Elk NetworkYvonne Decker – A Volunteer from the Very Beginning

40th Anniversary , Bugle , General , Volunteer News , Volunteer Newsletter | May 8, 2024

Below is the Answer the Call/Volunteer Highlight, found in the May-June 2024 issue of Bugle magazine.

Yvonne Decker has been an RMEF volunteer from the moment the organization sprang up. In fact, she even sketched the first-ever elk logo for RMEF. 

“It’s probably not the best elk you ever saw,” she says about the drawing, adding, “when there’s no one else to do it, you just do what you have to do.”

In the 40 years since then, Yvonne has held every role on the Lincoln County Chapter committee in Libby, Montana, from chapter chair to finance chair to merchandise chair. Originally from Strasbourg, France, she moved to Libby after WWII. She’s been married to her high-school sweetheart, RMEF cofounder Charlie Decker, for nearly 63 years, although Charlie says the union teetered briefly when he emptied their oldest son’s college fund to help birth RMEF. Yvonne liked the idea of an organization for elk but didn’t like throwing all their savings at an idea (however good) during what were tough economic times for the couple. But once she recognized Charlie’s determination, she jumped on board, ready to help elbow-grease the idea to success. “For a long time there at the beginning I didn’t think RMEF had a chance, so I did all I could to help,” she says. And she hasn’t stopped helping since. “She’s always volunteered; that’s just her,” says Charlie. 

Yvonne is a Life Member, an RMEF donor and she’s included RMEF in her estate plans. She’s also a prolific canner and donates a basket of highly sought-after canned goods each year to the local banquet, including homemade relish and huckleberry and raspberry jams.  

“She’s so humble; she wanted none of that credit, but she did so much for RMEF for so many years,” says Kirk Murphy, RMEF managing director of field operations.

“She’s the hardest working person I’ve ever met in my life,” says her son and RMEF Chief Revenue Officer Steve Decker. “She’s a great example of volunteering for the right reasons. She takes pride in serving a purpose and giving to a cause without expecting anything in return.” 

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)