The great thing about the legacy that Jim and Denny have created here is that it is a living legacy, it lives on in the lives of those who come to camp. This all started for us about 20 years ago when Denny was hired with his family to be our camp ranger. The man knew what he was getting in to because he had camp fever like nobody's business, he was bitten by the camp spirit mosquito at a very young age at a camp in California. The fever rages on.
Since Denny's arrival in camp and the subsequent following of the rest of the Ross clan into camp - nothing is the same. Every piece of camp has been touched, moved, dug up, switched around and made better. Everything seen and unseen is changed for the better, often several times. I wanted to list all the projects tonight that Denny and Jim have been instrumental in - there are just too many.... everything from light fixtures to buildings to program areas has been affected by their big shovels, their hard work, their enthusiasm and their spirit.
I think more than anything that I have appreciated over the years is that they have carried on the idea and the principle that it is not their camp, but rather they are helping the greater group to accomplish what is needed for the program. You would never here a phrase "that'll never happen in my camp" or "in my camp we do things a different way", or even "you are not welcome here." Instead we hear, "come and help" "how do you think it should be done?" "what do you need to make your program?" "don't worry about the physical stuff, I'll help with that, you just focus on the program".
These men are great leaders who have sacrificed so much do accomplish what they have accomplished. When I think about the time and money and resources these two men have donated, dedicated, and given it is an inspiration to me. Almost nothing that has been built or torn down in the last 20 years would have been accomplished without as Duane put it: the "Jim Ross dollar stretcher. "These guys could turn $500 or $1000 into two or three times that - pulling in donated labor, providing construction equipment and tools at no charge, putting up matching cash, scrounging donated materials and encouraging others to help.
After 20 years of dedicated service, the Fire Mountain Staff Alumni Association recognizes Denny & Jim Ross with the Lifetime Achievement Award.