Volunteer of the Year 2017

Volunteer of the Year 2017 ~ Larry Flinner

Congratulations to our 2017 Volunteer of the Year!

Larry Flinner has been an amazing asset and a blessing here at WAVE. He literally gives his time, effort and energy to multiple education programs. He helps WAVE with: WAVE on Wheels outreach programs, teaching Finstitute classes, educating NAQ guests at the Discovery Station, and campers with his trips from all around the world! He has recorded the work we do in our community and helped us tell our story. Larry does this with authenticity, reliability and truthfulness. He always makes us smile. He always comes in and makes a joke or has a great story to tell. He is a person you want to be around. He shows us his heart every day when he comes into help us out. Larry is the definition of “unselfish”. This trait can be hard to find this day and age and his perspective and willingness to talk with truthfulness encourages our goal of continuous improvement. Larry is an incredible educator who always makes time for us when we need him.

We can’t think of a more deserving volunteer than Larry Flinner.

2017 Volunteer of the Month

January 2017 – Jeff Denham – Patience

Jeff Denhham is a volunteer in husbandry and is nominated by Jen Hazeres. Jen said she immediately thought of Jeff for the Volunteer of the Month – Patience. She stated that he is very dedicated as a volunteer here at the Aquarium. Jeff travels two hours one-way every Wednesday to volunteer in husbandry. In his five years, Jeff has been through several interns and each time he seems genuinely patient to allow each of the interns to learn and take the wheel when he is working with them, and watch while they are learning all the details. Jen really appreciates everything Jeff does for her and the Aquarium and his patience of working with others.

February 2017 – Tori Liles – Kind

Tori Liles is one of our education interns at the WAVE Foundation. Not only is she a great educator but she is excellent help with the animals. Tori is wonderful and kind when talking to students and teachers during school visits. On a recent outreach during the shark cart presentation, the kindergarten students were all very nervous to touch the sharks, but Tori talked each one through the process from feeling the water to finally touching the sharks. By taking the time to do this, each student was able to see how safe and amazing the sharks are. Tori’s kindness helped make the students’ experience worthwhile, which is what made her the perfect candidate for the kindness award.

March 2017 – Alle Barber – Humble

Alle Barber is one of our husbandry interns at the WAVE Foundation. Alle is very kind hearted and humbly goes throughout her day without calling attention to herself. Alle is always doing so much for others and never asks or expect things in return. She never blinks an eye at helping others and does not require praise or feedback on her performance. Alle shows respect and is courteous to all who she meets. Being a selfless co-worker and a wonderful volunteer is why Alle was chosen as our “Humble” Volunteer of the Month.

April 2017 – Melanie Wolfer – Trusting

Melanie has been a tremendous help in the Marketing Department as a PR volunteer. She has taken on projects for some of our biggest campaigns, all while making our days better. Melanie put together two dozen media kits for our Shark Bridge announcement for the 2-millionth crossing. I knew I could trust her in gathering the items and assembling the media kits. She also created a social media campaign surrounding the 2-millionth crossing, as well as gathered pictures to help promote the crossing. Melanie also produced a campaign to help promote Newport Aquarium’s nomination for USA Today’s 10 Best Aquariums. She often takes the initiative to create content that we post on social media, and the Newport Aquarium blog – and she does so in a kindhearted nature. This is what makes Melanie a great candidate for April’s “Trusting” Volunteer of the Month.

May 2017 – Kathy Dye – Unselfish

Congratulations to Kathy Dye, a volunteer diver and WAVE Foundation Board Member, who shows great characteristics of being unselfish. She is always willing to lend a hand when needed as a diver or Board Member. She is also willing to reach beyond the glass & give the guests a memory worth repeating. Kathy was in the Tide Pool area cleaning one of the exhibits, when a little girl came up to the glass & wanted to see her, Kathy showed what it takes to be unselfish & took time out of cleaning to play with the little girl & her mom. She easily could have just waved & continued to clean, but she wanted to make a memory worth repeating. When the guests when home they wanted to thank Kathy, so the young girl wrote a thank you note & sent it to the Dive Safety Officers to pass along. Thank you Diver Kathy for showing how easy it is to be unselfish when in a working environment & how easy it is to think of others and to make a memory worth repeating.

