Club Thanks Two Inspiring Volunteer Heroes
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.
“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.”