Governor Recognizes Outstanding Michigan Volunteers
Doug Doherty, Michigan Regional Director
On Saturday, January 11, the Michigan State Leadership Team held its meeting at the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s Ralph A. MacMullen Center on the north shore of pristine Higgins Lake. Our focus was to bring all 14 Lower Michigan chapters together to discuss banquets, provide updates on RMEF nationally and recognize outstanding volunteers.
This year, state chair Dan Johnson wanted to do a little something extra by recognizing volunteers who raised the bar in 2013. It was not an easy task, but we chose three people to receive a special award for their time and effort in volunteering for events and projects outside of RMEF big game banquets: Bruce Mach, Southeast Michigan Chapter; Tim Johnson, Saginaw Valley Chapter; and Larry Bialobrezeski, Saginaw Valley and Thunder Bay chapters.
Ironically, right after we decided who would receive the awards, an email from Gov. Rick Snyder’s office showed up in my inbox stating the governor had moved forward with a bill to recognize Michigan’s outstanding conservation volunteers. Judy Robinson, aide to Gov. Snyder, called shortly after to inquire about RMEF and our volunteers. The timing couldn’t have been better.
We collaborated to have Robinson present a special certificate to Mach, Johnson and Bialobrezeski at the State Leadership Team meeting, along with their awards from RMEF. All three were surprised and honored to have received recognition from both the governor’s office and the State Leadership Team.
We also presented an award for best performing chapter with best net to gross. The West Michigan Chapter out of Grand Rapids received the honor. All in all, it was a proud day for Michigan’s RMEF volunteers.