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Contact: David Elkowitz, 432 477-1108
Forty-eight park volunteers were awarded the nationally recognized Presidential Service Awards at Big Bend National Park’s Volunteer Award Dinner on March 31, 2008. Take Pride in America Service Awards recognize volunteers who have contributed over 100 hours of service to the park. The highest level of recognition is provided to volunteers with over 4,000 hours of service. This year’s recipients of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award were Bob and Sally Jones from Bourne, Texas, who have volunteered during the winter season for six years at the Persimmon Gap Visitor Center.
The evening’s events culminated in the celebration of sixteen years of service by Barbara and Bill Baldwin, from Odessa, Texas. East District Ranger David Van Inwagen wrote the following for the presentation ceremony: "For 16 years you have been greeting visitors to the Rio Grande Village Campground. You do more than answer questions and get visitors to their campsites…you are one of the first steps in educating our visitors and protecting the resources of Big Bend National Park. With our large number of returning visitors, you are setting the "standard of care" for generations to come...During our time together we have tackled search and rescue missions, medicals, fires, and law enforcement incidents. When I hear the two of you are on scene, I know that we are well on our way to protecting life and stabilizing the incident scene. The two of you have also spent countless hours cleaning the campground, processing paperwork, and doing all those ‘OTHER DUTIES AS ASSIGNED.’ The help you give us is so immense. I thank the two of you for the friendship and love that you have shown me and my family. We may be bringing a new couple in next fall to fill your position but… we will never be able to replace you!"
A total of six Presidential Volunteer Service Silver Awards (300 hours), twelve Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Awards (500 hours), five Take Pride Bronze Awards (1,000 hours), and one Presidential Volunteer Service Award (4,000 hours) were presented. Four of our Big Bend volunteers are previous recipients of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. This represents an impressive 90,576 cumulative lifetime hours for the volunteers serving at Big Bend this spring.
Take Pride in America is a national partnership program that encourages, supports, and recognizes volunteers who work to improve public parks, forests, grasslands, reservoirs, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, local playgrounds, and other recreation areas. Take Pride involves federal, state, and local governments; conservation, youth, and recreation groups; and top national corporations and organizations. Together, volunteers protect and enhance the special legacy all Americans share—public lands that cover more than one in every three acres across the Nation. For more information visit: www.takepride.gov.
Information about the Big Bend National Park volunteer program is available at www.nps.gov/bibe/supportyourpark or by calling the Volunteer Coordinator at 432 477-1195.