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Family Ties Made Even Stronger Through Shared Volunteerism

NRCS Landscape Architect Fernando Rincon has always been a strong supporter of the Earth Team Program. He has promoted it and has recruited many volunteers over the years. And he has volunteered his own time and talents to helping his colleagues and partners.

Volunteerism is a trait that runs deep in the Rincon Family. Fernando's wife, Blanca, is an Earth Team volunteer who has been helping out at the annual Tour des Farms events (sponsored by the two RC&D Councils) for many years.

Tour des Farms is a leisurely bicycle ride that takes riders through some of Connecticut's most scenic areas with stops at farms along the way. Riders can purchase items along the way, and volunteers will pick up and deliver the goods back to the starting point. Blanca has helped with setup and breakdown at the event, directing riders to parking areas and farm stops, serving up fresh pies, and riding the routes looking for strays or lost riders. She has been a huge asset to the event and has contributed greatly to its success.

Earth Team volunteer holding certificate of appreciationFernando's father, Fernando Sr., is also an Earth Team volunteer and has been his son's right hand at a number of events. One of his fondest memories of the Tour des Farms is when he and his grandson, Alejandro, directed bicycle traffic at one of the farm stops.

During the South Branch Park River Trail Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (an inner-city trail designed by his son) Fernando Sr. saw that help was needed in setting up for the event. He jumped right in without being asked. He was a wizard with the tents and tables, and helped carry in the food and drinks for the celebration. Then he stood proudly, and clapped loudly, as his son received recognition for his work. "He is ALWAYS helping, "said Fernando, "I hope to be half the father he has been."

The younger Fernando has also been a huge help to his colleagues and partners by offering his expertise during the planning of Tour des Farms events. His assistance in planning out the routes and creating amazing maps for the riders to follow has been outstanding. As a dedicated cyclist and a competitor in triathlons, Fernando's experience has helped make the event fun for cyclists of all levels. (Three routes are offered, a 10 mile, a 25 mile and a 62 mile or metric century, so that everyone can enjoy the farm tours at their own pace.) On the day of the event, Fernando volunteers his time by helping set up and break down, directing traffic, and riding along with the cyclists to make sure they are on course and having fun. "He arrives as the sun is coming up," said Mark Cummings, King's Mark RC&D Coordinator, "and leaves long after the event is over."

The Rincon family has contributed much more than their time to our agency and partners. Their strong work ethic, combined with their spirit of community, has made them a model volunteer family. "It's wonderful to see a family working so close together, supporting each other's adventures, and celebrating their accomplishments and successes, "said State Earth Team Coordinator Carol Donzella. "Connecticut's Earth Team counts itself very fortunate to have them on our team."