Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Friends of Perryville Battlefield - Does It Truly Exist?

At times I know I am not the most patient person in the world, but in this day and age of world wide web, internet, email, social media, and any other instant communication device we have available to use, I find it difficult to understand the lack of response to emails, especially emails from persons with a noted track record of passion and promotion.

I keep trying to get SOMEONE from the Friends of Perryville Battlefield to respond to ANYTHING I send them.  I became a member a few years ago, was promised a newsletter, never received a reminder to renew when my membership ran out, and finally sent them a fairly large amount of donation when I renewed in 2011.  Still, no newsletter.  And still, no renewal reminder.  When I send emails to those listed as contacts on the various websites, I hear crickets (actually the crickets are louder).  How can a volunteer organization be so non-responsive to a person whom has brought several hikers and history buffs to a battlefield that most of those aforementioned types would not have traveled to on their own?  How can an organization make promises and not keep them?  (just where is that newsletter I have heard about?)  How can they not utilize a person's passion for their organization?  It has become a bit of a running joke for me now, knowing that I can reach out, but there simply is no one reaching back.  Heck, I even make comments on the Friends of Perryville Battlefield Facebook page and get no rise.

I hear you already..."Darryl, they are a VOLUNTEER organization, no one is getting paid in this endeavor."  Yes, you are correct, absolutely correct with no denial.  Serving as a board member to a volunteer organization in Ohio, I know exactly what volunteers can and cannot do.  Volunteers give of themselves, freely, to make organizations "better."  So believe me folks, I "get it."  I get being busy.  Busy is why I email as opposed to talk on the phone...easier to compose and send an email while I am doing other things.  But I also get being responsible.  If you put a website out there, update it regularly.  If you put a contact email address out there, be prepared to check it on occasion and reply to those pending emails in your inbox.  If you make a promise, keep it.

So here I sit, waiting around in Ohio for folks who live practically on top of one of my favorite places on earth to grab onto my passion and USE IT!  Each year I am giving of my (volunteer) time to lead hikes on the Perryville battlefield.  I am gathering together folks who come to that hallowed ground and become interested in the stories of the men and regiments that fought there.  Those people are also buying items in the gift shop, spending money to tour the museum, and helping the local economy by frequenting food and drink places, not to mention putting fuel in their cars, in the greater Perryville area.  Seemingly I am helping to spread the Perryville story, now will someone help me and reply to emails and send me a blasted newsletter?

Over a year ago I was named the Trailmaster for the Friends group.  I have NO idea what that means or what I am supposed to be doing.  But do my inquires (and there have been several) go answered?  No.

Funny thing is...I know how great the people I am lambasting are.  Hard working, kind, really great folks that you just instantly take a liking to (or maybe that is take a shine to).  My face to face interactions in the area have all been so favorable, so honest, so passionate.  How can there be such a disconnect?  How can these folks who I know care about Perryville be so distant?

I have tried one more email, one more attempt to prod anyone into action.  I hope that I get a reply, because my passion is starting to cool.

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