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Contact: Lisa Myers, 231-326-5134
Contact: Bruce Huffman, 231-326-5134
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Superintendent Dusty Shultz presented park volunteer Kerry Kelly of Traverse City the National Park Service Midwest Region’s George B. Hartzog, Jr. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service during an appreciation dinner held at the Empire Township Hall on August 21.
About 100 Volunteer In Park (VIPs) and their families, attended the dinner which was held in their honor, and witnessed Lakeshore Superintendent Shultz present the prestigious National Park Service award to Kelly. “We greatly appreciate the hard work of all our park volunteers, however, Kerry Kelly’s contributions and accomplishments are particularly noteworthy, and deserve special recognition,” said Shultz.
Kelly was selected for the prestigious award from hundreds of volunteers nominated from 53 National Park Service sites across 13 states in the Midwest Region. VIP Kelly is a retired chemist, and the former Director of the Learning Center at the Dow Chemical Company in Midland. He now regularly volunteers his time at the Visitor Center in Empire, and according to Shultz, brings that same level of professionalism and excellence to the VIP program. He is the Chairperson of the “Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes,” a non-profit partner of the Lakeshore, and spends much of his time researching and completing a variety of projects for the park. Kelly was singled out for the award because he spent countless hours taking photos and working with National Lakeshore staff to completely revamp the park website, making it user-friendly and filling it with interesting images and up-to-date visitor information. He has researched and embraced new technologies to create informative pod casts about the Lakeshore, and also used his talents to create new pamphlets, brochures, and even a wildflower database.Last year VIPs donated nearly 30,000 hours at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, doing everything from adopting trails and restoring historic buildings to providing interpretive themes and messages to visitors. “I want to thank every volunteer who has shared their time and talents with us,” said Shultz, “and congratulate Kerry Kelly for bringing this wonderful award to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.” For more information on the VIP program call park headquarters at: (231) 326-5134.