By Kyle Jillson | June 10 2013 13:48

Gary and Pat Graef of North Fort Myers, Florida are the Friends of NRA Southern Region Volunteers of the Year

Friends of NRA Southern Region Volunteers of the Year Gary and Pat Graef

Fairfax, Virginia - This year's Friends of NRA Southern Region Volunteer of the Year is actually a twofer. Husband and wife duo Gary and Pat Graef of North Fort Myers, Florida are an inseparable pair who have earned the award together thanks to their tireless work for Friends of NRA and the future of the shooting sports.

Continuing the theme of twos, the Graefs serve as acting chairman and treasurer on both the Charlotte Harbor Friends of NRA and Greater Fort Myers Area Friends of NRA committees. In 2012 the team raised more than $58,500 through banquet tickets sales, sponsorships, underwriting, and donations.

Charlotte Harbor Friends of NRA is a newer committee. Formed in 2008, their banquets have grown quickly, seeing a 250% rise in attendance in just four years. In that time, 772 Second Amendment supporters have sat down and donated nearly $50,000 to the shooting sports. The older Greater Fort Myers Area committee was created in 1998 and has seen similar growth, hosting 2,164 attendees and raising $172,500 in its 15 years.

Besides the banquets at their two committees, Gary and Pat attended and helped seven other banquets in 2012. Lending hands to games and silent auctions, the two were always there at the end of the night to make sure things ran as efficiently as possible. The Graefs are also involved with their State Fund Committee and grant process, having helped write several grants for local organizations such as 4-H and JROTC.

Outside the NRA these two have spent the last decade volunteering at the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, donating their time and horses so that handicapped children can learn to ride and enjoy the outdoors.

“They endlessly give of their time and resources and do so with true dedication and pleasure," said Southern Florida NRA Field Representative Tom Knight. "I can think of no one that deserves this award more than Gary and Pat Graef and it is a true honor to work with dedicated volunteers such as them."

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