Festival volunteer enjoys helping

For 25 years, Butch Wiseman, 64, of Fleming, has been active on the Ohio River Sternwheel Committee, serving on the Queens Committee.

The desire to volunteer came after seeing his daughter participate in pageants over the years, which Wiseman said started it all: he and his wife both decided to volunteer. His daughter won the Queen Genevieve pageant in 2005.

Wiseman has been serving on the committee ever since, not just for Queens, but also as the Captain Liason and chairman of the car show. He was also the director general of the festival in 2009 and president in 2010.

Question: What are your duties on the committee?

Answer: I couldn’t list them all. I’m on the Queens Committee. The first five or six years, that’s all I did; I was not interested in helping other places. (Eventually) I saw there was a need, do this or do that. I’m one of those people who can’t say no. I’m the chairperson of the sunrise services and the Captain Liason; if they have a problem, they come see me and try to get it resolved. I’m the chairperson of the car show on Sunday…I try to help wherever I can.

Q: How many hours a week do you dedicate to the committee?

A: The Queen Genevieve pageant was held three weeks ago. We start with the paperwork and donations, probably four to eight hours a week starting in June, making sure all the things are taken care of…I would say starting Aug. 1, that goes up to 10 to 20 hours a week easily…There’s not very many of us in Queens, but we all take a piece of the pie…The first week of September I’m probably down at the river almost every day for eight hours a day because I like to welcome each of (the boats and captains) back to Marietta. It’s a labor of love.

Q: Do more duties crop up the closer it gets to festival time?

A: No more duties (come up) but answering lots of questions (does). On the website, people can ask a question…The questions get a lot more frequent (closer to festival time)…I am also on my third term being a trustee.

Q: What do you do as a trustee?

A: If any kind of business comes to a vote, like physical facility of money, it’s voted on by the trustees. Sometimes we have to talk about it…We’re trying to get more people involved and get people to understand the history (of the festival).

Q: Do you face any challenges in your work?

A: The only real challenge is making sure we stay in budget and don’t go out in left field, and manage it to the best ability…That’s the challenge; just keeping our little piece of pie, the budget and things running smooth, and the kids smiling. (The kids) have a ball; that’s all that’s important.

Q: What do you like most about your work?

A: To make one person smile, especially a kid, makes it all worthwhile; that’s what it’s all about. It’s a lot of work and a lot of time, but I’ve always been a civic minded person. I enjoy it.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of what you do?

A: It’s seeing not only kids, but everybody having a good time, especially hearing ‘Oohs’ and ‘Ahhs’ at the fireworks display; it’s all rewarding.

This interview was conducted by Amanda Nicholson.