|"Joye Neff - when
you hear that name many of you instinctively go for your wallet. You
are either going to give money away or you are going to try to keep
your money safe for a little while longer. But eventually, almost
all of us will end up giving money to Joye. In the last five years
alone she has raised almost $75,000 from us. And it doesn't appear
that she is about to stop. Seventy-Five Thousand dollars - How has
she done it? Fundraisers - she's famous for her fundraisers. She
also helps me (while always aggravating her arthritis) doing
portrait photos to raise money all over the US. At the 2002
Specialty she chaired several committees, worked the hospitality
room, published her series "Shopping at the Specialty,"
all the while getting donations, either money or better yet - prizes
from the vendors for her NEXT fundraiser project. In the middle of
all that she managed somehow to compete in the draft test, and help
with the portrait photo fundraiser. Not all of these ideas were
original to Joye, but she is able to take ideas and make them
uniquely hers. Her organizational skills are unsurpassed and she is
simply impossible to say no to.
What else does Joye Neff do? She is a trustee of the
Berner-Garde Foundation. She is an active member of the Three Rivers
Club. Mother, Grandmother, and she has a busy full-time job at a
real estate company. Joye always seems happy to take on new work.
She has special skills in proof reading - can find even the smallest
I don't remember Joye ever refusing a project or a request, and
she always accomplishes what she has accepted. She's dependable,
rock-solid. Somehow with all the people she meets and works with, I
don't think she has ever even unintentionally hurt anyone as she is
such a caring person. I give her the highest praise I dole out to
anyone - "she's good people".
At the beginning of this year, her four-year old Berner boy
Winston died of malignant histiocytosis. During Winston's illness
and untimely passing, Joye was in the middle of a fundraiser for
BARC and Light One Candle. Most of us would have collapsed in a heap
but Joye kept working with such dogged determination that it was one
of the most successful fundraisers to date. Joye never paused; she
kept on pushing for what she knew was important to all Berners.
A special friend to Joye, Jane Heggen, wanted to find a way to
recognize the selfless spirit which Joye so perfectly epitomizes.
Working with Berner-Garde she has created the Winston Neff Award as
a tribute to Joye and the beautiful Berner that she lost much too
soon. Another special friend to Joye, Nancy Melone worked tirelessly
to make this award a reality. Several of Joye's admirers and fans
donated money to make this a self funded award that can be given in
future years to individuals who have also made extraordinary
contributions to the health and welfare of Bernese Mountain Dogs.
The award is this lovely etched glass. A special box accompanies
this first presentation. The box, made by Laura Lopex Mendez, has a
repousse of Winston on the top.
In the future it will be difficult to choose just one deserving
person, there are so many people who give so much to the breed. But
the choice for the first recipient was simple. Thank you Joye Neff
for being such a special friend to so many of us, but with this
award we especially thank you for being a friend to the Bernese
Mountain Dog. Winston may be gone from your side but he will live on
through this award and remain forever a part of our Berner
for pics of Joye receiving this award and more pics from the
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