brian displays and runs raffles year-round at all gun shows within 50 miles. He also received his Range Technical Team Adviser training in 2009 and acts as the main contact for all the gun clubs in his area.


NRA volunteers donate skills and time to restore firearms

This week in 2010, we spoke with a volunteer about the benefits of working for the National Firearms Museum. Here it is again for this weekend's NRAblog Rewind:
Fairfax, Virginia - Occasionally the NRA National Firearms Museum finds talented – and willing – volunteers. Volunteer John, pictured above, is typically on site every Tuesday, assisting Senior Curators Phil Schreier and Doug Wicklund and Museum Director Jim Supica with tasks large and small.

John told NRAblog he enjoys every minute of his time at the Museum.

“It’s a real thrill,” he said. “Often the only time a gun enthusiast would see some of these firearms is a picture or maybe a display. To handle them, and help sometimes to clean them – you’re holding history in your hands.”


Custom Camp Perry Springfield M1A Auction Benefits NRA volunteers

If you’ve always wanted to own a one-of-a-kind firearm then we’ve got the gun for you – the Camp Perry 5th Anniversary Commemorative NRA/Springfield Armory M1A Match Rifle. This custom M1A rifle comes with a rich walnut stock and a stainless steel national match barrel. But it’s the special engraving on the action and carving on the stock that makes this rifle a treasure that any collector would cherish.


Friends of NRA

Friends of NRA has named the recipients of their Friends of NRA Volunteer of the Year award for 2011.

While there are many great volunteers who help put on events throughout the year, each of these select volunteers has had an outstanding impact on Friends of NRA at both the local and regional levels.

NRA Field Representatives recommend Area Volunteers of the Year, evaluating them on banquet tickets sold, underwriting received, years of service and other criteria. Recipients are awarded a “2011 Friends of NRA Volunteer of the Year” jacket as well as special recognition from their Field Representative.


2012 MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup poster
NRA's Competitive Shooting Division has just released the guide to the 2012 MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup, meaning that in just a few months, hundreds of the world's best action pistol shooters will make the trek to the Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club outside Columbia, Missouri.

Scheduled for May 23-26, the 2012 NRA Bianchi Cup is one of the richest and most prestigious shooting championships in the world. Over $300,000 in prizes and cash is up for grabs, including the $15,000 in cash courtesy of title sponsor MidwayUSA that will go to the top-ranking first-time shooters.

Women, Junior & Men shooters who have never competed at the MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup will take home $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $700 for third place. This brings MidwayUSA's total sponsorship to more than $65,000, helping to fuel growth and additional sponsorship.


Kyle's Story #3 from 2011 - Friends of NRA's successful first season

Matt and Jessie Duff - Hosts of the Friends of NRA television showLast year Friends of NRA took the plunge onto the small screen, debuting a television show of the same namesake on the Outdoor Channel.

Hosted by professional shooter Jessie Harrison and retired Major League Baseball player Matt Duff, the two traveled across the United States, exploring the ins and outs of the grassroots fund-raising program.

Friends of NRA banquets are quite the experience to see and no two across the country are the same as Matt and Jessie experienced. Headed up by a tireless NRA Field Representative who helps conduct the committee staff and volunteers, each banquet may have its own unique style and variation in the items which are auctioned off, but one common theme connects them all – support for NRA and the Second Amendment. 


NRA volunteers on the range during the 2011 National Pistol Championships at Camp Perry

Every year, a hard working group of people help make various NRA events a success. From the National Matches at Camp Perry, to the NRA Bianchi Cup, and even the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, these dedicated men, women, and even a few children are the unsung heroes of the NRA. Who am I talking about? None other than our cadre of volunteers!


NRA Volunteer Charles Poles receives his 20 year service award from Larry Mead and Mike Krei

Last week, NRA lost a dear friend, Charles Poles. Known to most as Charlie, Poles was a dedicated volunteer for the NRA's Competitive Shooting Division, having worked the ranges at Camp Perry for 20 years.

Hailing from upstate New York, Poles began his volunteer work at Camp Perry as a Block Officer, watching over a group of shooters as they take the line, ensuring safe gun handling practices. As an avid and knowledgable shooter, Poles quickly advanced up the ranks to Tower Talker, giving the commands for the firing lines. He finally found himself as a Cheif Range Officer, overseeing all operations on Range 2 at the National Matches. Watch an NRANews' interview with Poles shot last year during the National Matches.

This July, Poles was recognized at the Camp Perry Volunteer Banquet for his 20 years of service. Charlie will truly be missed by all of his family here at NRA and remembered for his big smile, warm personality, and his dedication and service as a volunteer.

"I always enjoyed working with Charlie at Camp Perry," said Mike Krei, Director of Competitive Shooting Division. "He was great. It was a good day with Charlie on the line."

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