Each year the RiverLink board of directors selects non-board member volunteers to honor. These CriticaLinks have distiquished themselves through their long-term efforts, creativity, persistence and impact and earned this special recognition. In the past RiverLink has honored such notables at Margie Eblen, Joe Eblen, Margie Maxwell, Mr. James Green, Art Streppa, Maylyn Seyler, Jim and Peggy Brazell, Jean Webb, Sally Rhoades, Jane Mathews, Kate Mathews, Bob Bowles, Walt Damtoft and a host of other terrific volunteers who helped make the organization better because of their involvement. According to Karen Cragnolin, executive director of RiverLink, “Our legion of volunteers inspire us and challenge us with their engery and leadership. We could not do and accomplish so much with our small professional staff without our dedicated and long-term volunteer teams.”
This year the RiverLink board is delighted to honor the following CriticaLinks 2013 for their work to improve the French Broad River and its watershed as a destination for everyone to live, work and play.
Ginny Hunneke– Ginny is one of those quiet volunteers who takes on an idea, thinks outside the box and gets the job done. She never wants the limelight for what she has accomplished on behalf of French Broad River watershed revitalization efforts. She has been gifting RiverLink for decades with her work and her wisdom. Having run a business Ginny brought good old common sense to every task she undertook on RiverLink’s behalf. Well over a decade ago Ginny became acting volunteer-volunteer coordinator, researched other organizations’ manuals from around the country, developed a “best practices” manual for RiverLink staff and energized our volunteer efforts through her own “best practices.” Ginny’s efforts helped us get where we are today with over 1,700 volunteers. Most recently Ginny served on the Anything That Floats Boat Parade Committee and has been a significant volunteer and creative voice for RiverMusic in its formative stages. This year she created “thank-you” books for sponsors that captured the essence of RiverMusic in photos as a fun, river-oriented event for the family.
Suzanne Hudson – Suzanne is a familiar face to many of the non-profits around town both as a donor and as a volunteer. She works hard at understanding a non-profit’s specific mission statement and is always trying to help the non-profit meet and exceed expectations at its own program of work. For several years Suzanne helped fund RiverLink AmeriCorps positions. As a music lover she saw the need for a music event that would bring people to the river to experience the French Broad. Her help in inspiring RiverLink’s RiverMusic as a series of free concerts in the heart of the urban riverfront cannot be over estimated.
W.D. Reed – W.D. is a “go to” type of guy. When just about any idea or project at RiverLink needs a volunteer, a worker, someone to help implement it and get it done – we all think, “Call W.D.!” When we needed construction help, he stepped up. When we needed help parking cars at RiverMusic, he stepped up. We needed an event videotaped, and W.D. was there to help. He is a native and a part of the Reed family that the Reed Creek Greenway is named for. W.D. has a BS, Construction Management and Business from Western Carolina University and 10 years of construction experience, and holds a Building General Contractor’s License. He is co-owner of Old Friends Realty and Development Co. LLC.
Sharon and Vic Fahrer – We think of this couple as our two-for-one helpers. When we do a volunteer call and neither Sharon nor Vic responds immediately, we are pretty sure they are volunteering with one of our collaborating partners like the Preservation Society or the Montford Neighborhood Association. The Fahrers’ impact on WNC is impressive. Sharon has become an expert local historian and created tours and interpretative panels about important people and places like the kiosks she did for us of Wilma Dykeman and her legacy that have helped bring history alive for children and adults of all ages. Sharon and Vic are often the last people to leave an event and are always willing to help take down a tent, or pack a car. One time we ran out of ice at RiverMusic and Vic jumped in his car and delivered it to the event and refused repayment.
Curt Crowhurst – You could call Curt a long time river lover. He served on the board of directors for the French Broad River Foundation back in the 1980s before the foundation was merged into RiverLink. For RiverLink he has been a hands-on volunteer, helping us set up and take down events, solicit event vendors from food trucks to arts and crafts vendors as well as serve on numerous committees where he always offers sage advice. Curt is always helping our small staff, and is one of the very last to go home no matter how late or how long events last because he is there to help us close down, pack, load and put away tents, coolers, chairs and whatever else was needed to make the event successful. If Curt is not at a RiverLink event helping us make it better, he is probably recreating out on the river — fishing, camping, observing and reporting issues. Curt is a volunteer who understands the importance of a clean and vibrant river and is willing to spend a good deal of his free time helping to keep it clean and working with us to enable others to enjoy this incredible and historic resource.