DURING 2015 SOME 260 volunteers gave more than 19,000 hours of service to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. That’s roughly equivalent to the amount of hours of 10 full-time staff members. On Friday, Jan. 22, the aquarium held an awards ceremony honoring volunteers for their dedication and valuable contributions.
“Our volunteers are fantastic,” Aquarium Director Hap Fatzinger said. “They are extremely valuable. We could not replicate that level of support with any other group of people,” he said.
Every day, volunteers provide visitors with assistance at the information desk, as exhibit interpreters and at the two touch pools. They also help set up for special events and birthday parties. Volunteer divers assist with dive programs and exhibit maintenance and performed a total of 1,492 dives and 4,322 individual dives, which equaled 1,600 hours of dive time last year.
A few members of the volunteer force received special recognition. Cheryl Balthrop and Brian Balthrop, both of Newport, received the “2015 Volunteer of the Year” award. “Rookie Volunteer of the Year” was given to Susan Snow of Emerald Isle. The “Order of the Spadefish” award went to Jan Voepel of Emerald Isle for outstanding customer service. Maggie Rauschenberg of Swansboro, Kayla Hoopes of Jacksonville and Sharon Lewis of Emerald Isle were each awarded “2015 Above and Beyond Awards” for going beyond the call of duty. The “2015 Junior Volunteer of the Year” was Bowe Painter of Newport. Ada Nunn of Morehead City, Steve Nunn of Morehead City, Ginny Happel of Emerald Isle and Diana Yeames of Newport all received “Distinguished Volunteer Service” awards.
The “2015 Volunteer Diver of the Year” was Dick Barmore of Arapahoe and “2015 Volunteer Diver Rookie of the Year” was Melissa Elver of Hubert. The “Volunteer Diver Team of the Year” included Team Leader Deb Teasley of Fayetteville and team members Larry Teasley of Fayetteville, Donna Fischer of Cape Carteret, Rob Pohl of Wake Forest and Bill Ragsdale of Maysville.