Giving of Yourself

Leonard A. Green, former member of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, died on March 28, 2000, in his hometown of Butler, Pennsylvania. He was 70 years old.

Len had a remarkable life, and he showed extraordinary dedication to the cause of conservation. One reads the brief summary of his life with a sense of wonder: How did he do it all? Where did he find the time? How did Lenny Green and those like him give so much of themselves to causes they love?

Lenny Green didn't just support his church: He founded a foundation to do so. He didn't just help at youth conservation camps: He started them and watched them grow. He didn't just hunt and fish: He became a leader in conservation and sportsmen's groups at the local, state and even the national level. He didn't just recite the Conservation Pledge: He lived it. He did all this before he retired from an important position in private industry. After his retirement, he seemed to get even busier.

Lenny Green was as a member of the Fish Commission when it adopted the "Resource First" philosophy. His contributions, which still guide us today, were truly exceptional. But he did even more. He served on the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Department of Environmental Resources and as a member of the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board. He simultaneously served with distinction on not one, but three state boards and commissions with jurisdiction over the waters and environmental quality of Pennsylvania. And all three positions were, of course, unpaid volunteer positions.

Lenny Green's life shows how a dedicated individual can take "giving of oneself" to a new level of commitment. What's most remarkable, however, is how many others follow in the footsteps of Len Green. Anglers, boaters and conservationists seem to make a career of giving of themselves. It comes with the territory.

Take a look at our current board of commissioners. They are all busy in their official (and unpaid) roles as members of the Commission and in following their private pursuits. But they still take time to volunteer in many other roles in conservation and sportsmen's groups, cooperative nurseries, watershed restoration and protection projects, education programs, conservation camps, projects for persons with disabilities and other volunteer endeavors. The same goes for our Boating Advisory Board members, who volunteer their time to teach boating courses, participate in programs and help boaters. And the phenomenon of "giving of oneself" doesn't stop with our Commissioners and Boating Advisory Board members. Fish & Boat Commission employees across Pennsylvania give of their personal time to serve in conservation groups, professional societies and associations, sportsmen's clubs and other such organizations.

The success of the Fish & Boat Commission in providing fishing and boating opportunities depends in large measure on dedicated volunteers and partnerships with individuals and groups. People who "give of themselves" touch almost every aspect of the Commission's programs. We depend on deputy waterways conservation officers, cooperative nurseries, volunteers for habitat improvement projects, volunteer boating safety instructors, and fish stocking volunteers, to name just a few.

The volunteer spirit that means so much to the anglers and boaters of Pennsylvania was epitomized by two individuals who passed away in the last few weeks. Bill Mathews of Slippery Rock (Butler County) devoted much of his life to serving as a deputy waterways conservation officer and leader of sportsmen's organizations. Tom Eckert of Red Lion (York County) was one of the Commission's top boating safety instructors, always willing to give of himself to promote safety on Pennsylvania's waterways.

In an era where "lack of time" is the number one reason people give for not participating in fishing, it is heartening to see so many who devote countless hours to helping others and helping our natural resources. It's obvious that time is the most precious commodity that any individual can give, and it is a constant source of wonder and admiration that so many of those associated with the Fish & Boat Commission give so much time to the cause of conservation and wise, safe outdoor recreation.

When I think of Len Green and his lifetime of giving of himself, there is one thing I wish we had a chance to say to Len before he passed away so suddenly. I wish we had the chance simply to say, "Thanks"!

May/June 2000 Angler & Boater

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