During our 23 years on the Deerfoot staff, Sally Jo and I had the privilege of working with hundreds of people; we worked together In Partnership With God. In addition to the campers and staff, there have been literally hundreds of others who partnered with us on work weekends, through contributions of everything from dollars to screws to cars to computers. Some have faithfully prayed for the ministry of DL, others have written notes of encouragement – some have done all of the above.
We met older Deerfooters as they brought their sons for a session, and were part of these boys’ lives as they became men. We hired many staff members who now bring their camper sons. Hugs. Laughs. Stories.
Chief Ron Mackey, the present Director of DL, was a Guide our first summer. I hired him as an assistant counselor, counselor, section chief, guide leader, head of tripping operations, and as my assistant. The DL Board of Directors hired Ron as the Director of Deerfoot Lodge. We have had the privilege of watching Ron develop as the quality person he is today. His son, Sam, is now a DL camper.
Anne Mackey worked with Sally Jo in the office for two summers, and was at camp for a third summer when she focused her attention on their four children. Today Anne runs the camp store.
Ken Hoffman is the present Facility Manager at DL. He was a scholarship camper from Speculator while I was Director. In following years he was trained as a mechanic, a fireman and built his own house with Stephanie’s grandfather. As facility manager, each summer he works with 4-6 young men, teaching them the maintenance skills required to keep DL running smoothly, while encouraging their development as godly young men. Ken has served as the President of the school board in Wells, New York. I hired Ken nine years before I retired. His son, James, has been DL camper for three summers and now is a significant part of the maintenance staff (and is taller than any of us!)
Stephanie was hired to work with Sally Jo in the Deerfoot office. Through the nine years they worked together, Stephanie took on more and more responsibility, and today Stephanie and Chief Ron do the work Sally Jo and I did.
Ken and Stephanie’s daughter, Shelby, is also on the office staff.
Last night the Mackey’s and Hoffman’s, and their children (minus Emily Mackey who is at college), came to our home for our annual Christmas party. Our close relationship continues. Much fun!
Throughout the year Sally Jo and I receive notes, e-mails, telephone calls, and visits from Deerfooters. Sally Jo and I truly do “live thankful!”
And I encourage you to “live thankful!” No one else has had the privilege of working with the incredible DL family as we have, but you have had the privilege of being part this family, and for many of us, family it is.
Thank God for Deerfoot – it truly is “His Place”. Apart from Jesus Christ, and His people, DL would not exist.
Thank those who have made DL possible for you.
Thank those you have had the privilege of helping get to Deerfoot – for your lives have been enriched as have theirs