By Kyle Jillson | December 12 2010 10:30
Phil Gray with Kyle WeaverCentral Region Director Phil Gray with Kyle Weaver. The Central Region was awarded 2010 Region of the Year.

Senior Event Services Coordinator Nicole McMahon brings us a great write-up of the recent meeting the NRA Field Operations Divison had with its Field Representatives last week.

It takes an extraordinary person to be an NRA Field Representative. One must have ingenuity, tactfulness, extreme patience and most of all, a passion for the Second Amendment that is so deep-rooted he or she lives and breathes NRA 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But a Field Rep is also one of the most rewarding jobs. They see their hard work paid off in the form of a child introduced to the shooting sports, a woman educating herself on personal protection, or a range built for shooting enjoyment and competition for years to come.

Although the job is rewarding, it can sometimes feel isolated when the next closest Field Rep is hundreds of miles away. So when Field Reps from all over the country meet at the annual Field Operations Division Annual Planning Meeting in December at NRA Headquarters, the isolated feeling turns to feelings of empowerment and energy stemming from a focus on team building and sharing knowledge and wisdom from their areas.

During the week, NRA Field Reps receive updated training on policies and procedures along with updates and new initiatives affecting their areas. Some of the highlights this year included speeches by Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, a sneak-peak at the Friends of NRA website update, and learning about the brand new Friends of NRA TV show. The show, which will air on the Outdoor Channel in January, Sundays at 10:30 PM EST, features hosts Matt Duff, former MLB player and Jessie Harrison, world class shooter and champion of the 2010 Bianchi Cup.

One event the staff looks forward to every year is the Merchandise Preview Meeting where Field Reps meet and greet with vendors they work with year round. This is their opportunity to view merchandise and discuss with their colleagues the best way to use the merchandise for optimum fundraising in their areas.

In the midst of the busy week, Field Reps have a chance to kick off their boots and let their hair down at Director of Grant Administration & Analysis, Sandy Elkin’s, annual holiday reception. Elkin graciously opens her home to all field staff so they may have some home cooking while away from their families.

Friends of NRA Western RegionFriends of NRA Western Region with Western Region Director JP Nelson center holding his retirement gifts.

The end of the week culminates with the Field Operations Awards Banquet where Field and Headquarters staff are recognized for their efforts during the year. This year’s event saw donations from Colt, Ruger, and Taurus to help Field Operations award their employees with the best possible firearms. Among the titles to receive these awards were Above & Beyond, Employee of the Year, and the Top Dog award given to one employee to excel among the rest for commitment to the organization.

The awards banquet is also a place to recognize retirements in the division, and this year, Field Operations will be losing two of their most valuable staff, Western Region Director J.P. Nelson and Southern Texas Field Rep Gayle Carter Cook. Both will be sorely missed not only in Field Ops, but within the NRA and the network of volunteers they’ve come to know.

A time for reflection and celebration, the Field Operations Division Annual Planning Meeting is a joy for all those that have the privilege to work in one of the most demanding and rewarding divisions the NRA has to offer.

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