Posted by: Heart of America News | September 17, 2015

Have You Hugged A Volunteer Today?

by Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

Christy Hatter

Christy Hatter with Jon Weih

Ask any race director. He or she will tell you the same thing: Triathlons can’t be run without the work of volunteers.

You see them everywhere – at the check-in table, marking numbers on the triathletes, keeping things smooth out on the course. They’re usually wearing a bright t-shirt in some neon shade but, ironically, they’re often invisible to competitors and spectators alike.

And yet, they’re arguably the most important people at the race. Volunteers do everything from setting up transition to cutting up bananas. They’re who you ask for directions to the bathroom, or for the current lake temperature. They do all of this and don’t get paid a cent.

Why do this?

“Because,” Christy Hatter says matter-of-factly. “It’s fun. I have a great time and meet some great people. Triathletes and their fans are the best.”

Christy served as the volunteer coordinator for the 2015 Camp Courageous Tri Sprint, an annual event to raise money and awareness for the camp’s mission to help challenged individuals reach their full potential. Christy’s job was to enlist the army of volunteers needed for the race, then assign each volunteer his or her particular task. Then, come race day, she followed up with each volunteer and made sure everyone was in the right place. Once all was set, she manned the welcome table and greeted everyone with a bright smile.

“I loved it,” she beamed. “I had a great team. They were wonderful to work with.”

Granted, she says with a little irony, Christy and all the other volunteers could be sleeping on a Sunday morning before the sun comes up. But for Christy and company, it is their way to contribute to the cause.

Christy has retired from a career with Trans-America. She has volunteered for different causes, including for Camp Courageous in the past, but only when time and job permitted. “Now, I’m back to do it again. Only this time I don’t have that job to get in the way.”

“I have a cousin with special needs, so for a long time I was very active with Special Olympics,” she said.

“I think Camp Courageous is a very good organization,” Christy added. “It serves a populations that tends to get overlooked.”

While she boasts being a die-hard fan of triathlons, Christy admits that extent of her competitive nature began and ended with doing the Polar Plunge in Minnesota.

Has she ever considered doing a triathlon herself?

“Not a chance,” she said, shaking her head vigorously. “I’m very happy volunteering and making things run smoothly for the real competitors.”


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