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Date: 1/12/2018
Subject: Words from the President
From: Colorado 4x4 Rescue & Recovery

Words from the President

Year in Review

Where do I start? What an amazing year this has been for Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery. We started 2017 with only a few members, all of which were on the original Board of Directors. These great folks came together, at a coffee shop off I-70 in 2016 to discuss plans for this organization which had just began to come together. In this last year, we have accomplished great things. I’ll highlight a few of them here.

In March of 2017, we opened the organization for membership. We had initially said we would be happy with 20-30 members the first year to help us grow and support us financially. Never did we think we would be ending 2017 with over 130! 

By the end of March, our membership base had grown to just under 40 members. Already exceeding our expectations. During this month we lost our founder due to a cross country move. CJ had a vision that would serve the Colorado OHV community and each day, we work on fulfilling his dream. It was during this transition when I was voted into the office of President, and Todd Bunger as Vice President and Director of Public Relations. 

Todd, Dan Arkulary our then Treasurer, and myself worked tirelessly to fill vacant positions. Not just with anyone, but with the right people. I can honestly say we found them in Jeff Shafer and Jim Dixon. Jim quickly stepped into a role he is very familiar with, Director of Land Use. Jeff assumed the officer position of secretary, and brought much needed organization to our operations and meetings. 

These four directors worked hard to grow this organization, provide it with structure and benefit for both our members and the community. After developing our Training curriculum with Matt Balazs of On Trail Training, our classes quickly filled and became the main draw to membership.  As a result, the professionalism and safety in our recoveries grew more than we can measure, and has been noticed by outsiders.  This led to happier clients and donations started to rise.  This is a result of determination of the Board to improve and grow and our volunteers growing professionalism. 

 Throughout the summer we continued to develop the product we were providing to our community at large. In July, one of our original directors stepped down to have more time with his family. A decision we were saddened to receive, but one we truly respect. Dan Arkulary remains a trusted member and volunteer, and will always have our thanks for his dedication and hard work as a founding member. 

Throughout the summer, and into the fall we attended many events. Some notable ones included Set Them Free Off-Road 2017, and the 14er Fest put on by our great friends at CORE (Colorado Off Road Enterprise). During this time, we also found two more board members who have brought an incredible amount to our organization. Carleen Smeaton was the clear choice for our Director of Dispatch, and worked tirelessly to reform the system and provide much needed leadership for this team. We also gained Ed Sierens. A master of project management and technology, Ed was a clear choice for our Director of technology and recently proved invaluable to our team. I couldn't be happier to have them on our Board of Directors. 

We closed the summer out with the formation of our SAR-ES Team. This team aims to provide relief and assistance to Search And Rescue and other first responder agencies within our state. This development was one that is very exciting to me, as it was a long term dream of mine when we sat down at that coffee shop and had our first BOD meeting.

As we wrapped up 2017, I found myself looking at where we were, trying to figure out just how we accomplished so much. At the same time, I was looking at our astonishing membership roster. That’s when I realized the how was quite simple. You are the reason we have succeeded this year. Each and every one of you has brought something to this organization that made it what is today. From our membership committee, to our active members in the field, to our busy members who haven’t had a chance to join us on a recovery yet but continue to support us through annual dues and promoting us every chance you get. You have all made an enormous impact on us this year, and I cannot thank you enough.

Our plans for 2018 will build on this last year. We will have our first annual banquet, Advanced Recovery Skills Classes will be a main part of our curriculum, leadership classes and new leadership team members are all coming. We will also be developing closer relationships with our first responder communities and government agencies.   

I hope that you all will join us again for another amazing year, stay safe, and thank you for all which you do for us and this amazing community we serve.

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