ARIZONA—In December, the Tucson Chapter helped sponsor the “Hunters Who Care” desert clean up in Hunt Management Units 36A & 36B near Amado and Arivaca. Chapter members assisted in cooking lunch and picking up trash left behind by illegal immigrants passing through the southern Arizona desert. About 100 volunteers filled 2½ 40-foot dumpsters with 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of trash over the course of a weekend. Pictured above, left to right: Steve Hopkins, RMEF state chair; Tim Bee, former Arizona state senator; Matt Walton, Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD); Bobby Boido, Safari Club International; Jeanette Hopkins, RMEF Tuscon Chapter merchandise chair; Gabriel Paz, AGFD.
CALIFORNIA—The Fortuna Chapter celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2008, and also surpassed the half million dollar fundraising mark—a goal not easily reached in such a short amount of time. The chapter has always excelled at gathering donations and the support of the local community. They have used the merchandising book to perfection, getting most of their RMEF merchandise underwritten by local merchants and even letting some of those folks choose the merchandise to order themselves. Oftentimes the merchant underwrites the item and then purchases it at the dinner! Hard work and commitment by volunteers who hunt and those who don’t have made this committee exceptionally successful.
ELK CAMP: LADIES’ AUCTION—RMEF volunteers (left to right) Connie McCotter, Jeanette Hopkins, and Jacque Stark from the Tucson, Arizona, Chapter take a bull ride during the Ladies’ Auction at Elk Camp in Fort Worth, Texas. About 300 women attended the event on Thursday. The theme this year was “Rodeo Queens” and many attendees got into the spirit and dressed up for the event. After having some fun taking part in mechanical bull riding and steer roping competitions, the ladies got down to business and helped RMEF raise more than $85,000 through raffles and auction items.
ELK CAMP: EXPO HALL—Sandy Kratville (right), RMEF/U.S. Forest Service national liaison, talks with visitors at the Forest Service booth during Elk Camp in Fort Worth, Texas. Each year the booth offers the public an opportunity to visit one-on-one with Forest Service personnel about land management issues, such as big game hunting opportunities, public access and camping. Kids enjoy free Smokey Bear items including posters, stickers, pencils coloring books and other items. This year the booth shared information about elk research conducted at the Starkey Experimental Forest and activities associated with the Blue Mountains Elk Initiative, both located in Oregon.
ILLINOIS—The evening of January 31 was filled with excitement as the dedicated volunteers of the Quad Cities Illinois/Iowa Chapter prepared for one of the chapter's best banquets in Moline, Illinois. One of the reasons for the event’s success was the focus on the next generation. What better way to do this than to showcase growing skills with an elk calling contest. Eight talented kids were given a cow call—which they got to keep—and gave it their all in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd. All the kids were winners, but a tie breaker between Kohlman Russel (left) and Jacob (middle, last name withheld) resulted with Jacob taking home the grand prize binoculars. Chapter co-chair John Ryan (right) officiated the contest.
IRAQ—Iraq may seem to be a world away from Ohio, but one dedicated RMEF volunteer is helping bridge the gap. Since 2002, Cincinnati Chapter finance chairman Brian Pickens has sent packages to troops stationed in both Iraq and Afghanistan through Adopt a Platoon, a nonprofit that works to ensure that deployed U.S. military personnel are not forgotten by providing needed mail support. With help from RMEF director of field programs Steve Decker, Pickens secured more than 3,000 baseball caps sporting the RMEF logo, packed them into 14 boxes and footed a $300 shipping charge to get them to Army 1st Sergeant Matt Northen, stationed in Iraq. Northen (right) distributed the caps to Iraqi soldiers and civilians, contractors and Coalition soldiers. “Sending even a little bit of home to the soldiers, sailors and airmen deployed in a combat zone lets us know that the folks back home support us and what we are doing,” Northen says.
MICHIGAN—On September 27, 2008, Al Hess (right), RMEF Thunder Bay Chapter chair, and Roger Blaha (left), former RMEF Michigan and Ohio regional director, presented a check for $1,940 to Brent Marlatt from the Atlanta, Michigan, Chamber of Commerce. Marlatt has been the driving force behind the renovation of Atlanta’s elk display located at the gateway to Pigeon River Elk Country. The RMEF state grant will help showcase a full-body mount of a locally harvested 6x6 bull elk and supply educational materials. The new elk display will be unveiled during the 25th Anniversary of the Atlanta Elk Festival on September 26, 2009.