Not Your Everyday Kind of Guy
By Lena Viall, Bugle Intern
In the winter of 1994, Joe Treadway held a meeting in his basement in Asheville, North Carolina, to talk about starting an RMEF chapter. A few months later, the Smoky Mountains Chapter held its first fundraising banquet. But Treadway’s talent for leadership didn’t stop there; it has evolved over 15 years from chapter chair to state chair to regional chair and now chairman of the RMEF board.
It’s not every day that friends and coworkers get together to hold a banquet honoring a good friend—but then again, Treadway is not your everyday kind of guy. On April 4, 2009, members of the Great Smoky Mountains Chapter held a dinner honoring Treadway for all the work he’s done for the chapter and foundation since 1994 and to celebrate his recent election as RMEF’s chairman of the board.
“We’re behind him 100 percent,” says Joyce Cooper, 22-year member and co-organizer of the banquet. “He’s a person you can always depend on.”
In all, more than 70 people including RMEF staff and volunteers, local conservationists, Vice Chief Larry Blyther, from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.) and RMEF CEO David Allen all showed up to swap memories, celebrate chapter accomplishments and show their respect for a man who’s put his heart and soul into the Elk Foundation.
The new chairman, however, is quick to brush aside his own efforts and focus on his fellow volunteers. “I’ve been involved with the chapter since day one, but those folks never cease to amaze me,” says Treadway. “Give ‘em a task and they do it to the ultimate.”
The Great Smoky Mountains Chapter has accomplished plenty—including helping get elk reintroduced into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “A lot of folks worked really hard through the years to get elk restored here. I was proud to be a part of it,” he says.
Elected chairman of the board in August 2008, Treadway is determined to carry on the RMEF legacy of hard work and grassroots projects. “We’re very fortunate for the volunteers we have. There are bright days ahead of us,” he says.
“Joe’s a guy who’s put a lot of sweat equity into this organization,” says Dale Miller, major gifts officer for the East. “He believes deeply in the mission. And on top of that he’s just a great guy.”