August 2011 - Volunteer Spotlight - Pat Lodge and David Poole
MerleFest volunteers, Pat Lodge and David Poole, live in Marion, N.C., in the summer months and in St. John, Virgin Islands, in the winter. Even though Marion is a neighbor of MerleFest’s home of Wilkesboro, it was on their island paradise that the couple learned of the volunteer program. “On St. John, Pat is a volunteer docent at the Annaberg Sugar Mill. One day last winter some tourists visiting the mill from the States shared that they were repeat volunteers at MerleFest—and they loved it! We went right home and began the sign-up process. I’m sorry to say we did not find those people at the festival, but we thank them for the great information if they read this.”
MerleFest 2011 was Pat and David’s first volunteer experience at the festival. They had a variety of jobs—ushering, greeting and working security. “It was our first time, but we look forward to many more.” Giving back through volunteer work is a priority for the couple—both now retired. In addition to Pat’s work at the sugar mill on St. John’s, she also gives her time to Friends of the Park and the U.S. National Park in the Virgin Islands. When in North Carolina, she volunteers at a National Park Service visitors’ center at Linville Falls. David works as a volunteer at the Altapass Apple Orchard on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Their volunteer work at MerleFest on behalf of Wilkes Community College is especially meaningful to the couple. Pat comments, “Being a former educator, it warms my heart to think that the effort and benefits of the festival go to support education. The college goes a long way in promoting a strong and vital community, which makes Wilkesboro an attractive place to live.”
Their two homes allow them to pursue their varied interests—Dave hikes, snorkels, gardens, motorcycles, enjoys bluegrass music and does woodworking. Pat hikes, does pottery and needlework, gardens and enjoys bluegrass music. Dave has travelled all over the United States and Canada on his motorcycle. He was an avid bicyclist and pedaled 3,000 miles or more each year for a long time. He sailed to and from the Caribbean several times, and in his work as a manager in a large crane and rigging company, drove many oversized loads from coast to coast. Pat taught first grade in Detroit, coached and officiated school sports, and ran recreational leagues and classes. In 1994 she rode her bicycle from the state of Washington to Maine. Pat and David have children and grandchildren who live in Charlotte, N.C.; Ontario, Canada; Michigan; and St. John.
Pat Lodge and David Poole look forward to returning to MerleFest 25 and hope to see their favorites there—Peter Rowan, Del McCoury and the Kruger Brothers. “We met many wonderful people and even brought one of those new friends home with us before he left for the long drive back to Connecticut. We loved being a part of such an exciting, well run music event.”