By Lars Dalseide | August 1 2010 09:19
NRAblog reported live from the Foundation Banquet during the 2010 Annual Meeting. Here, Traditions magazine has an article giving the full story on each of the talented people honored as a Volunteer of the Year for 2009: 


Recognition of the top Friends of NRA volunteers2009 Friends of NRA Volunteers of the Year

All volunteers are essential to the success of the Friends of NRA program, but a select few stand-out as the backbone, the base, the foundation of entire areas and regions within the Friends of NRA network. These volunteers are known as Friends of NRA Volunteers of the Year, and out of all 50 area volunteers nominated for this award, only five are selected as the Region Volunteers of the Year:

Region Volunteers of the Year:
Eastern Region: Maryland: Randy and Suzanne Lewis, Washington Co.
Central Region: Tennessee: Tracy Hightower, Kentucky Lake
Mid West Region: Oklahoma: Ron Tarrant, Southeastern Oklahoma
Southern Region: Florida (Southern): John and Jean Gettle, South Bay
Western Region: Alaska: Denny Hamann, Alaska State 

 These patriots were awarded for their outstanding achievements with an all-expense paid trip to the 2010 NRA Annual Meetings in Charlotte, N.C., where they were recognized at the National NRA Foundation Banquet by Managing Director of Field Operations Kyle Weaver and were the honorary guests for the evening.

From the Eastern Region come Randy and Suzanne Lewis of Smithsburg, Md., one of two husband-and-wife teams nominated for Region Volunteers of the Year. They are a driving force not only for their banquet, but also stir excitement throughout all of Maryland as they have set new heights for the entire program. A seat at their dinner is in such demand that the only guarantee of attending is to be a sponsor and have it purchased at least two months in advance. 

Tracy Hightower of Camden, Tenn., winner from the Central Region, is a successful business man who puts his entire heart and soul into the Friends of NRA program. As part owner of Tactical Response and Tactical Response Gear, he donated a two-day course to all 23 events in Tennessee to be placed on the live auction, as well as a two-day Fighting Pistol Course as part of the Grand Door Prize at the Tennessee State Fund Grant Conference. He also donated courses to the Club University in Nashville, Tenn., which helped entice people to attend the largest Club U in NRA history.

Oklahoma’s own Ron Tarrant of Wilburton was the winner for the Mid West Region. He individually raised over $44K in the 2009 banquet season, which includes banquet tickets sold, sponsorships, underwriting, and donations. His innovative ideas helped Oklahoma reach the $600K mark and his ability to uphold the integrity of NRA at all times has made him a role model for other Friends of NRA volunteers.

John and Jean Gettle of Sarasota, Fla. in the Southern Region are the second husband-and-wife team nominated for the Region Volunteers of the Year. Their countless hours of volunteer work and leadership over the last 10 years have enabled Florida to be a viable contender as a top fundraising state. Their tireless dedication to the mission of The NRA Foundation and the Friends of NRA program exemplifies what it means to be an NRA volunteer.

And out of Wasilla, Alaska comes a volunteer who has spent part of every day of the past year working on some aspect for Alaska Friends of NRA. Denny Hamann, Western Region Volunteer of the Year, made the impossible possible in only three years—he led the Alaska State Friends of NRA committee to the highest level of High Caliber Club status. When it was looking bleak for the fledgling committee, Hamann took hold of the reigns and turned the committee into a force to be reckoned with.

Wayne LaPierre said it best in a letter sent to all Region Volunteers of the Year, “This award stands as a tribute to your leadership, dedication and commitment to the preservation of the shooting sports and the Second Amendment that have advanced and will continue to expand the shooting sports in America.”



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