For nearly 40 years, Oran Richard has dedicated himself to Ducks Unlimited's mission. He became a DU member when every dollar raised went to conserve habitat on Canada's breeding grounds, a practice he still believes in strongly. "These birds come south and then go back north. Without the nesting habitat in Canada, you have no ducks," he said. "Money on the ground, all focused on wetlands – that is what DU does."
Oran's support continued as DU began conservation work in the United States in 1984, and when DU delivered its first acre in his home state of Louisiana the following year. Whenever DU needed someone to step up for the ducks, Oran was there. "Back in 1973, a bunch of my friends asked me go with them to a DU event," Oran remembered. "I can think of only one of the annual banquets I have missed since then. It's just a fun organization; no other organization comes close."
After attending that first event, Oran went on to serve as a committee member for the Lafayette Chapter, a Wetlands America Trust board member, and a volunteer DU TV co-host. He is the owner of Industrial Helicopters and several recreational properties that allow him and his wife, Joan, to fully enjoy the outdoors. Oran and Joan are DU Diamond Benefactors and Grand Slam Sponsors in Perpetuity, as well as members of DU's President's Council and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico's John E. Walker III Society.
In March 2013, DU finally had a chance to recognize the man who has given so much of himself to the organization. More than 140 friends and family members attended the tribute dinner and weekend-long celebration honoring Oran. The event raised more than $950,000 for a tribute project located in the Prairie Pothole Region of Saskatchewan, Canada.
"The things they said about me made me weak in the knees," Oran said of being recognized during the tribute dinner. "I'm not sure I deserved that. Preservation of the land, this creation that is so magnificent – my life on the farm taught me to do whatever I could to make it better. My parents sent me out every day telling me that the field I was to work needed to be better in the evening than it was in the morning."
Oran's story was featured in the 2013 Ducks Unlimited Annual Report. For more information on becoming a DU Major Sponsor, please visit our Leadership Giving homepage or contact Senior Manager of Development Operations Anita Tyler at (901) 758-3871 or firstname.lastname@example.org.