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Staff Profile

Richard Nakles — Volunteer

" Now fully retired, I still work in all four departments at the American Philatelic Center, shifting where there is a need or when I feel the whim."

“I moved to State College, Pennsylvania, in 2002, planning to retire from a thirty-plus year pharmacy career in the Washington, DC, area. To be honest, volunteering at the American Philatelic Center (APC) was not even in my thoughts. The cultural activities of a college town (Penn State University) and the rural setting in the mountains are what attracted me.

“It was not until March of 2005 that I walked into the APC, newly relocated in Bellefonte, and asked then-Executive Director Bob Lamb if the APS was hiring part-time help. He abruptly said, ‘No!’ When I then asked him if they took volunteers, his face brightened and he said, ‘Yes!’ I felt that the trap was sprung and I was the prey!

"My work at the APC began in the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL) under Library Director Gini Horn, resetting the journals, and dusting ? a lot of dusting! ? and then reorganizing the books ? and still more dusting! Not that I got bored (or too dusty), but I then moved to the Education Department sorting through collections and extracting suitable material for youth programs. Then I took pity on Ken Martin, then Director of Shows & Exhibitions, and assumed one of his dozens of jobs, that of processing in-kind donations. Along the way, I also prepared the badges for StampShow and AmeriStamp for Dana and Barb.

“Now fully retired, I still work in all four departments at the American Philatelic Center, shifting where there is a need or when I feel the whim.

“I am a life member of the APS and, although not currently an active stamp collector, I still retain my United States, Canada, and British Commonwealth collections. With my background in pharmacy, I do collect advertising covers, trade cards, and anything else relating to the profession.

"Working on in-kind donations being my primary task, I would like to briefly explain the process. When they are received, the donations ? stamps, collections, covers, philatelic supplies ? are recorded, inventoried, and acknowledged. The first major determination, within IRS restrictions, is whether they are better suited for youth activities, educational programs, the reference collection, or for resale. They are then sorted and sent off to the appropriate departments. My guiding principle has been from the start to maximize the value of the donation to the society while honoring the donor by providing their material to the membership. In many cases, the donor is the family of a collector who has died.

“If you have never seen this beautiful facility in Bellefonte, I cordially invite you to visit the APC. Please try to call ahead so that I can be available to personally show you the wonderful items that your fellow members have collected and donated. Even if I am not here, there are three areas at the APC where items are for sale. And there are plenty of freebies, too!”

Richard invites members who have questions about in-kind donations to contact him by e-mail at rnakles@stamps.org

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