Our Stories

2023 Volunteer Awards: Distinguished Service

Categories: Volunteer Stories


Bruce Dziadzio

As President of the NCTA Chief Baw Beese Chapter in Michigan for nearly a decade now, Bruce is a shining example of leadership. He has established and improved many relationships with key local partners and landowners. Using his excellent engineering skills, Bruce prioritizes consistency, safety, and trail user experience during trail improvement projects. Because of his efforts, the Chapter received a Restoration Award in 2022 from the Hillsdale County Historical Society. Bruce travels a minimum of two hours each way to lead hikes with patience, inclusion, and a smile.

Dave Adams

Dave is a founding member of the NCTA Butler County Chapter in Pennsylvania, and has dedicated more than 25 years to the NCNST here. He has served in numerous Chapter leadership roles, including President, and is a certified sawyer, Trail Adopter, and trail angel to hikers. He has been instrumental in cultivating partnerships with state entities and local businesses. He takes great care with his work and is incredibly inviting to new volunteers. In recent years, the Chapter was awarded a $25,000 grant to replace six 20-year-old bridges, and repair 600 feet of boardwalk and 2,000 feet of Trail. Despite various setbacks, this project was completed on time thanks to Dave’s leadership. His fellow Chapter members describe him as “the type of volunteer who may have a kidney removed on a Wednesday then lead a trail crew that Saturday.” Jokes aside, he did have a kidney removed in November 2020 and was out on the Trail just weeks later.

Jane Norton

Jane joined Michigan’s NCTA Chief Noonday Chapter in 2010, and quickly took on a number of roles and responsibilities. She has been a Trail Adopter since nearly the beginning and became Chapter President around 2018. She participates in many workdays, guides hikes, and leads the Chapter’s efforts in public outreach, including the designation of a few new NCTA Trail Towns. Thanks to Jane’s planning, communication skills, and welcoming nature, the Chapter’s membership and engagement has increased significantly under her leadership. In 2022, she was recognized by the National Park Service for contributing more than 4,000 volunteer hours to the Trail. She also walks the talk: One year, she hiked 665 unique NCNST miles, completing the entire Lower Peninsula. While much of this Chapter’s recent success is attributed to her, Jane remains humble, referring to victories as “ours.”

Richard Ostheimer

Without Rick’s contributions to the NCTA Wampum Chapter, NCNST hikers in Ohio and Pennsylvania would have a lesser experience. Rick has been an NCTA member since 2007. He is a trail builder and maintainer, outreach representative, and tireless champion of moving trail off-road. He maintains several miles of Trail at Beaver Creek State Park, and has been involved in many large projects, including leading, teaching, and training a group of 40 high school students to build a mile of Trail over the course of a week. Rick is a member of the Enon Valley Bridge Crew, who, over the course of two years, designed and built 17 different foot bridges over 2.5 miles of new NCNST. There are many more examples, but suffice to say, whenever a trail work session is called, Rick will be there. He’s also spoken to many groups over the years about backpacking and hiking, using his experience as a Triple Crown finisher to enable new hikers to be comfortable with the basics of getting outdoors.

John Pearson

John has been a mainstay of the NCTA Brule-St. Croix Chapter in Wisconsin for 20 years, and an active member of the Wisconsin Roving Trail Crew since the mid-2000s. His welding and metalworking skills have been put to service many times to maintain and improve the equipment of both the Chapter and Rovers. He often provides his truck and trailer to move lumber from a sawmill to construction sites. John and his wife JoAnn maintain over five miles of NCNST in the Douglas County Wildlife Area, and they host tool trailers on their property and keep them maintained. John has been the go-to for heavy-duty trail work in Northwest Wisconsin.

Learn more about how the you can honor NCTA volunteers for their service on and for the North Country National Scenic Trail, and submit a nomination at northcountrytrail.org/volunteer-awards.