Above (from l. to r.): NRA President Allan Cors, Honored Employee Carolyn Chin and NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
The staff at NRA Headquarters is a special breed as we are reminded every winter at the annual awards and recognition ceremony.
In 1966, recently graduated Carolyn Minor, responding to a telephone call from her sister, arrived at the National Education Association in downtown Washington, DC, for her very first job interview.
Once her interview with the NEA was completed, the enterprising young Carolyn Minor went across the street to 1600 Rhode Island Ave. NW for a second and providential interview. While that address is now home to a Marriott hotel, it was then the NRA Headquarters.
In 1969, Minor married, changing her last name to what she is affectionately known as today. Fifty years later, Chin will tell you that she still enjoys going to work each day in the Competitive Shooting Division where she is now the Assistant Manager of the Tournament Reporting Section. On a rare sick day, Chin once told a friend that she would rest a while and then make the 45-minute commute from Maryland for the remaining half day at work. Typical for some, her friend could not understand Chin’s dedication, but many people at NRA Headquarters do.
Says Chin: “When we were in DC, it was a closer group. Even though we were on seven floors with a small little café, we still seemed to see each other weekly. After we moved to Fairfax, VA, in 1994, we eventually became a larger group, so it’s harder to keep up with friends. When I first started in Tournament Reporting, nothing was computerized. There were six of us needed to handle all the 3x5 cards for 10,000-plus sanctioned matches a year. Even though we’re automated now, there’s a lot that goes into documenting all those matches: Recording the names of the winners for the annual State Champions recognition, verifying member status for national awards, making follow-up calls when the correct SR-1 form isn’t used for tournament reporting, checks are missing or made out for the wrong amount. But I enjoy what I do. I’ve never had a day where I didn’t feel like going to work. I think I’ve been successful because I try to complete each day’s paperwork on the same day. I don’t leave things undone.”
What’s your biggest challenge? “Responding to late requests. Because of the large backlog of matches each year, we need the applications at least two months before the tournament.” Is there a slow season in tournament sanctioning? “Things calm down a little by November and then they pick up again in January.”
Thanks to people like Carolyn Chin, NRA Headquarters really is a special place to work.