Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) – Jack and Eva White are two of about 500 volunteers who work to put on the Three Rivers Festival every year. They help make organizing the event easier for Executive Director Jack Hammer. “We do our very best with our volunteers,” said Hammer. “We ask them to remember they are ambassadors of Fort Wayne.”
Hammer says the Whites are among his best ambassadors. Eva has been volunteering for 26 years. Jerry has been helping out for almost as long as the festival has been in existence. He started when he was 24 years old and has been a vital part of the volunteer team 48 of the festival’s 49 years. “I basically work on logistics with setting up everything,” said Jerry. “Not only concessions but putting up all the fencing, everything in the plaza, tables and making sure everything is coming together in one smooth operation.”
Jerry is a consulting engineer. His wife Eva is a school teacher. Together, they lead the team. “When you stop to think they’re only four to five paid people, everyone else is volunteers,” said Eva. “That means they love their community. They want to help. They’re the kind of people I want to hang around. They’re positive people.”
Jerry and Eva spend two weeks working to transform Headwaters Park into a festival haven. While most of their volunteering is done behind the scenes, they do recall a very public festival moment. “We were in the parade and he was Admiral Andy,” said Eva. “I had to help him stand up and stay balanced. The kids were running to him they wanted Admiral Andy. It was so much fun.”
Jerry’s days of playing Admiral Andy are gone but his days of being the go-to guy in operations are far from over. “My goal is to hit number 50. The big 5-Oh,” said Jerry. “You look around and there are so many things that need to have volunteers and there are so few people who have the time to volunteer and I guess my feeling is that it was my calling to be a volunteer and to help wherever a guy could help.”
For information on how you can help and for a look at festival events go to the Three Rivers Festival website.