Member Spotlight: Rick Sharkey

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Leaving a Legacy for the Yuba River 

Rick Sharkey has been a SYRCL member and volunteer since 1997. Last year, he and his spouse, Melissa Horton, decided to leave a gift for the future of the Yuba River watershed by including SYRCL in their will. Thank you, Rick and Melissa, for 25 years of support and for your commitment to donate a legacy gift.

If you are interested in learning more about planned giving, please visit: Planned Giving | South Yuba River Citizens League 

Rick Sharkey

The following is our interview with Rick Sharkey:

SYRCL: What inspired you to include SYRCL in your estate plan?

Recently, my wife, Melissa Horton, and I had a trust created by a local attorney and developed wills. In my will, I chose to include SYRCL to receive a cash donation from my assets after both Melissa and I pass on. *Knock on wood*, that will be many years from now.

Why did I do it? I believe 100% in the work that SYRCL does. SYRCL is one of the nonprofits that serves as the glue that holds this community together, a group that people can rally behind and support and step up. I would ask everybody who is either a SYRCL volunteer or member to give some consideration to include SYRCL in your estate planning as I have done.

Someday I know that after I’m gone, it doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money, but a meaningful amount of money will be donated to SYRCL to use to their best interest.  There are many benefits, both tangible and intangible of doing that. These are the folks who are working hard to preserve the area that you love.

It’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another thing to put your money on the table and step up. It’s easy to do: if you don’t have a will, get one created and include SYRCL as part of that will!

North Yuba

SYRCL: How long have you been a SYRCL member and volunteer?

When I moved here in 1997, the issue over building dams on the river was just starting to really come alive and that was my call to action.

I just walked into the SYRCL office and I remember Janet Cohen was there. I introduced myself and said ‘Hi, I would like to volunteer if I may’. She said ‘Sure, what can you do?’ and I said, ‘You name it.’ I had self-motivation to get involved and get engaged with the community and do something productive and good.

SYRCL: What would you say to someone who is wondering if they should volunteer for or become a SYRCL member?

Do it, just do it! Because not only is it the right thing to do, but if you have any appreciation of the Yuba River watershed, this is the group you want to support to help maintain and create that idyllic vision you have of the river. These are the folks who are hands-on getting the job done.

When you become a member, you’re supporting your values with a financial contribution. I’ve been a member since the beginning because it is important. This organization needs dues-paying members to support the mission.

I remember when I was 13, the first time I saw the North Fork, the water was a shade of blue, clear enough to see right to the river floor. I hope that someday my grandchildren will see the Yuba River restored to the way I once did.

Thank you, Rick and Melissa, for supporting the Yuba for future generations.

If you have included SYRCL in your estate plans, please let us know by contacting Julie Pokrandt, Development Director, at or 530-265-5961 x 214, so that we may thank you for joining SYRCL’s Legacy Circle.

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