DRPP Volunteers

DRPP Volunteers – written by Ed Mekeel

We don’t think about it, but clubs like the DRPP exist for the benefit of the membership. Through member interaction and programs at our meetings, we share information and techniques intended to increase our picture taking skill level. I’m sure we’d all say that we’ve profited greatly from being a DRPP member.
Many organizations also engage in activities intended to establish community relations. Not widely publicized, but the DRPP has been involved with local programs to give back to the community. This goes back to the early days of the club’s history. Back then the original team was Frank and Kathy Dispensa, Ricardo Martinez and Theresa Terilli. They volunteered their time and skills to photograph teams involved with the Dutchess County Heart walk at Our Lady of Lourdes. They established the tradition for those of us involved today to follow.
I’ve been involved since 2012. Since then we’ve continued to cover the Dutchess County Heart Walk at Vassar College and last year at Marist College. In that time we’ve also started covering the Ulster County Heart Walk. We started out at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. The last two years had us traveling to New Paltz College. Our photo work has been recognized and starting in October of 2013 we were asked to photograph the Light Up the Night event for the Leukemia / Lymphoma Society of Dutchess County. This has been held at Vassar College. This year it will be held on the Walkway Over the Hudson.
The shoots are always fun but are fraught with hurdles and complexities and they could be different each year. We never know what backgrounds we’ll have to deal with. We often get surprised by the size of some of the teams. Figuring out how to get everyone in the photo is a real challenge. All of the venues are indoors now but 3 years ago at Dietz Stadium in Kingston I was greeted with a snow and ice storm. The bleachers where I photograph the teams were covered with ice. Solving the issues makes the experience more rewarding.
Let me here, recognize the teams and their participation

Dutchess County Heart Walk (March)
Small Teams – Ed Mekeel and Nick Andruzzi
Medium Teams – Theresa Terilli and Rich Shaad
Large Groups – Don Smith and Steve Lynch
Candids – Janet Snyder
Past participants – Dawn Sella, Al Lemberger

Ulster County Heart Walk (April)
Teams and Candids – Ed Mekeel and Nick Andruzzi

Light Up th Night (October)
Teams – Theresa Terilli / Don Smith and Rich Schaad
Candids – Ed Mekeel and Nick Andruzzi

One more event I’ll mention is the Susan G. Komen Row for the Cure regatta which is held the first Sunday in June at the Hudson River Rowing Association Boat House. I was asked by DRPP member Bill Rooney back in 2013 who organizes the event with his daughter Nicole to photograph the event. Nick Andruzzi joined me the next year. Our pictures have been featured in the Poughkeepsie Journal . In 2013, 10 of my pictures were shown as part of a CBS special on Susan G. Komen events.
So I hope you get a sense that our club is very active in some great community causes. The events are 4 to 5 hours of work. The experiences are a great deal of fun . It includes laughing and joking with team members and having fun with the teams and volunteers who are also donating their time. At the end of the day, the smiles and the “thank yous” make it all worth while.