Tonight MDF Livermore-Pleasanton is conducting its 20th banquet. Quite a few of the original 194 who attended the first banquet, 20 years ago, are here tonight and that includes all of the five committee members that put together that original banquet – Rob Fletcher, Ralph Laughlin, Gary Pacheco, Terry Ludlow and myself. Three of us have been on all 20 banquet committees. Terry Ludlow has outdone all of us as he served on the San Jose Chapter banquet committee for two years before we started up here.
Since 1992 we’ve had four Chapter Chairs – Mick Dover, Gary Pacheco, Bob Holm and myself. Many people in the room tonight have supported the MDF mission for the entire 20 years or more. Nobody has kept count, but by my best guess, the Livermore-Pleasanton has sold over 6,000 banquet tickets and raised about a million dollars net for deer conservation.
In 1997 through 2003, our local chapter held several “Youth Day” events. You’ll see photos of those events in our slide show tonight. As of 2012, MDF has an entire youth program called M.U.L.E.Y. which includes a a full-time staff member assigned to promoting youth involvement in shooting and hunting. MidwayUSA and Larry Potterfield are largely responsible for funding this program, but it’s the dedication of MDF volunteers that will make the program successful. It’s hard to distinguish the MULEY program from the Livermore-Pleasanton event.
About six years ago, California Waterfowl and a few other groups formed the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA). In about 2006, MDF joined COHA and today MDF CEO Miles Moretti is a key Director on the COHA board. During the past few years, legislation created by COHA has influenced the way California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) operates and COHA-supported networking has leveraged the ability of conservation groups like MDF to partner more efficiently with CDFG.
In 2009, MDF Livermore-Pleasanton took on a large role in creation of the Purple Heart Outdoor Tour. Along with many other groups, like Cal Deer, Cal Waterfowl, The Livermore-Pleasanton Rod and Gun, COHA and the Warrior Watch Riders VFW Chapter, The Purple Heart Outdoor Tour Blacktail Deer Hunt has become a major local event that supports active duty servicemen, by providing opportunity for valorous soldiers to hunt blacktail deer and socialize with local citizens.
Today the organization has grown from a staff of one full-time secretary and one field representative in 1992 to about 20. We have a CEO in Miles Moretti who is well known in all the mule deer states. From North Dakota to Arizona andTexas to the state of Washington, MDF is on the map. At this year’s convention auctioneers sold hunts and tags from Friday afternoon through Saturday night raising money for deer and other wildlife. Several deer tags sold for over $150,000 and a couple for over $200,000.
In 1992 we had no magazine, no videos, no convention, limited project funds, no fundraising tags, no TV coverage, few chapters outside California and no paid leadership. Today we have all these things, about 15,000 members and a tradition of success.
Thanks to you, MDF is alive and well and going places.
Rich Fletcher and your Livermore-Pleasanton Committee