Secretary Jewell Honors Historic Preservation Leaders for Extraordinary Work in Their Communities

2015 Hist Pres Awards
Secretary Jewell with award recipients and DOI and NPS officials.

Department of the Interior

News Release Date: June 17, 2016

Contact: Jeremy Barnum, 202-208-6843

WASHINGTON – As President Obama and his family prepare to spend Father's Day weekend at Carlsbad Caverns and Yosemite – one of the first places protected by a U.S. President – this weekend, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell recognized individuals who are helping to preserve special historic and cultural places across the country.

Four preservation officers received the prestigious Secretary of the Interior's Historic Preservation Award today, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., for their outstanding efforts to protect America's diverse cultural and historical heritage for the education and enjoyment of future generations.

Secretary Jewell commended the awardees for their extraordinary individual creativity and expertise in the preservation of a wide range of historic and cultural resources including training programs for tribal members to learn about Hualapai culture and language;the restoration of buildings damaged or destroyed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing;incorporating the preservation of historic structures into local development and revitalization;and enhancing federal preservation efforts in marine archaeology.

Created by the National Historic Preservation Act, the awards are the only congressionally-mandated, cabinet-level recognition program acknowledging the dedication and expertise of historic preservation professionals within federal, tribal, state, and local government agencies.

"As we approach the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act this October, we are reminded that none of the impactful programs enabled by the Act would be possible without the hard work, passion and professionalism of individuals who have devoted their careers to the preservation of our nation's history and culture," said Secretary Jewell. "It is through their efforts that future generations will know the places that tell our nation's stories."

The winners of the 2015 Secretary of the Interior's Historic Preservation Awards are:

Federal Preservation Office Category –Brian Jordan, Ph.D., Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Department of the Interior

Dr. Brian Jordan has been a tireless advocate in the establishment and stewardship of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's first Federal Historic Preservation program. His efforts to identify some of the most challenging historic properties, submerged paleocultural landscapes, have played a critical role in the preservation of such places and elevated the voice of tribal culture on the Outer Continental Shelf. Dr. Jordan has personally stewarded an exceptional and significant legacy of historic preservation activities, bringing the agency to the forefront of marine archeology.

State Historic Preservation Officer Category - Melvena Heisch, Oklahoma Historical Society

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Melvena Heisch's career with the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office at the Oklahoma Historical Society. During these four decades, Ms. Heisch worked hard to stay committed through patience, perseverance, and tenacity. When she first started, she emerged in a new career field in a fragmented place without much of a sense of history or pride of heritage. But, on April 19, 1995, though severely wounded along with many of her staff members in the Oklahoma City bombing, Melvena emerged as a leader to help the city recover. Using her knowledge of historic preservation, she helped influence the retention and restoration of many of the 324 buildings damaged or destroyed in the 16-block blast radius.

Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Category - Loretta Jackson-Kelly, Hualapai Tribal Nation

Loretta Jackson-Kelly has spent more than half her life working for the Hualapai Tribal Nation where she has exemplified her love for her culture through preservation. Her knowledge and leadership has been integral in developing educational training programs for tribal members to learn about Hualapai culture and language, helping them better understand and integrate traditional and modern lifeways of the Hualapai people. A staunch advocate of oral history and language immersion programs, Ms. Jackson-Kelly defined her career as someone who is always encouraging and open to discuss her experience as a traditional Hualapai woman in the field of cultural resources management. She has paved the way for the next generation to follow in her footsteps, empowering young people to overcome obstacles.

Certified Local Government Coordinator Category - Nancy Hiestand, City of Bloomington, Indiana

Nancy Hiestand's efforts to protect historic structures, while properly accommodating and encouraging new uses and development have helped make Bloomington the culturally and economically vibrant community that it is today. As the preservation officer for the City of Bloomington for 22 years, Ms. Hiestand has greatly advanced the cause of preservation in her community, helped the city fulfill its duties under the National Historic Preservation Act, opened the eyes of thousands of citizens, appealed to the economic sense of preservation, and broadened local support through creative educational efforts. During this time, Bloomington has continually been at the forefront of the Certified Local Government program thanks to Hiestand's dedicated leadership, hard work, innovation, vision and cooperative spirit.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 411 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

Last updated: June 17, 2016

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