It’s hard to keep a secret in the hunting community, and it’s especially hard when it has to be kept for three months and involves an SCI Past-President.
The Orange County Chapter decided to create a Lifetime Achievement Award to honor Dennis Anderson for his commitment to SCI. Dennis has served on every SCI committee and is one of the most accomplished hunters in the world.
With the assistance of SCI staff and the Trophy Record Department, a full listing of Dennis’ extensive committee service and World Hunting Awards was compiled and engraved on a magnificent trophy topped with a bull elephant.
The plan was to surprise Dennis with it in March, but the surprise had to be postponed until May. Hard to do, yes, but impossible, no.
While Dennis was getting ready to go to the May 31, 2015 Orange County Chapter Awards Banquet, he donned his World Hunting Award ring, assuming that he would be the only attendee with one at the event.
However, when he walked into the room, he was greeted by over 100 people, including five with WHA rings (Bill Figgie, Ricardo Longoria, Ralph Cunningham, Deb Cunningham, and J. Alain Smith), two other SCI Past Presidents (Ralph Cunningham and Mike Rogers, Sr.), a Weatherby Award winner (J. Alain Smith), the host of SCI’s Expedition Safari (Mike Rogers, Jr.), and a live video call from Craig Boddington.
Lisa McNamee presided over the event, and Jim Dahl presented the chapter’s traditional hunting awards. Four generations of Andersons looked on as Dennis received both the chapter’s annual Member of the Year Award and his Lifetime Achievement Award.
J. Alain Smith took the lead and guided the audience through a magnificent series of hunting stories, jokes and genuine insight of his long friendship with Dennis, and then he proceeded as the master of ceremonies for the evening. Everyone was able to hear from his fellow hunters about how Dennis has influenced his friends’ lives, worked tirelessly for SCI, and roast him a bit at the same time.
Chuck Walker told how Dennis brought one of two matching rifles, but not the correct ammo, on a bear hunt and how Dennis dropped everything and flew out of state with a friend for an oncologist appointment. Dan Fox told how Dennis tirelessly works for Youth Safari Day.
Dennis’ son, Todd Anderson, recounted the thrilling, whirlwind week he spent with his father at the 2015 SCI Convention and how Dennis instilled a strong work ethic in him. He described his dad as one who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy. Kathy Lynch was there to thank him for leading California’s chapters in their legislative affairs for the last several decades.
Ralph Cunningham told how the two of them would pledge each other’s money at SCI Board meetings. Mike Rogers Jr. spoke of Dennis’ tireless work for SCI over the decades and his acute sense of propriety. Sables Past President Mary Lynn West thanked him for his mentoring and guidance and read messages from those who could not be there, including SCI Past President Pat Bollman.
The only thing missing was a campfire in the middle of the room.
A few days before the event, an article in the Orange County Register newspaper included an appropriate description of Dennis’ actions: “Give yourself…ask for nothing.” It was an honor to pay tribute to Dennis Anderson, for hunters are better off because of him.