BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — Jon Aulbert of Spring, Texas, and Corey LeRiche of Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, are Delta Waterfowl’s top volunteers for 2022.
The Delta Waterfowl Volunteer of the Year Award, which is sponsored by Stoeger, is presented to recognize the extraordinary effort and achievement of top chapter leaders. The collective effort of more than 5,000 Delta Waterfowl dedicated volunteers across the United States and Canada advances the goals of The Duck Hunters Organization to produce ducks and to secure the future of waterfowl hunting.
Each of Delta’s 305 chapters had the opportunity to nominate a candidate to be considered for the award. The pool of chapter nominees was narrowed to nine finalists. The selection committee then chose Aulbert and LeRiche, both whom have demonstrated the highest degree of commitment to the Delta’s mission and ideals.
LeRiche hails from the Sou’Wes Newfoundland Chapter in Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland. His chapter has led Canada in net revenue for the past two years, in large part because of this savvy volunteer. When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in-person events, LeRiche wasn’t discouraged. Instead, he embraced innovative fundraising strategies. The online raffles and silent auctions he initiated raised the funds to enroll 60 first-time hunters in Hunter Safety Certification, lead shoreline cleanups and fund additional events.
“During the pandemic, Corey LeRiche embraced the diversity of problems that we encountered in eastern Canada,” said John Clements, Delta’s regional director of Atlantic Canada. “His ability to adapt was nothing short of epic.”
LeRiche’s commitment to finding creative solutions — even in the most challenging times — has allowed him to continually improve the chapter and contribute to his local community.
Aulbert has been instrumental in transforming the North Houston Chapter of Spring, Texas, into a force for waterfowl conservation. Upon stepping into a leadership role in 2019, Aulbert led the chapter to double its past net revenue. In 2021, Aulbert hosted the chapter’s first youth hunt in six years. Demonstrating dogged determination, Aulbert had the hunt organized, funded and implemented in just two weeks. Every one of the participants came away with a duck, as well as valuable knowledge about shotgun safety, skeet shooting, dog handling, hunting laws, and bird cleaning and cooking.
“Aulbert is a model volunteer who truly bleeds Delta Waterfowl,” said Jason Douglas, regional director for Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. “I can always count on him to go above and beyond.”
Aulbert’s contributions extend beyond his immediate community: He also helped with the Texas Trophy Hunters Expo in Fall 2021 and is supporting the founding of a new Delta chapter in Texas this year. Aulbert is a model steward of Delta Waterfowl’s ideals and priorities.
Delta’s 2022 Volunteer of the Year program is generously supported by Stoeger, a celebrated manufacturer of “Every Day Tough” inertia-driven shotguns. Aulbert and LeRiche — as well as their chapters — will receive a prize package from Stoeger.
The other seven finalists are:
1000 Islands Chapter
Kiecks dedicated his time and energy to organize and expand Delta’s Veteran Hunt program in his chapter and neighboring areas. He’s passionate, too, about mentoring new waterfowl hunters, and is known for his selfless and welcoming attitude. Kiecks has worked with the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry to contribute to and improve waterfowl management efforts in Ontario.
Stander’s ability to maintain key sponsorships helped the chapter net $28,000 at its virtual fundraiser. Even beyond his immediate community, the vice chairman has found creative ways to promote Delta Waterfowl. He established a University Hunt Program, initiated a podcast partnership with Panoramic Outdoors, and mentored field day hunts with youth and first-time hunters. His innovative approach to fundraising and community engagement have enhanced his chapter’s success and impact throughout Manitoba.
Chautauqua Lake Chapter
Bemus Point, New York
Anderson, the founder and chairman for the Chautauqua Lake Chapter, raised more than $16,000 from an early fall dinner. The chapter used its Waterfowl Heritage Funds toward community programs such as First Hunt, youth involvement in Hen House projects and a lake cleanup. This soft-spoken leader has a steadfast commitment to Delta Waterfowl. As well as supporting three other chapter dinners, Anderson also donated his own photographs to help raise funds.
Albemarle Sound Chapter
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
In addition to his efforts toward recruitment and fundraising, Williard serves as the First Hunt chairman on the North Carolina State Committee. In this role, he planned and executed critical hunter recruitment events. For the past five years, Williard has also procured a permit for a tract of land in Eastern North Carolina, allowing the chapter to maintain 85 nesting structures. His commitment is evident both within his chapter and throughout the Atlantic Flyway. In the past year, Williard has attended nine fundraising events in North Carolina and other regions.
Pierre, South Dakota
This tenacious banquet director was responsible for organizing an event that netted over $200,000 for Delta Waterfowl. The ambitious endeavor was powered by Underhill’s devoted time and effort. In his community of Pierre, South Dakota, Underhill works hard to secure a bright future by mentoring youth hunters and recruiting new committee members, some of whom are leaders in the chapter.
Eden Valley, Minnesota
Kipf played an essential role in fundraising efforts for the LDC chapter in Eden Valley, Minnesota. Not only did the young co-chairman exceed the previous chapter revenue record by $4,000, but he also enhanced hunting opportunity by instating a large dock and other hunting structures for the chapter’s use. He demonstrates an unflinching commitment to his chapter, surrounding communities and Delta Waterfowl.
Butler County Chapter
El Dorado, Kansas
In 2021, Dawson led his chapter to nearly double their event income to more than $27,000. His fundraising panache can be attributed to his ability to recruit volunteers, sponsors, donors and attendees. Dawson has a passion for local hunter recruitment and runs a youth mentorship program. He is a vocal representative for Delta Waterfowl — both locally and beyond — and frequently advocates for hunter access issues in his state.
Collectively, these chapter volunteers embody the spirit of The Duck Hunters Organization. Their tenacious efforts are a crucial component of Delta’s ability to continually strive to secure the future of waterfowl hunting in North America.
“While every Delta volunteer is worthy of recognition and plays an essential role in the success of the Duck Hunters Organization on the local and national levels, these volunteers represent some of the best of the best,” said Dr. Scott Petrie, CEO of Delta Waterfowl. “The passion and commitment displayed at every level radiates throughout the entirety of the organization. Volunteers are without a doubt the driving force behind the continued success of Delta’s vision for ducks and duck hunting.”
Delta Waterfowl is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the future of duck hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.
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