Linda M. Gilbertson Recipient of the NRA’ s 2015 Marion P. Hammer Woman of Distinction Award
Linda is a contributor to this magazine and was recently recognized for her “Lifelong Commitment to preserving our Second Amendment Rights through Safety Education and Mentoring in the Field and in the Classroom”. Marion P. Hammer was the first woman President of the NRA, and this award,created in 2004, honors one woman each year whose achievements have been made on state, regional and local levels.
Linda, a former State and Federal Law Enforcement Officer, has created novel programs on both ends of the age scale for the education of local people about firearms. A certified NRA instructor since 1995, in 2004 she noticed a demand for introductory handgun and personal protection training for local women. While she accepts students of all ages, most of her students are older, and some suddenly find themselves alone due to either death or divorce. Her business, ‘ LADIES DAY LLC’ , provides a broad spectrum of pistols for the ladies to try, and blends both the basics of utilizing a handgun with the concepts of awareness and the appropriate use of force for personal protection.
As part of the class, Linda offers to go shopping for guns and gives the student time on the range with the new gun. Most of her students have taken advantage of this offer, and have joined the ranks of new, trained gun owners and Second Amendment supporters. Not content with just training the women, Linda came up with idea of a Ladies’ Shooting Organization. Called ‘ The Wild Women of The White Mountains’ , various groups meet to shoot, socialize and enjoy the company of like-minded ladies. They learn about each other’ s guns, holsters, concealed carry purses, and have a lot of fun in the process.
Concerned for the safety and firearms education of local school children, Linda created a program for those students in grades 6-8. She presented this idea to the local school board, who agreed that the education was needed. One hour a week for 8 weeks, students learn Basic and Advanced Firearms Safety through use of NRA and NSSF materials. Graduation from this elective (which requires parental approval) has the students at Linda’ s ranch, learning to shoot three different rifles at various targets and utilizing the four positions of rifle shooting. All rifle, ammo and safety equipment are provided to the students free of charge. The hope is that with guns de-mystified, some of the students will join the NRA, local 4H, and Scouting Shooting Programs, further perpetuating and strengthening the support for the NRA and FREEDOM.
Over the years, Linda has been a co-founder of The White Mountain Practical Shooters, a USPSA club, and a founding member and current board member and Treasurer of the White Mountain Shooters Assoc., Inc. This latter group is responsible for coordinating with AZ Game & Fish and the Forest Service in the development of the Second Knoll
Target Range, located outside Show Low, AZ. This will be the only outdoor range in 40 miles.
Congratulations, Linda, for exemplifying the pioneering spirit of Marion Hammer in advancing the goals of the NRA amongst local women and children.