Dan Bennett

Volunteer of the Year 2019

A family man through and through, it isn’t surprising that searching for fun things to do with his grandchildren is what drew Dan to visit the Estuary Center. And being an overgrown kid at heart, Dan decided to stay and play with us! And when I say play, I do mean play! When asked for his favorite volunteer moments, he tells me he loves being in the circle for summer camp name games, watching the newest batch of campers wrestle with whether or not to throw the ball at the “old man”. They soon discover he is competitive and will do what it takes to ace the game—including slicing a hard-to-catch pass right back at them!

Since walking in the doors of the Center in 2013, Dan has expanded his volunteer repertoire to include canoe and kayak sweep, education programs, camp aide, and special event volunteer. Dan and his wife, Carol, come up with amazing skits and props for Halloween! I will never forget their “wild dancing rumpus” of “Where the Wild Things Are”, nor their talking trees from “Chesapeake Adventures”. All these volunteer jobs share a common element—interacting with people. Dan is not escaping from the world at the Center, he is embracing and sharing the outdoors with people of all ages.

If you hang around here long enough, we will always ferret out a few hidden talents, and in Dan’s case, that means we have taken advantage of his excellent carpentry and finance skills. He built the owl enclosure as well as the Little Library, helped work on the Nature Discovery area and is refurbishing the Sensory Trail and he is a board member and now the Treasurer of the OPCA.

Dan and Carol have 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Since retiring, Dan happily spends a lot of his time babysitting his grandchildren and great grandchildren, traveling two days of every week to New Jersey, in fact, to care for his 10 month old granddaughter! He is currently her primary crawling coach, cheering her on to new adventures. Each week he returns to his home of 35 years in Edgewood, where he volunteers for his church, the Welcome One Homeless Shelter, and us.