2018 HOF Class Explain Value of Volunteering

April 23, 2018 by Beth Sitzler

The seven members who will be inducted into the NATA Hall of Fame during the 69th NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo this June in New Orleans were featured in the May NATA News. In addition to sharing their fondest memories and hopes for the future of the profession, they discussed volunteerism and its importance. Below you can read more about what led the Hall of Fame Class of 2018 to volunteer and give back to the profession:


Kent Biggerstaff, ATC, LAT: All of my mentors stressed to me the importance of giving back, and volunteering is a great way to do so. Great satisfaction comes from giving and knowing that you are helping to make the profession better.


Nancy C. Burke, MS, AT Ret.: My parents were good roles models for my brothers and sisters and I. They volunteered for various activities and we just naturally took it up to help make things better. I have been very fortunate, and to give back is a good thing. I love this career and my experiences.

I want to share with those who are coming up and I want to work to make things better for those of us in practice. Volunteering has helped me grow as an athletic trainer as well as an advocate for athletic training. I get the satisfaction of knowing that an athletic trainer has made a difference. It’s a win-win.


John Davis, MS, ATC: Shortly after I arrived at Montclair State University in November 1984, I was introduced to Joe Camillone (Trenton State) and Tim Sensor (Kean), who were very involved in the New Jersey athletic training community. Also, a few months later, I found myself hosting the BOC exam at Montclair, where I met Ronnie Barnes (NY Giants) and Jim Gossett (Columbia) at that test site and they further introduced me to the benefits of volunteerism. The people and friends I have met through being a volunteer in and outside of athletic training have been awesome. We have heard many times that athletic training is a “family,” and being a part of something bigger than myself is very rewarding.


Marty Matney, MBA, LAT, ATC, LPTA: A phone call. I was new to District Ten, and out of the blue I got a phone call from Dale Blair (AT in Washington State) asking me if I would like to be vice president of the Washington State Athletic Trainers’ Association (later the WSATA). He said it would be a good way to meet people and required no work on my part. Is there an election? No, just a yes or no. I said “yes” and thankfully a lot has changed since. That phone call was in 1988. Since then I have met so many wonderful people who I can truly say are my friends. I am proud of the initiatives I have been involved in, such as licensure and contributing to changes national landscape for our profession. I am athletic trainer who arrived at this juncture through a different route, through so-called emerging settings. Early in my career as a clinical AT, I was part of a small group that bucked the trend and saw opportunity in areas such as licensure, reimbursement and settings other than athletics. I am particularly gratified that as an athletic trainer who swam against the current, I am now part of a major segment of our profession. This honor recognizes those of us who see opportunity in finding new ways to do new things. I look forward to seeing where our profession goes. I hope I have had a chance to help others along the way like so many have helped me.


Gary D. Reinholtz, MA, ATC: Gordy Graham, my mentor in athletic training, suggested early in my career to get involved in the profession. This lead me to volunteer to be the newsletter editor of District Four in 1980. This encouraged me to get involved at the state, district and national levels for more than 20 years. I received so much from these experiences, and met many outstanding athletic trainers along the way.


René Revis Shingles, PhD, AT, ATC: Early in my career, I had the privilege of being taught, mentored by and working for athletic trainers who have impacted athletic training at all levels. Some of these individuals are now NATA Hall of Fame members. Observing them showed me the importance of giving to the profession and, more importantly, what it meant to be a professional. They told me about committee openings and encouraged my involvement.

I enjoy helping. Volunteering allows me to help others; to help my profession, community, university; to give. My husband, Stan, often says, “Service is the price you pay for the space you occupy.” My sentiments, exactly!


Jim Thornton, MA, LAT, ATC: From the beginning, I was fortunate to see firsthand what it was to volunteer. Dale Mildenberger was a member of the NATA board during my undergrad days. I had the opportunity to meet Otho Davis when he visited Utah State one year for the District Seven meeting. Dale instilled a sense of responsibility for not only being in the profession, but participating in the promotion of that profession as well. Dale took a couple other students and me to our first national convention in San Antonio and I was hooked. After I moved to Clarion and got settled a little bit, I felt that it was time for me to contribute. Currently, young NATA members have many more opportunities to start this process than we did when I was their age. So in the end, inspiration to be an involved member came from a sense of responsibility instilled in me by Dale and other mentors. It has become clear to me that this sense of responsibility continues to be the reason that virtually all of our volunteers contribute to the progression of this great profession.