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When Jimmy D. Leach entered the visitor center at Harry S Truman National Historic Site, he got a pleasant surprise. He was greeted by Superintendent Larry Villalva who told him he was the Grand Prize Winner for the 2008 Visitor Appreciation Day. The staff of the National Historic Site had been planning the event for several months and had agreed that the grand prize would be awarded to the first person to walk through the front door on Monday, August 25. That date is also the anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service.
Leach had intended to stop at the visitor center at 223 N. Main Street in Independence to pick up a new Senior Pass. After meeting the rest of the staff, he received a variety of gifts. Included were a commemorative medal for the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Harry S Truman National Historic Site, a National Public Lands Pass, a 48 star flag which had been flown at the Truman Home on Flag Day, and a gift certificate for admission to the Truman Library, the Vaile Mansion, the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, and the 1859 Jackson County Jail and Marshal’s Home. He also was treated to the complimentary coconut cookies made with one of Mrs. Truman’s recipes.
Complimentary coconut cookies and Mrs. Truman’s’ recipe were available to all visitors, as was the opportunity to enter drawings for other prizes. “Public support is important to help us carry out our mission in the National Park Service,” Villalva said, “and we wanted to take this opportunity to show our visitors how much we appreciate them.”