The Irwin Sportsmen's Association (ISA) was incorporated on March 3, 1947.
It was started by these 12 men who all had Irwin addresses.
David F. Barnard
Albert R. Cervi, First President
Don R. Gross
Ralph E. Kunkle
W. R. Millburn
James H. Stitley, Junior
James Stitley, Senior
The original clubhouse was only the front part and the range was added later. The original intent of the club was for trap shooting – which by verbal accounts went very well, sometimes starting early in the morning and finishing late at night. The Army Corp of Engineers ran practice drills moving mounds of earth – which is currently the silhouette range.
As time passed and monies were available more land was bought. As with all things, times and interests change and so did the club. Land was cleared and ranges were added.
Listening to conversations and discovering that founding members were passing and so was the history of the club, I went through different emotions of being appalled, ashamed and angry that this could happen. But then I realized that those before me did exactly what was needed at the time. They were not worried about what their legacy would be. Their concern was to have a place for family and friends to gather and enjoy the outdoors and the shooting sports.
Through the years I also helped clear some land and place some stone; adding my blood, sweat and tears. Now some physical limitations have prevented me from doing more so I now serve in a different way.
I have had the most fortunate opportunity to pass knowledge on to others, to share enthusiasm with the younger person, to experience hugs and tears on their first shots or a bad shot, to encourage them to continue and to listen to the advice of my elders. And as much as I was able to share; they have shared and taught me just as much or maybe even more.
To be able to share our ammo, targets, guns, advice, tips, etc., all while laughing and crying is what builds bonds, memories and life-long friendships.
Thanks to everyone who has stepped up and volunteered their time to make this the great club that it is. I know you could have spent your time doing other things but you made this your top priority and I am very grateful that you did.
So the next time you step on that range – remember it is more than a piece of land where you can send lead down range, it is where another person has stepped and made a precious memory and it may have even been your ancestor.
It is more than just a piece of land, it lives, it breathes and it is the keeper of many precious memories.
Let’s have pride in what we have, respect for what others have worked hard for and reverence for those that have gone before us.
I am very grateful for those 12 men who had a vision to start this club and am thankful for all that follow in their footsteps.