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National Deer Association Announces 2022 Branch Achievement Award Winners

NDA’s mission to secure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting could not be realized without the tireless work of grassroots volunteers. While the efforts and achievements of all Branches and volunteers are appreciated, NDA is proud to highlight a few who went above and beyond by recognizing the 2022 Branch Achievement Award winners.

“I have really enjoyed getting to know many of our outstanding volunteers,” said Kristen Schnepp-Giger, NDA Director of Grassroots Support. “For each Branch or individual award recipient, there were several others who were in the hunt. I wish I could personally thank everyone who donated their time, talent, and resources to drive the mission of the NDA forward and help keep us United for Deer!”

The 2022 awards and recipients are as follows:

The NDA New Branch of the Year award went to the Ozark Mountain Mark Twain Branch of Missouri. For their first fundraiser, the Branch held a raffle that raised $1,100.00 and gained 23 new members from their raffle, with the majority of those being new hunters or people interested in becoming a hunter. The Branch also assisted with a senior Field to Fork event, wildlife cooperative meetings, a Learn to Hunt Whitetail Camp for women, and organized their own public land cleanup event.

The NDA Branch of the Year award went to the Thumb Area Branch of Michigan. The Branch has consistently held one of the biggest and best banquets in Michigan and has used the revenue raised to advance hunting and meet the needs of their community. They have a long list of accomplishments from the 2022 calendar year.

The Coastal Empire Branch of Georgia earned the Community Engagement Branch of the Year award by making community involvement its trademark since its inception by forging direct partnerships with over 50 corporate sponsors from not only the greater Savannah area, but across the U.S. and Internationally. By leveraging the fundraising and participation of its Sportsman’s Banquet, the Coastal Empire Branch is able to support community events and organizations across the state.

Mike Ketelaar received the NDA Branch President of the Year award. Mike is a selfless leader who took the reins of the West Central Michigan Branch amid a turnaround and recruited a large team of Branch leaders and volunteers to help get the Branch back on track. In addition to leading his local Branch, Mike has mentored numerous hunters, organized educational seminars and outreach events, and took over as the keeper and organizer of all the NDA expo materials and merchandise for the state of Michigan.

Jennifer Hodge McLain was named the NDA Volunteer of the Year. Jennifer is currently Vice President of the Lake Murray Branch of South Carolina, where she uses her passion for fundraising and events to engage her community. She is the event coordinator for the Branch and is the lead organizer of their annual banquet and their secondary events, which includes an oyster roast in the fall.

The River City Branch of Virginia received the NDA Event of the Year award for their annual Wheelin Sportsmen Hunt. This December hunt is organized for anyone who is disabled and needs assistance getting afield. Over the years the branch has hosted people who have been affected from birth, injured during an accident, including a tree stand victim, as well as men and women from the armed forces injured during combat. This hunt has been going on for close to 15 years and usually averages around 20 hunters.

Learn more about NDA’s 2022 Branch Achievement award winners.

About the National Deer Association

The National Deer Association is the leading non-profit deer conservation group and works to ensure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting. Formed by combining the strengths of two long-serving, successful organizations, the National Deer Association has a combined 40 years of action that has changed deer management for the betterment of hunting and protected North America’s most vital and admired game species for future generations. Visit or follow @deerassociation on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok.

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