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The Heart of Friends of NRA

What do our volunteers love about Friends of NRA?

posted on December 28, 2023
2023Volunteer Friendshero

With over 600 fundraising events each year, more than 8,000 volunteers help make them possible. Volunteers are truly the backbone of Friends of NRA, which is the blockbuster fundraising program for The NRA Foundation. Our volunteers are passionate about the Second Amendment and are committed to the future of the shooting sports. They participate in the program by organizing committees, securing donations, selling tickets, and hosting a Friends of NRA event in their communities. Read along and get to know two of our incredible volunteers!

Meet John Lee who has been the Chair of Southside Friends of NRA in Virginia for over 12 years. He shares all about his experience with Friends of NRA below!

  • How did you hear about Friends of NRA? I was recruited by our local chapter after attending a Friends of NRA Banquet. I appreciated the cause, so I took it up immediately. Sustaining the shooting sports is imperative to holding on to our Second Amendment rights…they are inseparable. We must make every effort to support programs that introduce new fans to the shooting sports.
  • What led you to volunteer with us? How long have you been a volunteer? My memories of times in the field hunting and shooting with friends and family (especially my grandpa) and the thought of that legacy dying a slow death and losing that right FOREVER. I have been a volunteer for 12 years, and I have been our chapter chairman for all those years.  
  • What is your favorite part about volunteering? The gratification of giving back. I have been blessed in so many ways and feel strongly that giving back is repaying those blessings in some way. I’m all in on anything I do…including whatever I commit to as far as volunteering.
  • What do you want people to know about Friends of NRA? That it’s an organization working hard to sustain a uniquely American tradition…the shooting sports. I love the fact that every dollar we raise gives another person the opportunity to be introduced to the shooting sports in a fun, safe and responsible setting. Of all the people I have introduced to firearms and shooting, I have never had one that didn’t want to do it again and didn’t love it.
  • What drives you to put your time and effort into the Friends of NRA program? Traditions should be sacred…. especially this one.
  • Feel free to share a story about how you became a Friends of NRA volunteer! I received a call from a couple of our local committee members who subsequently came to my office and convinced me that I should not only join the cause but serve as Chairman and run the annual banquet. I agreed and since that day we have had 11 banquets, all of which placed in the top two in the state, and increased in funds raised EVERY year up until now.

Now meet Marlee Dance, the Chair of Tri-Cities Friends of NRA in Southern Virginia. She has been a volunteer for over 15 years.

  • How did you hear about Friends of NRA? Growing up in the outdoor/shooting world I knew about Friends of the NRA at a very young age. I think I went to my first event when I was in my teens, but my dad would go to many events in the Tri-Cities area and come back and talk about them. 
  • What led you to volunteer with us? How long have you been a volunteer? I was asked to help with an event when I was probably 15 years old (I am 31 years old now). I helped sell tickets and after that I was asked to help with more events around the Tri-Cities area which included 3 or 4 different committees. My family was the FFL for various events so I knew all about the firearms  so I could answer questions….Then somehow, I got asked to be the president for the local Tri-Cities chapter about 5 years ago. 
  • What is your favorite part about volunteering? What does volunteering typically entail for you? My favorite part about the whole event is seeing everything you work so hard on for so long come together and run so smoothly. I will say, on the day of my event I am always a nervous wreck thinking I have forgotten something, do I have enough of this or that, but it always comes together and at the end of the night everyone leaves with a smile on their face. When I first got involved, we held the event held at the Country Club of Petersburg which would only hold about 160 people and we would sell it out. Then we moved it to the Keystone Truck & Tractor Museum and the event grew to be about 350 people. Some people think that there’s not much that goes into making an event happen, but behind the scenes, it takes a lot of hard work from so many different people to pull the whole event off and run smoothly. The reason why I do it is because of the number of people that love to support our local community AND to see where the money and efforts go is outstanding. To have the kids talk about how much they love the shooting sports and how we help them inspires me to do better each and every year. 
  • What do you want people to know about Friends of NRA? That what we do to help the youth in the shooting sports goes a long way. They are the future and if we don't get them involved, then we won't be able to carry these traditions on for the future.
  • What drives you? I enjoy going to different events and helping other committees, but for my event, I love seeing it all come together with all the local businesses. They might be competitors, but that night everyone gathers for such an amazing event and cause. I put my heart and soul into making the Tri-Cities Friends of NRA event perfect for everyone that comes and supports it. I couldn't do any of it without them, and at the end of the night when it is all said and done, seeing everyone leave happy makes my heart feel full.

Join our awesome team of volunteers today and make a difference in your local community!

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