Straight shooter

Every organization can use good volunteers. They are hard to come by, but a local club boasts one of the best – Rodney Hell.

The Minot man is perhaps the most recognized member of the Minot Rifle and Pistol Club. During the winter months he can often be found polishing floors at the indoor range or putting the finishing touches on a few odd jobs. In summer he’ll be cutting grass or otherwise preparing the outdoor range for an upcoming competition.

Hell is a dedicated volunteer, an experienced range safety officer and never afraid to do more than his share of work.

“Things have got to get done, multiple things,” said Hell about the club’s indoor facility. “The building is 9 years old now. If we improve on something we make it easier for everybody.”

The retired commercial painter was one of what he calls the “original five” that spearheaded development and construction of the club’s indoor range. Today the facility is Hell’s home away from home. He spends countless hours there in a tireless effort to make sure the building continues to serve members and guests.

“There is quite a bit of rewards, you know. The compliments we get on the place being clean. Of course, that’s our goal here. Once it gets from messy to dirty, you’ve got a problem,” explained Hell.

The valuable volunteer that places a high priority on building and grounds’ appearance might be seen vacuuming the expansion joints in the concrete on the shooting area floor one minute and then moving snow in the parking lot the next.

“I just go out and do what has to be done. It’s fun driving a tractor,” laughed Hell.

Hell is known by most as simply “Doc,” a moniker that is a perfect fit for one of his favorite activities. Doc is marshal of the Trestle Valley Rangers who participate in colorful and popular Cowboy Action Shooting. Also known as the Single Action Shooting Society, cowboy shooters wear period dress and compete with period firearms.

As a volunteer, Hell has constructed hundreds of period-style targets for SASS events since he was asked to host Minot’s first Cowboy Action Shoot for the Prairie Rose Games in 2008. The event proved successful and enjoyable.

“It grew from there and we’re still growing. Now we shoot regularly outdoors and we even shoot indoors during the winter,” said Hell. “It’s just unreal. People involved in the shooting sports love to meet and greet. It’s unexplainable. Everybody is buddy-buddy.”

As in all shooting sports and whenever firearms are present, safety is the number one emphasis. Hell teaches that anytime a gun is handled that it must be treated as loaded “whether it is or isn’t, doesn’t matter.”

Paying attention to details and staying on top of things, like gun safety and range and building maintenance, is part of what makes Hell a very valuable volunteer. He also has a knack for anticipating work that may be required to be done at a later date. Of course, he is often the person who follows through to see that the job gets done.

“I’m hoping to paint here soon,” said Hell.

Any painting would likely occur at a time other than Wednesday evenings. That’s when Hell regularly volunteers as a range safety officer, helping to introduce others to proper firearms safety. Many new shooters heed his advice and learn from his example.

“Once people learn they’ll usually do the right things,” said Hell.

So do good volunteers.