Volunteers Receive Milestone Award

By Janice Nearing, Director of Public Relations
Date: October 3, 2018

Doug and Debra Brown, Save the Manatee Club Volunteers
Volunteers Deb and Doug Brown are awarded gold tenure pins during the Blue Spring Manatee Festival in 2018 to recognize and honor three decades of remarkable manatee advocacy.

“Nothing is as strong as the heart of a volunteer.”  ~Jimmy Doolittle

It was a great pleasure this past winter (2018) to present stellar Save the Manatee Club volunteers Deb and Doug Brown from Lake City, Florida, with 30-year tenure pins in recognition of their outstanding dedication to our organization and the manatees.

Back in 1988, the Browns decided to get involved. “Doug and I were both working full time and taking classes when we started volunteering for the Club,” said Deb. “There were several times we’d staff an education table for the Club at events, and Doug would help set up and then go back and sleep in our van for a couple of hours because he had worked the midnight shift the night before.”

Steadfast through the years in their volunteerism, Deb and Doug give manatee presentations, attend public meetings, and assist at fundraisers. They even built their own manatee table display and created an interactive puzzle for tabling events.

‘We’d like to see more volunteers willing to get the gear they need to table at events and run with it,” explains Deb. “When we started out, the tables then were the heavy particle board conference tables with folding legs. We lugged that thing so many places until tables finally evolved to the lighter plastic “folding” six-foot table, which fits easily in most cars. Also, folding two-foot flat carts set up in a snap to handle almost anything you stack on them.”

30-Year Volunteer Pin
The pin for Save the Manatee Club volunteers who achieve 30 years of service.

The Browns claim what drives them is the desire to help manatees and other animals that can’t speak for themselves. They take on enough for three to four volunteers but wish that more volunteers would step up and take part. They welcome opportunities to train new volunteers, aware that a time will come when they can no longer do it all themselves.

Thank you to the Browns and all of our exceptional volunteers for your time and efforts devoted to helping the manatees.