Annual NPS Volunteer Recognition
Adam Shaffer, National Park Service
The Flight 93 National Memorial Volunteers had a busy week last week, first attending a Volunteer Recognition Dinner in their honor on Friday, November 7th and then traveling to the Pentagon Memorial on Saturday, November 15th.
Volunteers have been recognized annually at Flight 93 National Memorial for the invaluable role they play both at the existing temporary memorial, and for projects associated with the development of the permanent memorial. This year marked the 3rd annual recognition held in Shanksville at St. Mark Lutheran Church acknowledging all accomplishments made by volunteers for the past year. Volunteers were instrumental in the effort this past summer to relocate the Flight 93 Temporary Memorial, as well as for assisting in the Memorial Service on September 10th at the Somerset Alliance Church. The year 2008 also served as a benchmark year for volunteer ambassadors, who were recognized by the National Park Service (NPS) with the highest volunteer award among the 391 national parks in the nation, the George B. Hartzog, Jr. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. At the dinner, 84 volunteers were individually recognized for a combined 5,042 donated hours to the memorial this past year. When calculated into dollars, these volunteers have provided more than $87,345 in services!
The Flight 93 volunteers took this opportunity of being together to thank Ferrell Gas, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for donating all of the propane to heat the temporary memorial shelter during the cold, windy and snowy Somerset County winter months.
Additionally, Flight 93 volunteers, along with park staff, were rewarded with the opportunity to travel by bus to the newly dedicated Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday, November 15th. Several Flight 93 family members living in the Washington, DC area greeted the volunteers and accompanied them on the tour. Mr. James Laychak, who lost his brother David W. Laychak, a civilian Department of Army employee at the Pentagon on September 11th, serves as President of the Pentagon Memorial Fund and met the group for a special tour of the memorial. Mr. Laychak described the significance and details of the memorial, as well as the challenges the memorial now faces with maintenance and forming a volunteer docent group who will serve in a capacity similar to the Flight 93 Volunteer Ambassadors. Mr. Andrew Ammerman, Director of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, was also available for questions about funding, building and operating the Pentagon Memorial. Following the guided tour at the Pentagon Memorial, Flight 93 volunteers were given the opportunity to spend the afternoon on The National Mall.
Superintendent Joanne Hanley said, “I don’t know how we would operate without the generosity, the compassion and the commitment of our volunteers. They are our shining stars, and our inspiration; they have hearts of gold. I hope they are with us for many years to come.”
Did You Know?
Flight 93 National Memorial was established at the September 11, 2001, crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, to honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93. More...