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Longtime Bantam volunteers earn special recognition

For the first time, specialty pins will be awarded to Bantam Jeep Festival volunteers who have achieved the 10-, seven-, five- and three-year milestones with the festival. Bantam’s over 500 volunteers are a huge part of making the festival happen each year. Submitted photo

Bantam’s over 500 volunteers are a huge part of making the festival happen each year. To recognize these volunteers, specialty pins will be given out in 2022 for the first time.

This new volunteer recognition program honors those who have achieved volunteer milestones. Pins will be awarded to those who achieved the 10-, seven-, five- and three-year milestones in 2021.

Pins will be awarded to those who qualify for the milestones at the volunteer kick-off party on Thursday, June 9.

Jim Bob Donze is one of the long-standing volunteers who has been at the festival since the beginning. He and many others will be honored for their 10 years of volunteering.

“There are many people who put a lot of work in to make this event happen,” Donze said. “I have always been a Jeeper, and when I heard that a Jeep festival was being started years ago, I knew I had to be a part of it. Not only have I developed a depth of knowledge about Bantam’s history, but I have gained so much more.”

Donze mentioned that the friendships, memories, connections and knowledge he has acquired over his time at Bantam are irreplaceable.

“It’s a true honor to be a part of this, I am appreciative of this organization,” he said.

Each of the milestone pins feature a different Jeep model. The three-year pin features the 1940 Bantam Reconnaissance Car pilot, the five-year pin features a Ford GP, the seven-year pin showcases a red Jeep CJ and the 10-year pin has a Jeep Wrangler TJ.

“We couldn’t have Bantam without our dedicated volunteers and this is one more way that we can show our appreciation to them,” said Todd Wagner, Friends of the Jeep Association president. “We hope our volunteers will wear their pins proudly, because they deserve this recognition.”