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06-03-2008, 02:04 PM

Recipients lauded as “the best in the business” for preserving the hallowed ground of Civil War battlefields

(Washington, D.C.) - During the organization’s annual conference in Springfield, Mo., Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) president James Lighthizer announced the winners of the 2008 Preservation Awards, recognizing extraordinary individual and organizational achievements in the cause of Civil War preservation.

“Time and again, when the naysayers said it couldn’t be done — that this was progress and that nothing could be preserved — these dedicated individuals rolled up their sleeves and proved them wrong,” Lighthizer said. “We owe them all a debt of gratitude.”

The Preservation Awards were presented during a banquet at the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Springfield, Mo., on Saturday evening, April 19. During the ceremony, Lighthizer stressed the need for cooperation among preservationists, and stated that he was proud to recognize a few of CWPT's many partners with these awards. Among the partners recognized this year were representatives of local governments, the National Park Service, reenactment groups, Civil War Roundtables and educators.

Over the years, CWPT has honored a wide variety of individuals and groups for their work to preserve endangered Civil War battlefields. Previous winners include historians, celebrities and even residential development firms. Despite such disparate backgrounds, all have made unique and lasting contributions to historic preservation.

The 2008 award winners are:

Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award: The Preservation Legacy Award is generally awarded to members of the business or civic community for exceptional contributions to battlefield preservation. This year’s award went to Mike Stevens of Central Virginia Battlefields Trust for his role in helping raise nearly $1 million for the First Day at Chancellorsville and Slaughter Pen Farm properties.

Carrington Williams Battlefield Preservationist of the Year Award: This award, named for the first chairman of CWPT, was presented to Reverend Bob Bluford. Rev. Bluford is renowned in the Richmond area for his impressive body of preservation work. He was the catalyst for two major acquisition efforts by CWPT at Malvern Hill and Totopotomoy Creek, Va.

National Preservation Leadership Award: Traditionally, CWPT’s National Leadership Award has been presented to policymakers who have made significant contributions to preservation on the national level. This year, CWPT is recognizing Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN), for their support of the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program.

State Preservation Leadership Award: This year’s State Preservation Leadership award went to Judge Executive Kent Clark from Madison County, Ky., for making preservation of the Richmond Battlefield in Kentucky a governmental priority. Under his guidance, the community has gone from having only a handful of roadside markers commemorating the engagement to having several hundred acres of preserved battlefield, including the 300-acre Combs Property, saved with the help of CWPT in 2007.

Brian C. Pohanka Preservation Organization of the Year Award: This year’s Brian C. Pohanka Award went to the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield for its preservation work at Ellwood Plantation in Orange County, Va., and its conservation efforts at Wilderness Battlefield.

National Park Service Preservationist of the Year Award: This award, which is presented to outstanding NPS personnel, was awarded to Superintendent Ted Hilmer of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in Republic, Mo. Ted’s innovated approach to saving battlefields has resulted in private-sector partnerships that have saved hundreds of additional acres at Wilson’s Creek.

Preservationist Teacher of the Year Award: Every year, CWPT recognizes an outstanding teacher for motivating students to become more involved in battlefield preservation. This year, CWPT recognizes Cathy Fisher of Davis Junior High School in Sterling Heights, Mich., who got her students excited about preservation by sponsoring a “penny war” to raise money for battlefields.

Civil War Discovery Trail Site of the Year Award: Mine Creek Battlefield in Pleasanton, Kan. In addition to featuring a 3,000-square-foot visitor center with hands-on exhibits, regularly scheduled living history programs and a 2.6-mile interpreted walking trail, Mine Creek is also a regular and enthusiastic participant in CWPT’s Park Day efforts.

Reenactment Unit of the Year Award: In recent years, CWPT has begun recognizing the most preservation-friendly reenactment groups in the nation. This year, CWPT honored the 69th Pennsylvania Irish Volunteers for their financial contributions, totaling more than $23,000, for battlefield preservation.

Civil War Roundtable of the Year Award: This award was presented to the Brandywine Valley Civil War Roundtable in Wayne, Pa., for its commitment to excellence and battlefield preservation. To date, the group has donated nearly $16,000 to various preservation efforts.

With 65,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. CWPT’s website is www.civilwar.org.

This article was taken from the following URL: http://www.civilwar.org/news/PressDetail.php?releaseID=165