By Rob Potter
HORTONVILLE The Delaware Valley Junior Rifle Club celebrated the end of its 2008-2009 season on Wednesday night at Earl Kinney Excavating & Trucking in Hortonville.
Following the national anthem, Paul Brustman, who is one the club’s instructors, welcomed everyone to the event.
“I would like to thank all of the parents for getting your kids here each Wednesday night,” he said. “These are a great group of well-behaved kids.”
On behalf of himself, Kautz and the other three club instructors Earl Kinney, Peter Smith and Al Steppich Brustman then presented a framed Appreciation of Service certificate to Bill Schultz, who has been a instructor since the Delaware Valley Junior Rifle Club was formed two decades ago. Prior to that, he was an instructor for the rifle club at the former Delaware Valley Central School in Callicoon.
In all, Schultz has been instructing rifle club youth members for nearly 40 years.
“For the last 30-plus years, Bill Schultz has been everything for these local rifle clubs,” Brustman said. “He has been president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, instructor and scorekeeper. We really appreciate you, Bill, for everything you have done for these clubs.”
Schultz then made everyone smile and laugh when he looked at Brustman, Kautz, Kinney, Smith and Steppich and said, “It took five of them to replace me.”
He then spoke from the heart.
“Thank you all very much,” Schultz said as he held his appreciation certificate. “I appreciate it more than you know.
“I have really enjoyed working with all of these young people,” he continued. “They are wonderful. I would tell them to keep shooting. It’s a wonderful sport, don’t ever give it up.”
Schultz also thanked the parents in attendance for supporting and encouraging their children’s interest in shooting.
Although Schultz has retired from instructing the young shooters, he attended some of the shooting nights this season to observe the kids and how they were improving their skills. He said he would be back to watch again next season as well.
Steppich reminded the young club members that target shooting in unlike other sports such as football, baseball and golf.
“The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution directly affects your sport,” he said. “It’s the only sport guaranteed in the Constitution. The Second Amendment protects your right to keep and bear arms.”
Steppich then noted the club will soon be receiving gun safes, guns and other equipment thanks to a grant from the NRA Foundation. He noted that three people who were integral in ensuring the Delaware Valley Junior Rifle Club was one of the clubs which received a grant were Jacqueline A. Emslie, Michael Gagliardi and Jim Hemmer. Emslie is a NRA Foundation member and the Women in the Shooting Sports Director for the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, which is the NRA affiliate here in New York, Gagliardi is the Sullivan County Friends of the NRA Chairman and Hemmer is the Sullivan County Friends of the NRA Co-Chairman of Grants and Sportsman Federation Delegate.
“When I found out this club received a grant for $4,952, which is almost the maximum of $5,000, I had to come here to meet the members and instructors,” Emslie said. “Last year, the NRA Foundation only awarded grants to 51 percent of the organizations that applied.
“We need to support our youth,” she added.
Emslie noted that last year the 25 NRA Foundation committees located throughout the state north and west of Dutchess and Orange counties received half of the money raised by local Friends of the NRA through banquets. That total of $152,000 is given back to those local Friends of the NRA groups to fund a variety of causes, such as community rifle teams and enhancements and improvements to shooting ranges.
Emslie added that the NRA Foundation, which is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization, has awarded more than $125 million in grants since it was formed back in 1990.
Gagliardi said that Hemmer and fellow NRA member Leo Cecil did most of the work in securing the grant for the Delaware Valley Junior Rifle Club.
“When I was here last year and heard the way all of these kids said the Pledge of Allegiance, I wanted to do all I could to see that this club received a grant,” Gagliardi said. “When these kids said the pledge, it was heartfelt and sincere.”
Brustman and fellow instructor Rob Kautz then presented National Rifle Association (NRA) marksmanship awards to the 32 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 19 who have been shooting at targets every Wednesday evening in the Earl Kinney Excavating & Trucking garage since last October.
Those winners were as follows.
Pro-Marksman: Chelsea Abplanalp, Kyle Bernitt, Brody Cobb, James Edwards and Reed Scott
Marksman: Sonya Gattus and Gavin Owen
Marksman 1st Class: Kelsey Brockner, Jacob Longworth and Devon Muzuruk
Sharp Shooter: Greg Bradley
Sharp Shooter 1st Bar: Ryan Lowe, Brant Smith and Kristiana Smith
Sharp Shooter 2nd Bar: Kenny Abplanalp, Morganne Brooks, Joey Moran and Tom Stein
Sharp Shooter 3rd Bar: Tim Tonjes
Sharp Shooter 4th Bar: Stas Borowski
Sharp Shooter 5th Bar: Travis Brockner, Kitt Borowski, Scott Erdman, Michael Feigenbutz
Sharp Shooter 7th Bar: Kelly Anderson, Evan Decker, Lauren Ritz
Sharp Shooter 8th Bar: John Powers, Harold Smith
Sharp Shooter 9th Bar: David Schultz
Expert: Michael Hahn
Distinguished Expert 2nd Bar: Stephanie Anderson
Kautz also presented some Special Awards, which included:
Highest Score Prone: Greg Bradley
Highest Score Sitting: Kelly Anderson
Highest Score Kneeling: Evan Decker
Highest Score Offhand: Michael Hahn
Perfect Attendance: Michael Hahn
Most Improved Shooter: Kelly Anderson
Best Overall Shooter: Michael Hahn