Berner-Garde's Winston Neff Award
presented by the Berner-Garde President Lori Jodar

Speech given by Pat Long
repousse box presented by the artist Laura Lopez Mendez, DVM

Saturday night, April 26th, 2003
at the National Specialty in Long Beach, California.

"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 mistake.

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 Community."

Winston Award

Winston Repousse Box

*click here*
for pics of Joye receiving this award and more pics from the Speciality 2003

*Winston's Page on Histio Roll Call*

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