One family with RMEF in their blood
by David Johns, Bugle Intern
Some families just get the Elk Foundation in their blood, and you won’t find a better example of that than the Dorner clan. The Dorners volunteer for the Elk Foundation all across the West. And this year they held their annual family reunion at the Southwest Wyoming Chapter banquet in Evanston on March 15. Doyle Dorner, who was the first family member to become involved with the Elk Foundation, helped restart the faltering Southwest Wyoming Chapter in 1995 and chaired the committee off and on until 2003.
“Doyle has a passion for elk, elk country and hunting,” says Jill Tonn, RMEF Wyoming regional director. “He really kept that chapter going.” Doyle was also a Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner for six years and was very generous in donating commissioners tags to Elk Foundation chapters. He has since moved to Texas where he now serves on the Houston Chapter committee.
Doyle’s brother Mike and his wife Salena have been active with the Southwest Wyoming Chapter for years. Mike has been a committee member since 1995 and is currently firearms chair. For the past two years Salena has been co-chair.
Besides the family reunion, brothers Tim, Jon, Don, Doyle and Mike, and their sisters Juanita and Ruth, used the Southwest Wyoming banquet to celebrate Doyle’s 50th birthday.
“Every year we try to get together for a week,” Mike says. At 41, Mike is the youngest brother. “It’s hard to get the family in one place—and many times there’s only a few of us—but we always make it happen.”
The Dorner family name appears in almost as many states as it does RMEF chapter committees. The Motherlode Chapter in Angel Camp, California; Red River Chapter in Grand Forks, North Dakota; Southwest Wyoming Chapter in Evanston; Gallatin Chapter in Bozeman, Montana; and the Houston Chapter in Texas all share the Dorner label. Trevor Dorner serves as chairman for the Gallatin Chapter and Jon Dorner chairs the Red River Chapter.
With a real knack for a barbeque, the Dorners prepared baby back ribs, briskets and pulled pork for the family reunion feast. “I like to experiment with my cooking,” Jon says. “But I usually go back to a few favorites.”
Jon says his personal hero is Theodore Roosevelt. “He didn’t need to live somebody else’s life to understand their struggles.” He says Roosevelt could relate to western cowboys, businessmen and foreign leaders while keeping conservation at the forefront of his thoughts and actions.
Maybe it’s this kind of understanding that has helped the Dorner family, and RMEF volunteers, unite across the nation, scattered in their own places yet part of something much bigger. And if Roosevelt was around today, he would most certainly relate to the Dorners and their own passion for elk country.