June 2017 – Kristen Guevara – Forgiving

Congratulations to Kristen Guevara, a cast member and husbandry volunteer. Kristen recently took time out of her busy morning volunteering to demonstrate what she does as volunteer, permitting photographs of her feeding seahorses and cleaning tanks for a Takeover Tuesday. A perfect example of Kristen’s forgiving nature is that same morning she was asked if she could help Exhibits and fill in to help with a Penguin Sunrise due to the cast being unexpectedly short-handed. Without hesitation, Kristen immediately called Laurel to let her know, and worked out a plan to finish her duties before 10 so that she could do the Sunrise. And she did! Kristen did so in such a kind hearted and positive manner, and did not dwell on the fact that someone had called in, changing her plans for the morning. By simply saying yes and looking for how she could help, she made so many people’s day better that morning – including cast and all the guests who attended the Penguin Sunrise.

July 2017 – Maryann Meadows – Truthful

Maryann has been an excellent addition to the conservation education department at WAVE. She constantly displays a good kindhearted nature when she is helping others. For example, at Riversweep she came in early and stayed late making sure everything was set and ready to go. She greeted volunteers at the registration table with a cute puppy and a smile! She did not mind getting dirty and then immediately showered and took a group on a BTS tour. No matter what is asked of her, she does it with a genuine happiness that is absolutely contagious. Also, with her current intern project, she has been asked and gives truthful, honest feedback on all WAVE work. If she believes her idea will help our department, she is open and truthful about her opinion, which we value very much. Thanks Maryann for all the you do for us!

August 2017 – Chip Wehmer – Dedication

Join us in congratulating our August Volunteer of the Month, Chip Wehmer! The August theme is dedication. Chip has been our volunteer diver since 2000! He has been a volunteer diver for 17 years and has over 1,500 hours which we believe makes him a dedicated volunteer. He consistently shows up at least 2 times a month. He is always willing to work hard and go beyond his normal tasks. Chip really shines when he is helping to take less experienced volunteers to dive in the shark tank. After 17 years, Chip volunteers regularly and approaches each day with a smile and positive attitude, this is why we nominated Chip!

September 2017 Libby Shaffer – Team Player

Libby has been an integral part of WAVE’s recent successes. Even though she will refuse to take any credit, she has been an incredible team player and leader for our Foundation. Years ago, when the pitch was made to focus on expanding our outreach program, most of the board members resisted the idea. Libby was the biggest supporter, argued, and fought for the increased focus and attention on the outreach program. Without her support and willingness to go against the grain, WAVE Foundation would not be in its current positon of impacting over 60,000 community members each year! Whenever I have needed anything from Libby, she has always been there to listen, offer advice and support us in making our dreams become a reality. Libby is the definition of what it means to be a TEAM PLAYER.

October 2017 – Sam Koch – Innovative

Sam started as a Jr. Camp Counselor in 2014 with WAVE Foundation. He went away to school and when he came back, Sam began volunteering in our animal care. He has shown his innovation in his implementation of enrichment for our reptile collection. Sam has created various enrichment items that have improved our animal’s lives and has a drive to keep creating more. He has worked closely with our herp team to find the best way to create these items efficiently with materials we already have in house.

November 2017 – Dr. Jerry Carpenter – Congeniality

Help us congratulate Dr. Jerry Carpenter for the Congeniality Award. Dr. Carpenter is a special volunteer; he is a teacher, a mentor, a coach, a father and a steward of good feeling. He has taught and inspired many of the current and past biologists at the Newport Aquarium. Even after his retirement from Science Chair at NKU, he has stayed involved in personal experiments to identify new and rare species. That is amazing on its own but unlike most researchers he shares his expeditions and his successes with students. Dr. Carpenter is always teaching, always listening, always positive. He is an inspiration to us all as a scientist, as a teacher and as a conservationist.