Club Thanks Two Inspiring Volunteer Heroes

Doug and Debra Brown, Save the Manatee Club volunteers.
Deb and Doug Brown working hard volunteering after receiving their Manatee Hero medals from the Club.

By Janice Nearing
Director of Public Relations, Save the Manatee Club

“Unless someone like you cares a whole, awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
— Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

One day in 1988, Floridians Deb and Doug Brown decided it was time to roll up their sleeves and get busy – endangered manatees, after all, were in need of some serious attention. Out of that singular moment grew the Browns 24-year commitment to volunteering for Save the Manatee Club. Whether tabling at events around the state, giving manatee presentations, attending public meetings, helping at fundraisers, stuffing envelopes, building a display, even an interactive puzzle – they have greatly assisted the Club and the manatees, whom they wholeheartedly treasure.

Deb and Doug Brown
Staffing manatee education tables around the state is something the Browns thoroughly enjoy.

“We wanted to get involved with a cause where we felt there was a job that needed to be done,” explains Doug. Deb then says, “It’s about wanting to educate people and to help them understand why manatees are so important to our lives and to our environment. We’ve watched Save the Manatee Club grow through the years to become an essential voice for manatee protection and related issues and we are proud to help with that.”

When asked what drives them, what keeps them volunteering for over two decades, Deb & Doug say they have a “service ethic” which compels them to push to do as much as they can for the manatees.

In the past five years, Deb has adjusted her life to deal with the complexities of multiple sclerosis. “Although my endurance and mobility have been affected, we continue to participate in Club events,” says Deb. “We’d really like to train many more volunteers to help spread the word.”

In 2009, Save the Manatee Club awarded the Browns with Manatee Hero medals to honor these exceptional volunteers for their outstanding commitment to manatee education and public awareness.

“This is what we do,” says Doug. “We’ll keep driving on as long as we can for the manatees.”

Doug and family pooch “Tia” Brown tabling at the Right Whale Festival..
Doug and family pooch “Tia” Brown tabling at the Right Whale Festival in Jacksonville, Florida.


Sign Up to Volunteer!

You can help manatees by becoming a Save the Manatee Club volunteer. SMC volunteers staff tables at manatee-related events, engage in speaking presentations, help out in the SMC offices, write letters and send e-mails on issues of concern to manatees, and report information to manatee researchers. YOU can make a difference for manatees! Interested? Get a description of volunteer positions and fill out our online volunteer application form.