2012 Volunteer Appreciation Night
By Brian Benson, Community Engagement Director
On Tuesday, January 31st, over 60 volunteers and staff came together in the bike shop to celebrate another phenomenal year for the volunteer program. The shop was full of familiar faces, and it felt less like a nonprofit event, more like a family reunion.
Alison Graves, our Executive Director, kicked things off by offering the first and most eloquent of the evening’s 952 thank-yous. She then shared some exciting details about our plans for the coming year and the important role that volunteers will play in supporting our work.
Next, and with the help of some stunning visuals (read: doodles on butcher paper), we looked back upon a year that saw volunteers contributing as never before. In 2011, 96 volunteers contributed 30 hours or more, and 29 gave over 100 hours. Our amazing supporters turned out in all-time high numbers at our Drop-In sessions, raised a record sum at Cycle Oregon, played a huge role in overhauling our bike shop and got our brand-new Guest Mechanic program off to a rollicking start!
We then paused to celebrate some new faces in the Volunteer Program. Staff and volunteers alike gave a warm welcome to Randi Orth, who’s taking the helm of this amazing program, and Evan Burgad, the new Holiday Bike Drive Coordinator.
At last, it was time for the Golden Bike Awards. Before this event, staff had prepared by pulling all the parts from a dusty old kid’s bike and spray-painting them gold. Amid laughter and smiles, these awards, and some stunningly bad metaphors, were presented to truly outstanding volunteers. Staff honored volunteers who assist with everything from building Create a Commuter bikes to making Holiday Bike Drive videos to co-teaching Maintenance Classes.
Dave and Eli Wuollet, a father-son team, are some of our most committed Drop-In volunteers, and they received a golden seat post award at the event. “I really love how all the staff and volunteers seem to genuinely enjoy being and working together,” Dave shared in an email after the event. “I think I saw quite a few watery eyes.”
All night long we stuffed ourselves silly, feasting upon delicious tamales from La Bonita and cookies generously donated by Bob’s Red Mill. And throughout the night, we handed out some awesome raffle prizes, donated by Nutcase, Russell St. BBQ, Bob’s Red Mill, Nossa Familia Coffee and Good Sport Promotion. We want to thank our sponsors and supporters for making this special night possible.
And most of all, we want to thank our volunteers for giving us so much to celebrate. We deeply appreciate everything you help us accomplish, and we’re just as grateful for the friendships formed along the way.
Photos by Anne Lee