How committed is Chris Fader to supporting wetland conservation? Not even a hurricane can stop him. It’s this kind of steadfastness that made Fader a joint-recipient of Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) volunteer of the year award in New Brunswick—an honour he shares with John Johnston of Hanwell.
Fader has been volunteering with DUC for 27 years. An avid outdoorsman, taxidermist and chair of the local chapter in Hampton, residents know him as a force for nature who will go to great lengths to support wetland conservation in his community. Last year, however, Fader took his reputation to a whole new level.
Tickets were sold, auction prizes were on display and places were set for the chapter’s annual fundraising dinner when news hit that a hurricane was headed toward Hampton. Community members began telephoning Fader to ask if the event was cancelled. His response: “Our dinner is going to happen!”
In true Maritime spirit, the opportunity to weather the storm in the company of friends and neighbours was a welcome one. Despite high winds, rain and a temporary power outage, the banquet hall was full and the dinner proved to be the chapter’s most successful yet. And most importantly, all attendees made it home safely at the end of the night.
“My heart just melted to know that the community would rather be with us at our dinner than at home,” he said. “It’s really gratifying to have people call you and say, ‘that was a great dinner.’”
This story will, no doubt, top a list of memories from Fader’s volunteer career. But it’s one of many. In addition to hosting fundraising dinners, Fader also contributed to the Hampton committee’s successful nest box program. Supporting DUC’s Adopt-A-Class education program for many years is also a great source of pride for Fader, who cherishes the many handwritten notes he received from students who attended wetland field trips.
“Chris is a passionate DUC supporter,” says Jamie Young, a manager of volunteer fundraising for DUC in Atlantic Canada. “He loves to talk about DUC and promotes the organization no matter where he is or what he is doing. The Hampton committee has thrived under his leadership.”
Not one to accept individual accolades, Fader says his recognition is a testament to the incredible team of volunteers he works with.
“The Hampton committee is successful because of its committed volunteers,” says Fader. “I thank them all on behalf of DUC.”