Furlong is a dedicated Florida volunteer who has been a NWTF member for four years.
Home Chapter: Sumter County Longbeards— Bushnell, Fla.
Home Town: Linden, Fla.
Family: "I want to mention my late grandfather, Jack Revels. He was a great cowboy and hunter. No one loved and respected the outdoors that God created more than he did," Greg notes. "I also had an uncle we called 'Uncle E' that would spend all turkey season in a little pop-up camper in the woods. I thought he was crazy until I went on my first spring turkey hunt in 2005!"
Notable Fact: Last year, Greg's chapter hosted a banquet for more than 650 people.
NWTF: Greg, tell us a little about the Sumter County Longbeards chapter.
Greg Furlong: Several people from Sumter County would attend the Wekiva Strutters chapter banquet every year for several years. Lou Haubner, president of the Wekiva chapter, asked Stoney Maddox and Lamar Parker, "Why don't you guys start your own chapter for Sumter County?" So they decided to start the chapter, and the rest is history.
NWTF: What's your favorite thing about turkey hunting? Any notable things ever happen to you while turkey hunting?
GF:I love to hear those gobblers break the silence of the woods.
I have a good friend named Tim Clayton who owns Clayton Wood Works and makes handmade turkey calls. Last year, Tim and his daughter, Courtney, and I went hunting to try to get her a bird. After having a quiet morning, things got very exciting. I heard something in the bushes and it turned out to be a black snake about four feet long, headed straight for Tim and Courtney! It wasn't long before Tim bailed and left still-sleeping Courtney with the decoys and the snake!
NWTF: We hear the Sumter County Longbeards banquets are getting bigger each year.
GF: That's right. The first year, the banquet hosted around 350 people and we had to move to a larger facility. The next year, we hosted around 600, and this past year we hosted over 650 people.
NWTF: Wow— how do you guys do it?
GF: The key to success is in the hands of the committee members. You always need new members, ideas and contacts.
We have a great committee. Everyone has their own personal skill or attribute that they bring to every event. If they can't make it to all the meetings, they still stay in touch by e-mail or phone. Our committee shows up ready to work!
Great banquets also require personal relationships with sponsors. They're the backbone of any fund raising event, so you have to get them to support you, and in return, you have to promote them as much as possible.
NWTF: What type of outreach events is your chapter known for?
GF: Last year we hosted our first JAKES event. We planned for around 75 kids, and over 200 showed up!
NWTF: That's the kind of "problem" that's nice to have!
GF: You bet. We also had our first WITO event that was very successful. Our Wheelin' Sportsmen have hosted several events with a lot of success, and our chapter has given turkeys away for the last two years through a local church for Thanksgiving.
NWTF: Greg, what would you say to people who are not NWTF members? Why should they join?
GF: Every day, there are groups of people with deep pockets that are trying to take away our hunting heritage and gun rights. History has shown us that it takes a strong army to win a battle. Believe it or not, we are under attack. By joining the NWTF, you cover all the bases— conservation, gun rights, habitat restoration, promotion of hunting heritage for our kids and, of course, having fun!
You have to be part of the army or we all lose.
NWTF: What compels you to donate so much of your time to helping the NWTF?
GF: I do this for my children, my granddaughter Jilly and two more that are on the way.
The NWTF offers people a way to make a difference and let our political leaders know that we do not intend to have our freedoms taken away.
NWTF: Anything else you'd like to mention?
GF:Thanks to my wife and family for their support. I would also like to thank the Sumter County Longbeards Committee for all the hard work! They deserve all the credit for our success.
I would like to thank our Regional Director, Zack Morgan, who has helped us a lot. I also can't forget Lou and Diane Haubner and their chapter, and others; they always offer to help us. Thanks!