Yes, we DID IT AGAIN!!! It is amazing how AWESOME our OTA volunteers are at meeting and exceeding the goals we put before them. As 152 volunteers gathered at Bass’ River Resort in Crawford County we were greeted with receding waters and sunny skies in the anticipation of making history on the Berryman Trail this past weekend.
Even before the work day began Saturday, volunteers were already reaping the fruits of their labors by receiving a FREE pair of SMARTWOOL socks! The ER crew aka “Early Risers,” led by Todd Horn with co-leader Robert Smith, set out at 8:00 a.m. with 25 volunteers to complete the south re-route on the Berryman Trail. Then under a blue sky, OTA President Steve Coates welcomed everyone and introduced Angie Bono representing the Alpine Shop, the sponsor of yet another remarkable MEGA event. Also introduced were 6 members of the Student Conservation Association who had just completed their employment the day before and decided to finish up by joining up the OTA by building trail.
Co-Crew manager Kathie Brennan addressed the three rules in building trail: “Stay safe, have fun and build trail,” then challenged the group that if they completed what was at hand, then they will have finished two major re-routes of the Berryman Trail. Volunteers then broke into their respective crews, loading up into vehicles to “hit the trail.” along the new re-route sections. Crews converged on the north and south construction areas in full force and by noon were seeing results. By 3:00 p.m. Kathie declared the re-route completed, volunteers helped load tools and it was back to the campground for the evening festivities.
Before dinner, volunteers were each presented with a FREE OTA volunteer “You Couldn’t Pay Me to Do This” t-shirt. As usual, Chef Jeff Goetter provided another fine dinner of burgers, brats, and stuffed bell peppers. After dinner activities centered on celebrating milestones; Rick Henry was awarded his OTA Red Jacket for his participation with trail construction and maintenance events. Renee Wrest, the new Adopt-A-Trail coordinator was introduced, and we thanked Robert Smith for his dedication to the program. Then the Alpine Shop was given center stage as Angie Bono presented a check for $10,000 signifying the support the OTA had received for the MEGA. As always the much anticipated raffle and silent auction was a huge success, raising over $3,500 for the OTA. Then as we gathered around the bonfire listening to awesome bluegrass music supplied by the Wayward Moutaineers band, the stars were out along with flashes of lightening, but never did we feel the rain retiring to our tents later in the night.
This was our 15th Mega Event, and we still remember that it is without John Roth leading the charge. But the determination of many OTA volunteers has kept the passion alive and not without notice. Many, many thanks go out to Matt Atnip and Kathie Brennan for taking the lead along with all who assisted in the preparation of this event before, during and after the MEGA. The OTA is only going to be as good as its volunteers and we know that we have the MOST AWESOME volunteers that can be found. Thank you for all you do, OTA!
…. More photos can be found here: OTA Mega Event Photos on Flickr