WBC Hobby Service Award 2005
Jan. 20, 2014

The Happy Handicapper gets ambushed by Convention Director Don Greenwood (right) as the first recipient of BPA's Hobby Service Award at the Annual Armistice Meeting.

Hobby Service Award

Since BPA exists solely on the basis of its members' willingness to give of themselves for the greater good and their voluntary efforts to support the boardgaming hobby, the Board of Directors has chosen to honor that spirit of volunteerism by singling out those who have done the most to improve the World Boardgaming Championships. The initial six honorees, one for each year of the WBC, were announced at the Sunday morning Armistice meeting in Lancaster on August 7th, 2005.

In all, twelve nominees were selected by the conference director for the Board's consideration. Factors in determining the nominees were length of service, quality of their event as demonstrated by number of entries, comments, and GM ratings and added features such as prize support or pre- or post-event statistical wrap-ups. Non-playing GMs were given added consideration as were those of Junior events. Playing GMs who have frequently won their own events were seen as having made less of a sacrifice.

The Board then voted by secret ballot, weighing their votes according to their own particular values as to what constituted the greatest contribution, by ranking each nominee from 12 (strongest) to 1 (weakest). The result was a good cross section of the nominees with no Board member successfully picking all six of the initial honorees. We will repeat the process each year, adding one new volunteer to our Honor Roll. Each honoree was presented with an engraved book clock keepsake and a BPA jacket.

BPA applauds the efforts of these members and the shining example they provide for the spirit of volunteerism that drives WBC.

Stuart Tucker

Kathy Stroh

Steve Okonski

Vince Meconi

Mark McLaughlin

Ken Whitesell

Stuart Tucker: Stuart is a past Board member who has always shouldered at least one GM burden every year; often doubling up to handle an orphaned event as well. Under his direction, Hannibal has prospered in a Pre-Con slot and he is largely responsible for the success of the Winter Activation Meeting mini-con. He may be better known for his role as the Happy Handicapper who posts the odds and commentary for our Team Tournament event. Lastly, he originated the Laurels concept that drives all of the Caesar and other metagaming secondary features of WBC. No wonder he led all the nominees in votes!

Kathy Stroh: Kathy is also a past Board member who could always be counted on to volunteer when a job needed doing. She headed the Juniors program at WBC long before there was a WBC and remains active as a Juniors GM today. Gender issues don't bother Kathy - she's a regular at the Enlightenment mini-con and has long competed there as the sole female in attendance.

Steve Okonski: Steve is the guy behind the scenes who gives BPA its public face to the world - working hard to organize our ever growing website. His programming skills have also fathered the Personal Scheduler which is a true boon to WBC veterans plotting out their daily schedules. Many of the photos gracing our website have come from Steve's camera in the years he's been able to attend. An ardent rail game buff, he has been active helping to run Rail Baron and Empire Builder and is also a winner of our Sportsmanship Award. Quite a resume.

Vince Meconi: Vince is the epitome of a professional GM. His vibrant War At Sea tournaments just get bigger and better every year despite being long out of print. He was the first GM to publish extensive statistics pertaining to his tournament. His players know that they will be provided plenty of post-event coverage direct from the horse's mouth every year. Not coincidentally, Vince always ranks highly in the GM of the Year balloting.

Mark McLaughlin: Mark really is the epitome of the enthusiastic volunteer. He's never had a child attend WBC but every year he runs Princess Ryan's just for the kids on Saturday morning. And every night he runs Napoleonic Wars for us big kids. Not a tournament kind of guy, Mark is unusual in that he doesn't play in his event except as needed to round out a table. But that doesn't stop him from buying a round for the finalists and toasting the emperor.

Ken Whitesell: Ken stands out in a crowd. Even without his hat adorned with his bonafides - badges from every Avaloncon/WBC - the 6' 5" WBC bouncer doesn't often sneak up on you. The founder of the Tontine society for veterans of all Avaloncons/WBCs, Ken is responsible for those WBC Legion XV additions to our Badge holders that all the in crowd is wearing. Ken has always taken on the dirty jobs that no one else wants - like acting as security in our non-obtrusive honor system badge police. He also volunteers for whatever event is orphaned in the waning days of the scheduling - foregoing the pleasure of running a favorite game for whatever happens to be needed. The big lug is really a softie at heart.

Chairman Ken Gutermuth (right) congratulates Ken Whitesell while adorning him in BPA green.

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