Volunteerism should be applauded at all levels. But sometimes certain things stand out when it comes to volunteers, be it a wet dog or a snow-covered fairway.
Odd imagery to be sure. But on a weekend of subpar weather, those things underscored the amount of dedication folks have when it comes to working for and supporting a cause. I think all of us are fair-weather friends to some degree -- that degree being a temperature that isn't freezing and a forecast that isn't cloudy or full of rain.
But the true test of dedication is what you do when things aren't perfect. When the conditions aren't great. When the timing isn't quite right. When it would be much easier (and warmer and drier) to do something else.
A couple of organizations recently found out the answer to the dedication question, and it was very positive. At Saturday's Run for Rescues 5K road race in Suwanee, the weather was more suited to ducks than dogs. But a cold, hard and constant rain didn't stop 277 runners from participating in the race and bringing about 150 dogs with them.
The dogs weren't the only ones with wet noses, but that didn't deter the majority of entrants.
"We were worried because of the weather, but people still showed up," race organizer Chris Muller said.
But it wasn't only the runners showing their fortitude. A large group of SPCA volunteers were on hand as were various other groups who manned tents for their organizations despite the harsh conditions. On a morning better served for sleeping in, the runners and various volunteers made the event a splashing success.
It was similar dedication but different conditions on Monday at Right to Hike's annual golf tournament. The golfers gathered for the fundraiser looked like they were ready for a ski vacation instead of a round of golf at the TPC at Sugarloaf course. Multiple layers were the order of the day, and stocking caps replaced traditional golf caps and winter gloves complemented regular golf gloves.
But despite some snow flurries, the golfers braved the weather in addition to the sand traps. PGA Tour pro Stewart Cink was also a trooper, putting on his pre-tournament exhibition in weather better suited for a hockey stick than a golf club. Known for his calm demeanor, Cink may have literally had ice water in his veins on this day.
"38 degrees and 40-plus mph winds are not exactly ideal conditions for Right To Hike's golf tournament, but I'm very appreciative of everyone who is braving the weather to support our cause," Right to Hike volunteer Aimee Hoecker posted on Facebook during the round.
Again, it wasn't just the golfers supporting the cause, but a large group of volunteers as well who ensured the tournament, sponsored by Progressive Container & Display, was a success despite the arctic conditions.
So here's to the folks at the SPCA and at Right to Hike, and all other volunteers who donate for the good of the cause: Thanks for weathering the storm.
Email Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.