We had an exceptional Annual Meeting in Bozeman, on April 29th. We had two very interesting speakers: Jim Goetz, from Goetz Law Firm, and the newly appointed director of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Martha Williams. They were both well received by the audience.
I am honored to be elected president of this very special organization. But, I have to say, John Gibson’s shoes will be hard to fill. He has been president for over 25 years. The two of us have been involved in many situations over the years and I can honestly say we have been successful, because we only deal in facts! There are others that have contributed and I would like to express my thanks to each of them.
Tony Schoonen – Tony has been involved longer than John and I. He kept the organization running when there was no help. I replaced Tony as treasurer in 2008. He handed me the check book with approximately $2,000. He had to keep the Goetz Law firm working for us by paying them $1,700 a month, when there was at least that amount in the bank.
Dennis Grundman – Dennis came to us and immediately saw the need to increase membership. He took on the task of mailing to individuals and sportsman groups to ask for money and increase membership. He did that and our membership began to grow.
Tom Harmon – Tom introduced our organization to the world of the internet. He put together our first website and was instrumental in helping with The Key newsletter.
Ray and Colter Pearson – Ray and Colter came to a meeting, asked for a few minutes to introduce an updated website. They also presented the case for us to establish our membership program on the internet. The process they asked us to buy into would include the ability to mail membership notices quarterly to make sure every member was notified when their membership was not current. It has been very successful and our membership has greatly increased. Ray is now the treasurer of PLWA. He is also our communications director. Ray works with Kathryn on producing our various communication media and doing investigations on access issues.
JW Westman – JW has been our Secretary for approximately 5 years. We do our best to meet his work schedule and many times the meeting dates are set to accommodate his work schedule. We appreciate his contribution along with his other priorities.
Kim Bar – Kim is our financial wizard. She produces monthly financial statements and keeps me in line on the register and deposits.
Jen Adams – I can’t thank Jen enough. She is responsible for keeping our membership up to date. This involves keeping the addresses current and insuring we are not double-billing anyone. She has been very successful in this endeavor for the last few years.
Glenn Elison – Glenn supports our cause by writing much needed grant proposals for PLWA. He knows a lot of people and is familiar with sporting organizations that support our cause.
Lee Gustafson – Lee has been an advisor and contributor for the many years. He chooses to remain in the background, but his advice is always given consideration.
Kathryn QannaYahu – Kat is our producer for our various communication media. She is an excellent investigator and can do much needed research from the computer and other areas she deems necessary.
And last but not least, Dale Spartas (Sparky). Dale come on board approximately 2 years ago and served as our Vice President last year. He was the instigator of the “Ales for Access” fundraising events at micro breweries in Livingston and Bozeman. They were both very successful and we plan on doing more of these activities, they are good fundraisers. Sparky also was responsible for bringing some much needed youth to our directors positions by encouraging Hayes Goosey to run for a position. Hayes was elected to a 3 year term.
There are many other people that have contributed to our cause, including those who contribute through donations. We thank each and every one of you.
I also think it is appropriate to mention our responsibilities as directors, officers and members. As you are aware, we are now and have been involved in law suits on access issues. We need to remind ourselves, that when we are in these situations, anything we say as PLWA members is discoverable in the court case. But, as an individual, you may of course, speak your mind.
This got rather lengthy, but I felt we needed to recognize the people that make PLWA run.
And remember what Texas Bix Bender says, “If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.”
Bernard W. Lea