2008 Volunteer of the Year



Try keeping tabs on John morrison Jr., and you’d never guess he’s retired. “after 28 years of the air Force, you don’t just retire to the back porch,” declares morrison. “The tempo to your life keeps going.” after retiring as a colonel, morrison made good on a promise to move to the Vancouver area to be nearer to his parents. Soon after, “i ran into a friend who was involved in beekeep- ing. i’d been interested in that for a long time, and went to a meeting with him of the Clark County beekeepers association, joined the club and the very next year there was talk of bee- keepers getting on the (Clark County) Fair board. So, i went to a couple of meetings,” he recounts. in short order, “i ended up being the (bee- keepers’) Fair board representative.” Today, much of morrison’s busy-as-a- bee activity centers around volunteering and the Clark County Fair. A Fair board member since 1993, morrison has been a member and chairman of several Fair board committees during the past 15 years. he served as the Clark County beekeepers’ board representative for 13 years and was instrumental

in bringing the bee barn to the Clark County Fair. morrison says of the award winning on display, “it’s super educational for people who had no idea of the impact of that industry. … The bee barn a place where you can learn about everything there is to learn about bees.”

From 1997 to 2006, morrison was a member of the Fair Facilities Commit- tee and later he was involved in the Fairgrounds Site management Group.

morrison was vice chairman of the Fair board from 1997 to 2000, and chairman of the board from 2001 through 2006. That tenure was two years longer than the typical chairmanship length, as morrison

volunteered to stay on in the role in order to complete the negotiations with Clark County on long term management responsibilities for the year-round operation of the Fair- grounds. “When i was the Fair board chairman, there were weekly and monthly meetings,” and during the 10 days of the fair, “it wasn’t unusual for me to get to the fairgrounds at 7 o’clock in the morning and you don’t leave until late in the evening.”

Currently, morrison serves on the board as a member-at-large, repre- senting community interests.

Given his level of involvement and years of service, it’s no surprise mor- rison was recently named Volunteer of the Year by the Clark County Fair association.

Regarding being named Volunteer of the Year morrison says, “it’s an honor to be recognized as ‘the one,’ it really is, but the success and popular- ity of the Clark County Fair is rooted in the really dedicated efforts of the Fair staff, the Fair board members and the 2,000-plus volunteers who put this on. any one of them could be Volunteer of the Year. … There are so many unsung heroes out there.”

Keeping Traditions Alive

For morrison, 4-h has been a near constant in his life. in his youth, he spent many years as a 4-h member showing beef and swine and exhibit- ing garden vegetables at the monroe County Fair in upstate new York, and the father of two volunteered with his daughters in 4-h horse showmanship and rabbits at the ellensburg Wash- ington Fair and Rodeo. he remains a vocal proponent of 4-h to this day. “i think it provides kids with what i con- sider to be very wholesome activities. and it has other leadership aspects,” he explains. in addition, “i think it’s got a lot of ability to show kids what agriculture has meant not only to our community but to our country.”

morrison and his wife mary ann know they can count on some company during Fair time. For the past 13 years, they have hosted the national honey board’s american honey Queen at their home. “We’ve gotten calls from state fairs and other county fairs asking, ‘how do you get her to come to your fair?’ ” morrison reports. “once we started having

her here, we treat her right and she has a super audience to present that message to at the Clark County Fair.” having the honey Queen present

“is a real feather in the Clark County Fair cap,” he declares.

When asked if he toys with retiring from his volunteer duties with the Fair, morrison replies, “i don’t see it in the foreseeable future. i have the luxury of being retired, therefore, i have time available to do this.”