At Dark & Delicious, if you see someone wearing an apron, it’s one of our volunteers…

Dear Event Volunteers,

This is an open letter to you, those who helped with Dark & Delicious 2014, and to all event volunteers.

You have no idea how valuable you… each and everyone of you… are.

  1. First of all, you can make or break a wine event. Without your help, we’d have to hire a staff. If we hired a staff, we’d be out of business in the blink of an eye.
  2. You’re our Public Relations representatives. Even though PR is what I do for a living, I can’t be that person at Dark & Delicious.
    1. I’m trouble shooting and putting out anything smoldering; and I may not have time for all of the niceties, reacting to some of the stuff I have to react to.

I know from experience that Dark & Delicious wouldn’t exist without each of you. Here’s some simple math, proving my point.

At the end of the year, in our tax documents, we’re just getting by, which is what a non-profit is supposed to be doing right? We put the “non” into non profit.

So, dear Volunteers, imagine if we advocacy groups didn’t have you for our wine events. Simple math suggests that this advocacy group, for instance, would have to either close down, or find a volunteer to run the group.

  • For the record: Hours anticipated for an executive director for this group is be ready to work – 1,134 hours for a 12 month period ($36,000 per year salary)
  • This is based on last year’s hours accumulated for all duties, with Dark & Delicious being about 450 hours of administration, planning, and executing. the rest goes into managing the group with marketing, social media, PR, and administration.

It’s worth it to share these numbers, for the reality check of running a wine advocacy non-profit. Being a non-profit means that our budgets must be open to the public, because we’re serving the public. In the case of a wine event, the service is education about the wine grape varieties and the brands who support the effort.

So, back to you, Volunteer Guys. You set up, you take down, and you do everything in between, with happy smiles on your faces. You’ve all got day jobs in leadership roles outside of this event… From engineers to lawyers and everything else imaginable, what each of you has in common is your passion for wine, and being a volunteer at a wine event… Like I used to volunteer as a Girl Scout leader.  You’re doing it for the love of wine; I think I did it for the love of cookies, or something like that.

We have an amazing cast of characters, and the credits after an event are as important as the credits after a movie. Volunteers at wine events deserve all the recognition in the world, because they are superlative. Truly, PS I Love You would collapse quickly if they disappeared, just as it would if our members didn’t exist to support this heritage variety.

CREDITS ~ SET UP ~ And COAST GUARD named here, to be in one easy location

  • Laurin Beckhusen ~ Expeditor and Senior Lead for volunteers
  • Don Standefer ~ Physical Engineer and lead for set up
  • John Long ~ Veteran and willing to do anything
  • Katie Rall ~ Lead for Coast Guard, but was ill for this year
  • Honey Airborne ~ Recruiter
  • Richard Lopez ~ Newly enlisted this year. Has served every branch of US service.
  • Volunteers from the local Coast Guard
    • EM2 Sasha Baker
    • BM2 Francis Bent
    • OS2 Amanda Breon
    • DC3 Heather Burleson
    • K3 Bianca Caraballo
    • Nora Gomez
    • MST1 Matthew Hutchins
    • LT Barron Lacy
    • MSTC Robert Lesko
    • YN3 Jonathan Perry
    • DCC Gene Schafer
    • CWO2 Sarah Schafer
    • BM2 Max Uberstine
    • IS3 Nicole Welfel
  • Auction ~ Lead for auction – Aileen Casanave
    • Sally Clithero
    • Julie Thiebaut
    • Diane Brember
    • Janet Lee
    • Geraldine Schuman
    • Pamala Meador
    • Robert Stone 
  • All other event duties (From check in to dump buckets… No job is too or less glamorous for our crew.)
    • Brian Gillespi
    • Cheryl Faison
    • Christie Bergman
    • Diane Brembor
    • Dolores Mendocino
    • Don Credi
    • Judah Rosenwald
    • Kathleen Nunes
    • Kendra Phelps
    • Melissa Baggett
    • Nancy Gillespi
    • Nick Thomsic
    • Shirdelah Manipon
    • Suzanne Hudson
    • Sylvia Brainin
    • Tony Mendocino
    • Vanessa Padon
    • Willow Blush
  •  Tear Down. (It’s important to note that many people, like Don Standefer and Nick Thomsic stay well beyond their assigned duty to help with tear down.
    • Carol Clouse
    • Matt Clouse
    • Holly Phillips
    • Mike Phillips

About the Coast Guard volunteers

Once upon a time, PS I Love You hosted Honey Airborne, a returning US Army Sergeant from deployment. She had just completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan, one in Iraq, and was reactivated for 9/11. All she wanted to do was enjoy Petite Sirah. We arranged a 10-day extravaganza. Now, she’s our biggest fan, and is a regular Volunteer.  Last year, she got the Coast Guard involved. this year, she brought another retiring military person with her, to help with the loading of all equipment from storage and take it to the venue, continuing in the setting up. His name is Richard Lopez. Honey flew in from New York City, Richard flew in from North Carolina… Just to help this event. (I’m in awe, that’s all I can say.)

This year, we had returning Coast Guard personnel, but we also had new people. (They ship out every two or so years, so this will be revolving; and, they’re marvelous people.)

Our regular volunteer staff, who have evolved into recurring positions, are now experts in their areas of expertise. Some have even taken on leadership roles, because they’re natural at their positions and show the passion for being leaders.

Our PSILY staff is the following:

  • Jose Diaz, marketing, IT, and Web design
  • Katie Kelley, food liaison
  • Lyla Moore, graphic artist
  • Jo Diaz, executive director


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