ATLANTA — Robin Clark of Charlottesville, Va. and Mark and Connie Cook of Greenwood, S.C. have something in common. They are outstanding Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF volunteers who are dedicated to helping others. To honor their efforts, Clark and the Cooks were named the 2007 Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF Volunteers of the Year at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Convention and Sport Show held Feb. 21 to Feb. 24 in Atlanta, Ga.
An accident more than 30 years ago left Clark disabled physically but empowered to help and encourage others. His passion for providing opportunities for others is evident in the volunteer work he contributes to the Wheelin’ Sportsmen program.
Clark helps coordinate over 20 events a year in Virginia that offer people with disabilities a chance to hunt, fish and experience the outdoors. He serves as the state’s volunteer Wheelin’ Sportsmen coordinator and as a member of the state chapter board. Billy Hall, a NWTF regional director in Virginia, said, “Since day one as a volunteer, Robin has been passionate about his role with the NWTF and the Wheelin’ Sportsmen program.”
Clark, after the presentation, said: “These awards are for everyone involved. Everyone works so hard to hold these events.”
The same passion describes Mark and Connie Cook, who together coordinated three Wheelin’ Sportsmen events each year for the past five years. They raised funds for the Wheelin’ events by hosting several NWTF sanctioned Still Target Shoots. As active members of the Neil “Gobbler” Cost Chapter, the couple serves the NWTF in many ways. Mark is also the South Carolina state chapter Wheelin’ Sportsmen chairman and member of the state chapter board of directors.
When faced with personal crisis and family obligations, the Cooks continued volunteering their time to the Wheelin’ Sportsmen program. NWTF regional director in South Carolina, Terry LeCroy, said of the Cooks, “Mark and Connie are exceptional examples of what volunteers can be. I don’t know how they could do more.”
According to the Cooks, they do the events because it’s the right thing to do: “I didn’t do the events to get the award. The plaque is just an extra.”
Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF offers all outdoorsmen and women with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors through events held in communities across the nation featuring hunting, fishing and shooting activities. The program also provides a full-color, quarterly magazine for its members. Wheelin’ Sportsmen magazine is dedicated to the education and entertainment of disabled outdoors enthusiasts.