Top Friends of NRA committee's chairman visits NRA headquarters from the last frontier
Who is Denny Hamann? The chairman of the Alaska State Friends of NRA, Denny Hamann is one of the most dedicated Friends of NRA volunteers in the country. You could even say he's eaten, breathed, and slept NRA for the past several years.
Hailing from Wasilla, Alaska, Hamann is a pivotal piece of the puzzle for the Alaska State committee and Alaska Friends of NRA as a whole. And 'pivotal' really does justice considering how well he helped his committee in 2011.
This year the Alaska State Friends of NRA were recipients of the Most Outstanding Friends of NRA Committee Award, an honor granted to the committee who raised the most funds at a single Friends of NRA event. This was the first time Alaska State received the award and Hamann, who proudly accepted the award at the NRA Board Meetings last week, has high hopes they'll receive it again.
Nicole McMahon, our Senior Event Services Coordinator at NRA, was able to pull Hamann aside for a few minutes when he was in town and got to ask him a few questions about his history with the committee.
While Hamann and his wife Lori were visiting NRA Headquarters last week to receive the Most Outstanding Friends of NRA Committee Award, I was fortunate enough to sit down with the couple as they took a break from their busy sight-seeing schedule to see the National Firearms Museum and the state-of-the-art NRA Headquarters Range. It was humbling to hear their story about their involvement with Friends of NRA over the years.
NM: How long have you and Lori been involved with Friends of NRA?
DH: Lori has been chairman of Mat-Su [Friends of NRA] for a couple years, but we both have been involved with Alaska State for six years. Mat-Su is closer to our home and we are getting more involved with that banquet.
NM: What prompted you to get involved?
DH: I was not even aware of the Friends program until Scott, my older brother, called me. I was committee chairman and heavily involved on the Mat-Su Fish & Game Advisory Council. I have been in business in the valley and Anchorage when Scott and Brad came up with the state event idea and Scott said, “I got just the guy!” Scott told me I was just going to be the figure head because everyone knows me, but about two months in, I took more of a lead. I had never done fundraising before, but I had been to different organizations’ banquets in the past. These banquets boil down to family and fun. I have been involved ever since!
NM: Are there any NRA programs that are particularly close to your heart?
DH: Lori is Eddie Eagle for South Central Alaska. All the local schools in the last couple years have been doing health fairs and Eddie is always present. Lori works at an elementary school so Eddie Eagle is especially important to her, she puts on the suit and everything—she loves it!
NM: What programs does Alaska Friends of NRA grant money to in the state?
DH: There’s a rule we vote on every year (until this year)—we look at all the youth programs first, then women’s, then ranges, and so on. This year we did it different because we had a lot of money to spend and we knew youth and women’s programs would get funded. So we made a concerted effort to save our ranges. Up north, there’s a ton of ranges being built, in Bethel, Kotzebue, and more.
Following our insightful interview, we moved on to our next exciting activity—shooting at the NRA Range. John da Silva, National Manager of Events & Marketing, brought in his SR-556 Ruger Rifle 223REM, which Denny took a particular liking to. Since shooting at the NRA Range was only her third experience handling a firearm, Lori received a brief lesson from Debbie Crews, NRA Range Customer Service Specialist, and shot a .22 and 9mm pistol. Both were extremely pleased with the facilities and eager to talk about their experience back home.
By now, this power couple is back in Wasilla working hard and preparing for their upcoming banquet. If you’re in Anchorage on October 13 be sure to check out the Alaska State Friends of NRA banquet to see the fun and excitement all Alaska is talking about!
Thanks Nicole and good luck in 2012 Alaska State Friends of NRA.