Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Egbert
BY COLBY WRASSE AND CHRIS EGBERT, COLUMBIA FWCO
the Missouri River. Credit: Courtesy of Chris Egbert
I feel small standing next to Chris, and not just because his 6’4” frame towers over me. No, I feel small because the height of the man’s character casts such a tall shadow. Chris Egbert has been our volunteer extraordinaire over the past few years, logging hundreds of hours assisting with our pallid sturgeon monitoring and broodstock collection efforts. Whenever we need an extra hand, Chris is always there. His motto has always been, “Whenever you need me,”, and he really means it.
Public service seems to be in his DNA, as he has spent a lifetime serving his country, state and city. As a young man, Chris served in the U.S. Navy, completing two tours in the Vietnam War Zone. He chose law enforcement as his career, retiring at the rank of Captain from the Columbia Police Department in 1993, and then retiring from Missouri State Government in 2008 after a career with the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Corrections.
Now retired, Chris isn’t spending his golden years watching daytime television. In addition to volunteering for our office, he also volunteers with Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge and the Raptor Rehabilitation Project at the University of Missouri’s School of Veterinary Medicine. When he’s not volunteering, you are likely to find Chris roaming the streams and woods of Missouri, catching trout or hunting squirrels. Or he might be in his workshop turning slabs of wood and common gourds into works of art. Or maybe you will find him doting on his granddaughter Ella, or treating his wife Kay to dinner and a show. But you will not find him sitting idly by twiddling his thumbs watching the time pass. Though retired, he keeps plenty busy.
pallid sturgeon Chris has helped us collect. Credit: USFWS Columbia FWCO
Now a seasoned volunteer, Chris is like a member of our field crew. His youthful looks and boundless energy belie his calendar age, as he’s able to perform fieldwork that tests a 20 year-old’s strength and stamina. Chris is always ready with a lively story and a good joke to keep the day interesting, and even though we often ask him to volunteer on cold, windy, rainy days, he is always ready to come back for more. I would say that I wished we had more volunteers like Chris, but it is not possible, because, he’s truly one of a kind.