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Two volunteers working in Death Valley NP have won the George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service in 2011 in the Pacific West Region. The intent of the awards is to distinguish those individuals or groups who give of their skills, talents, and time beyond the normal call of duty.
George Hartzog, former Director of the National Park Service, started the VIP program in 1970. Director Hartzog recognized the need to make it easier for citizens to donate, without compensation, their time and talents to the NPS and pushed through legislation creating the Volunteers- In-Parks Program. After his retirement, George and his wife Helen remembered the VIP program with a generous donation to the National Park Foundation. This fund has been used to support awards that honor the efforts of exceptional volunteers, groups, and park VIP programs.
Joe Moore and Karl Olson work in DEVA's Archeology Dept. assisting Park Archeologist Leah Bonstead with the great volume of work contained within the park's 3.4 million acres. Projects run from surveying Native American prehistoric sites to assessing the park's cabins. Both are several year veterans of DEVA's VIP program.
Joe was recognized for the Hartzog Enduring Service award for an individual whose service has had a sustained, positive impact on the National Park Service. This award is meant to acknowledge volunteer work that has resulted in exceptional and lasting improvements and helping to advance the mission of the park where the volunteer has worked. Joe has exceptional skills, retiring from a career in archeology. "Joe has done more than anyone in the resources division to boost the public interest in the archaeology of Death Valley.His interpretative displays and flintknapping demonstrations connect with the public in a very elementary way.He is like a walking archaeology encyclopedia that can not only make a stone tool for you, but also explain where that stone came from, why the stone is breaking that way, how the tool was used, and then how it might turn up on an archaeological site" remarked Leah. Look for Joe on Saturday mornings for his flintknapping demonstrations at Furnace Creek.
Karl Olson won the Region's Individual award. This award is given to an individual who has provided significant service beyond usual duties. The exemplary work performed may include improving conditions for the resources, park facilities, operations, and/or visitors; developing community partnerships; and/or providing a positive, supportive work environment. "Karl's ability to puzzle out solutions to difficult issues, seek advice from park staff for challenging problems, and his natural curiosity, determination, and skill in tackling Death Valley's difficult terrain sets him apart from the others" commented Leah on Karl's work.
Congratulations to Joe and Karl for much deserved recognition from the Pacific West Region! They received beautiful glass engraved trophies in appreciation of their outstanding accomplishments.