First Waves – Volunteer of the Year

Andy May

A heavy rain engulfed the Stonycreek River Valley on the night before Day-1 of First Waves Johnstown.  The next morning, instructors and volunteers of the crew arrived early to observe the day’s conditions: a swollen river with strong currents.  If it weren’t for the team of expert instructors and volunteers from the Benscreek Canoe Club and SurfSUP Adventures, this amazing adventure would have been cancelled.  One volunteer exemplified this commitment by relentlessly retrieving gear from the flow and helping participants find comfort in the unruly rapids and waves.  Were it not for Andy May’s efforts, First Waves equipment would likely still be on a journey toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Andy’s support in First Waves Pittsburgh and First Waves Johnstown in 2015 was immeasurable.  His patience and enthusiasm helped youth participants to overcome difficulties and inspired many to surf their first river wave over the course of the programs.  We are grateful to have you on the team.  Congratulations, Andy!

First Waves Johnstown – Volunteer of the Year

Debby Heider

Debby has a 6th sense for knowing when people are in need and how to solve the problem.  On the first day of First Waves Johnstown, youth participants arrived with scowling faces.  “But you’re going river surfing!” I thought to myself.  Alas, the problem was not the obviously fantastic agenda for the day, they were simply hungry.  Lunch, however, was several calorie-burning hours later.  Debby’s powers kicked in as she arrived just in time, delivering a breakfast that would make the President of the United States smile and savor every bite.  Her generosity and enthusiasm for First Waves continued throughout the summer in countless ways.  We are truly thankful to have you on the team.  Congratulations, Debby!