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Park service relies upon its volunteers

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, volunteers donate more than 4.1 billion hours annually, contributing $122.9 billion each year to the U.S. economy.

These volunteers donate much more than their energy and professional knowledge; they give the organization their most precious commodity: their time.

Volunteers also can provide continuity and fill in for full-time positions when institutions face layoffs, high staff turnover, or have vacant positions. Working quietly in the background, these individuals contribute to an organization’s mission, even if that institution fails to express gratitude for what they do.

As members of an organization that relies on volunteers to support many diverse programs, we must honor our volunteers. I want to celebrate each by sharing what makes them unique and interesting. In part because recognition matters and because if the public knows the fantastic people volunteering at the park, they might want to join our volunteer force.

Today, I want to celebrate Andrew Cattoir, one of our newest and most industrious volunteers at Lake Mead National Recreation Area NRA. In 1979, Andrew began his career as a photographer. The Professional Photographers of Nevada PPN awarded him the Photographer of the Year award in 1981. Cattoir used his art to create three successful businesses in Boulder City, and he worked as a Visual Information Specialist for Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Retired now, Andrew makes time each week to volunteer for the Public Affairs Shop. He chooses to spend time volunteering because, as he puts it, Boulder City is his home, and the lake matters to him. Andrew is currently working on updating the bulletin boards and wayside displays at the trailheads and campgrounds.

Cattoir is a long-term resident of Boulder City. He and his wife, Debbie, were high school sweethearts. Besides his many volunteer activities, Andrew spent 43 years as a drummer for “The Junkyard Dogs.” His background in music, graphic design, filming, and editing enabled him to partner with Clark County to create a video for the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Park Service Video (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).

For those who live in Boulder City, if you have a moment to pop into Boulder Dam Credit Union, the photos on display are by Andrew Cattoir. Installed 16 years ago, the bank unveiled a new photo collection Sept. 19 that Andrew curated; the images together represent the soul of Boulder City.

A favorite quote of Andrew comes from legendary drummer Neil Peart: “We’re only immortal for a limited time.” It is a reminder to use your time wisely. Service to others can bring intrinsic reward to many, but when you use your limited time as a volunteer, it is nice to hear the often-overlooked phrase, “Thank you, and I appreciate all you do.”

Traci Decker is a Public Affairs Specialist for Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

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