Tour walk organizer gets volunteer award

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

He's responsible for the Labor Day Lollygag, the Urban Garden Tour, the Tree-Hugger Tromp-Around and the Transylvania Trek.

These are all the names of themed walking tours that were part of RiverWalkers, an Old Town Cape walking club in which Steve Gerard has spent countless hours organizing, promoting and participating.

That's why Old Town Cape presented Gerard with its Volunteer of the Year Award Tuesday at its annual meeting at the Royal N'Orleans.

"Steve has single-handedly coordinated this effort," said Catherine Dunlap, executive director of Old Town Cape. "It's become one of our most popular promotions."

Dunlap said Gerard, who runs Gerard Financial Services, comes up with the different themed walks, creates maps of the tours and determines mileage on them so walkers can see how far they've gone. He also notes historical facts about the Old Town Cape district.

"It's been a major undertaking for one of our volunteers, and he does it every week, rain or shine," Dunlap said. "He's been quite energetic about this."

The club was formed lastMay and has grown to about 70 members, Dunlap said, though typically 15 or so participate in the walks. The weekly walks started out at 6 p.m. Thursdays, but since daylight-savings time has ended, they take place on Saturday mornings.

Gerard said his love of the Old Town Cape district prompted his quest to share its beauty with others.

"You get a different perspective when you walk," he said. "You gain a better appreciation for an area."

Plus, it's good exercise, Gerard said.

Dunlap said nominations came from committee chairmen within the Old Town Cape organization and its board of directors. The board of directors then voted.

Marsha Toll, promotions chairman for the group who won the first Volunteer of the Year Award last year, was among those who nominated Gerard.

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