92nd Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet

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The 92nd Annual PATC Member Meeting and Awards Banquet was a celebration of PATC volunteer work over the last year.  Two major public partners joined in the festivities, and many members enjoyed the fellowship and food.  The guest speaker was engaging and there was an important vote to amend the club’s constitution.

Club president Joe Lombardo gave his “state of the club” speech. Joe reviewed many of the accomplishments of the last year, attained despite challenges like extraordinary weather and a government shutdown.  He noted that the recognition the club received for its efforts was “attributable only to the great work you—our volunteers—do with the support of our staff, elected officers, committees and Council members.”  Full remarks

Recognition from Two Public Partners
Mary YonceWe were honored to have representatives from two important public partners— the Lee District of the U.S. Forest Service and Shenandoah National Park--make presentations recognizing the club’s work.  

Mary Yonce, the district ranger of the U. S. Forest Service’s Lee and North River Ranger Districts, honored the long relationship between the club and the Forest Service.  She noted that the first known activity between the two groups was held in February 1929. Now, 90 years later, the PATC maintains 225 miles of trails and three shelters in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.  In the past 10 years, PATC volunteers have contributed over 60,000 volunteer hours, valued at about $1.1 million to the Forest Service. Mary also mentioned that the club had received the Chief’s Enduring Service Award in recognition of the long relationship between the PATC and the Forest Service.

Jennifer Flynn, Superintendent of Shenandoah National Park, honored the club in a different way. She highlighted one PATC member, Phil Paschall, Supervisor of Lands, for his tireless work in the acquisition of a tract of property southwest of the Park.  The complicated transaction involved many parties including both state and federal agencies.  The transaction will eventually add land to the state-owned Deep Run Ponds Natural Area Preserve and Shenandoah National Park.  The club will end up owning a small portion of the property.  This complex win-win-win was the result of Phil’s dogged hard work.  Flynn presented Phil with a plaque to honor his support of the Park and the outdoor community.

Treasurer’s Report
Club treasurer Michael Filchock gave an overview of the state of the club’s finances.  He provided a one-page handout [pdf] that depicting the general financial status of the club. One figure on the report (see right) is particularly helpful to those who want to understand how the club applies its resources—both volunteer labor and money. The club, whose core mission is trail maintenance, allocates over half its time and money to trails and shelters.

Keynote Speaker
Jeff MarionDr. Jeff Marion was the keynote speaker. He is a recreation ecologist with special interest in the Appalachian Trail.  Appropriately for an audience of trail maintainers, Jeff explained his research on human impact on the trail and, with particular emphasis, on the Annapolis Rocks on the AT in Maryland.  He discussed his findings on the best practices to provide camping opportunities for trail users, while reducing adverse impacts on the land.

Myron Avery Award
A central purpose of the evening is to recognize the great work of the club’s many volunteers. The featured award, named for the club’s founder Myron Avery, goes to the outstanding volunteer of the year.  Jim Fetig was the worthy recipient this year. His many duties involve both leadership and hard work. See the comments of President Joe Lombardo on Jim and his award.

Other Awards
There were several other awards.  Those were:

In Memoriam

We were saddened to learn of the passing of the following club members in the last year:

Mary Ellen Abrecht, Erma C Cameron, Jim Corwith, Marjorie Dexter, Oliver Flint, Robert Gallagher, Thomas B Hall, Rosemary Holland, Edward D. Lawler, William G Melson, Robert Miller, Ronald A Munson, Patricia Ostermann, Bonnie Reiff, Irmelle L. Small, Samuel A. Tucker, Kenneth Utter

Honorary Life: These awards are given to members who have contributed to many areas of the club over a long period of time and have shown outstanding service.  This year’s recipients were Steve Barber, John Corwith, Chris Firme, and David House.

50-Year Members: This award honors those who have been PATC members for half a century.  See the list of 50-year members below.  Oliver Flint’s widow and daughter accepted the honor on his behalf.

Hawksbill Awards: Each team in the club may designate a Hawksbill recipient-- the volunteer who stands out among his or her peers.  It is an important honor. See the list below.

Service Awards: Recipients of Service Awards are those who have fulfilled a volunteer assignment diligently.  These members are the core of the club and, not surprisingly, many receive this award. 


Appreciation Awards
This recognition goes to non-members who make significant contributions to the club’s mission.  There were two recipients this year.  The first was Stephanie Chapman.  Stephanie is an interpretive specialist with the Lee Ranger District of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests. Her duties include working with volunteers including PATC members. In this role she is very helpful and competent. She is the key to the coordination and effectiveness of the work of our club and the many other user groups in the National Forest.

The other Appreciation Award recipient was Skip McManamay. Skip went above and beyond to repair roads on PATC property that had been damaged in the storms of the last year.  Those who drove on PATC property, including many cabin renters, benefited from his great work.

Constitutional Amendment
At the meeting, the membership voted on a Council-approved amendment to the club’s constitution.  The amendment was not controversial, but it was important.  The membership voted overwhelmingly, 167 to 12, to approve it. While the amendment is technical, it is designed to allow Council to govern more efficiently.  Particularly, the amendment will lead to more efficient elections for club officers.  Up to date constitution and bylaws

A Great Event

Banquet Brigade

These members made an extra contribution to the club when purchasing their event tickets:

Michael Allen, Michael Brown, Pete Brown, Ron Burger, Steph Danahy, Pat Fankhauser, Jim Fetig, Chris Firme, Ric Francke, Lisa Frehill, Maston Gray, Tom Gregg, Richard Heath, John Hedrick, Steve Huntley, Wayne Limberg, Dolores Lombardo, Joseph Lombardo, Robert Look, Lloyd MacAskill, Lee Manning, Steve McLaughlin, Mark Newsom, Dave Pierce, John Stacy, Mark Trostle, Thomas Troutman, Glen Tsaparas, Kristine Villatoro, Nyna Williams

The evening was a great success.  Members from different parts of the club came together for good food and fellowship. It was a class act in the PATC style--few coats and ties, but also few soiled work shirts or muddy boots.  

The event was the result of much work by a few people, who contributed a great deal of time and effort.  The Supervisor of Membership, Michael Brown, was responsible for the evening.  He received great support from the club’s staff at headquarters in Vienna.  The quality of this event is just one indication of the skill and hard work of the club’s staff.

There are many ways the club could hold its annual members meeting.  Is this the best way?  Some would disagree. But this continues to be a very good way.  It was an enjoyable celebration of the valuable contribution that the PATC makes to outdoor recreation.


Photos on this page from top right: Mary Yonce, Jeff Marion, dinner scene.  All photos by Rachel Rahm.