Celebrating Mother’s Day the Volunteer Way
By Wapiti Wire Staff
(Left to right) Stephanie Caudle, Jesse Hooker, Riley Caudle, and Buddy Caudle are active volunteers with the Tennessee Valley Chapter.
Ask Stephanie Caudle how she celebrates Mother’s Day, and the answer is simple: fishing with her boys. Stephanie, her husband Buddy, their son Riley Caudle (11) and big brother Jesse Hooker (14) are all dedicated volunteers with the Tennessee Valley Chapter in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They joined RMEF three years ago after meeting Randy Waterhouse, RMEF Senior Regional Director for Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. The family attends chapter meetings together, helps plan the annual Big Game Banquet and can often be found selling banquet or raffle tickets at local events.
“Stephanie came on board fast and furious,” Waterhouse says. “It wasn’t long before Mom had Riley and Jesse attending chapter meetings. Stephanie has become the donation queen, and Riley has our mission down pat. Buddy sees that the family stays on top of chapter happenings and event planning.”
Earlier this year, Riley was presented with a RMEF Youth Award for his commitment to the Elk Foundation mission and his extensive volunteer efforts. “Stephanie got Riley involved with the games played at the banquet. Riley now has fresh ideas that are fun and beneficial to the chapter,” Waterhouse says. “For an 11-year-old who started volunteering at age 9, it’s quite impressive.”
For the Caudles, volunteering is about helping wildlife and staying active in their community.
“We’re animal people. We love to hunt. We like to stay busy. Volunteering is something we enjoy,” Stephanie says. “It’s fun, and the Tennessee Valley Chapter members are really awesome.”
Stephanie says teaching her boys to give back to others is important. “I always tell them you never know the outcome for some people, what’s going on. I think it’s great to volunteer because it helps people,” she says. “It makes you a better person. Have fun while you do it.”
The Caudles are busy preparing for the Tennessee Valley Chapter’s Big Game Banquet on June 3, but they carved out time to celebrate family this Mother’s Day by fishing.
“I want [Jesse and Riley] to learn about the outdoors, hunting and fishing,” Stephanie says. “It’s also fun because we spend time with each other as a family.”