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Contact: Adam Shaffer, 814.443.4557Somerset, PA – The Flight 93 Volunteer Ambassador Program recently received the National Park Service’s highest volunteer honor.
The National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, and Take Pride in America® presented the annual George B. Hartzog, Jr. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service to group representatives at a Washington, DC ceremony on May 8.
The volunteers were praised for selflessly giving their time, creativity, and energy to better help visitors understand and appreciate the meaning behind the temporary memorial near Shanksville, PA. After the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, the grassroots organization formed to provide the public with much needed information and a human point of contact.
As plans for the permanent Flight 93 National Memorial continue, there is presently only one park employee responsible for visitor services. The Volunteer Ambassadors have stepped in, donating about 3,900 hours of time in 2007. Group members were the primary point of contact for 144,000 visitors who travelled to the site last year, including 441 bus groups.
Flight 93 National Memorial Site Manager praised the volunteers for their dedication and flexibility. “They are performing a tremendous service to those visiting the memorial,” said Barbara Black. “They are out there in the elements every day, year round, in the heat, the cold, the wind, and the dark, to provide information and meaning to all the people wishing to pay their respects to the heroes of Flight 93.”
Group members expressed gratitude for being allowed to share their passion about the site with others. Founding member Donna Glessner said, “We don’t do it because we have to, we do it because it is an honor and we want to. I never imagined that I would be able to serve my nation in this way.”
The Hartzog Awards are named for former National Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. who established the Volunteer-in-Parks (VIP) Program in 1970. Each year, awards are presented in three categories- outstanding individual, group, and volunteer program. Last year, 163,000 volunteers nationwide devoted 5.4 million hours of work valued at more than $100 million to national parks.
Take Pride in America® is a national partnership that aims to seek, support, and recognize volunteers who work to improve public areas.
- NPS -
Flight 93 National Memorial
109 West Main St, Ste 104 Somerset, PA 15501
814.443.4557 phone 814.443.2180 fax
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior