Behind every meal, mile and musical note of the DCI Summer Tour, there are volunteers who devote countless hours to the organizations they love. After a selection process by a panel of Friends of DCI members, the following individuals will be honored this August at the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis as the 2014 Volunteers of the Year. Congratulations to these and the countless others who help drum corps get down the road each and every summer!
Gabriel Francoeur | Les Stentors
Gabriel Francoeur has been head manager of the French Canadian Open Class corps Les Stentors since 1997. For 17 years he has worked many long hours fundraising, organizing rehearsals and countless other tasks for the organization. Perhaps most surprisingly, he has done all this hard work without pay. At 42 years old, Francoeur is always searching for new volunteers, suitable staff, and appropriate housing, all in an effort to provide corps members with a positive experience. Each year, he makes sure that the students are of highest priority to the organization and that the Stentors team is prepared to deliver excellence. "Gabriel's passion is keeping the drum corps activity alive in la belle province," Les Stentors Director Josianne Alarie said. "Les Stentors is the only DCI competing corps in Quebec, and without him, we are not sure that the survival and corps' achievement would have been possible." Even when there are no jobs to be done, Francoeur lends his smile to encourage happiness among other volunteers and members. For years, he has put aside his personal life to keep drum corps alive. Consequently, when he isn't working with Les Stentors, Francoeur volunteers as an administrator at the F?©d?©ration des associations musicales du Qu?©bec, a drum corps and winter guard federation located in Quebec. "His life work is dedicated to reviving and maintaining the marching activity [in Canada]. We think that's nothing less than real passion, faithful love and remarkable determination," Alarie said.
Gabriel Francoeur poses with members of Les Stentors following one of the corps' annual fundraisers.
Terry Maurer | Santa Clara Vanguard, Blue Devils
Not only does Terry Maurer epitomize what all drum corps look for in a dedicated and hard-working volunteer, he does so for two organizations that serve more than 800 young people in nine performing units. Maurer started his volunteer work with the Blue Devils in 1986 and later joined the Santa Clara Vanguard volunteer corps in 1992. Although he serves many functions within both organizations, his primary role is fleet manager, working tirelessly to guarantee the corps travel safely. All in all, Maurer oversees an impressive fleet of 30 vehicles on a year-round basis, from winter guard and drum line events, charity performances, winter rehearsal camps and summer tours. In Maurer's nomination letter, David Gibbs (director, Blue Devils) and Jeff Fiedler (director, Santa Clara Vanguard) wrote, "Terry has an intimate knowledge of each of our vehicles, and is always at the ready with tool box to make sure the vehicles—and our young people—are safe at all times." Maurer is a drum corps alum from upstate New York, and has stayed active long through his children's involvement as well. Currently serving on Santa Clara Vanguard's Board of Directors, he is always happy to house out-of-town volunteers and or loan one of his own vehicles to visiting alumni.
Terry Mauer doesn't play favorites when it comes to showing his corps allegiances.
Geoff Thompson | Jersey Surf
Since "stopping by" a Jersey Surf rehearsal in 2000 to support his daughter's participation in the corps, Geoff Thompson has become a permanent and essential ingredient in the organization's recipe for success. At his own expense and with his own equipment, Thompson volunteered to drive an equipment truck for the summer and has been with Jersey Surf ever since. Graduating after a few years from "utility" driver to CDL-certified truck driver, Thompson has participated in every DCI summer tour since 2000, traveling more than 130,000 miles behind the wheel for the corps. "Geoff's insights and familiarity with the organization's objectives, combined with his experience with nearly every aspect of the behind-the-scenes management of the corps, have made him an invaluable resource with regard to tour planning and operations," said Bob Jacobs, director of the Jersey Surf. Thompson's problem-solving skills, sense of humor and calming influence in stressful situations make him the corps' "go-to-guy," and the organization admires his selfless contributions to the members and staff. "We are tremendously grateful to Geoff Thompson for all that he has done to enable us to 'Share the Love' of what we do with more than a thousand young people and tens of thousands of their supporters as we've traveled the country over the past 12 years," Jacobs said.
Geoff Thompson in his element with Jersey Surf's tractor-trailer.
Mike "Batman" Wolfe | Colts
The late Mike Wolfe's background in the grocery industry, the medical field (EMT) and as a father of four made him a valuable asset to the Colts when he began volunteering in 2004. He ordered food, coordinated and served meals, built props, and often slept in the hallway to ensure he did not disturb other volunteers when he woke up early to start breakfast. Furthermore, Wolfe served as president of the Colts Booster Club and coordinated fundraising efforts for the drum corps. "Mike was a person the other parents trusted, the kids were eager to please, and everyone loved," Colts Director Vicki MacFarlane said. "He had a subtle way of encouraging the members and sharing his pride in their accomplishments both on the field and off." Wolfe was lovingly nicknamed "Batman" because his utility belt could take on any challenge, often using those special "superpowers" to help other members and parents when they were facing their own drum corps challenges. Wolfe sadly passed away in November of 2013, and his loss is felt by many. "In 2014, the corps vehicles will carry the bat logo in his honor as a reminder to all of the work and spirit we carry forward on his behalf," MacFarlane said.
The late Mike Wolfe (right), tends to volunteer duties while on tour with the Colt Cadets.