For Immediate Release: 07/01/09
Civil War Preservation Trust Announces Winners of 2009 Preservation Awards
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 Gettysburg, Pa., Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) president James Lighthizer announced the winners of the 2009 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 Wyndham Gettysburg hotel in Gettysburg, Pa., on Saturday evening, June 6. During the ceremony, Lighthizer stressed the need for cooperation among like-minded groups, and stated that he was proud to recognize a few of preservation’s many “unsung heroes” 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 2009 award winners are:
Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award: The Preservation Legacy Award is generally awarded to members of the business or civic community for extraordinary contributions to further the cause of battlefield preservation. This year, awards went to Andy Shield of Richmond, Va., for his extensive preservation work at Malvern Hill and Totopotomoy Creek, and to Dick Gilder of the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History for his notable involvement in numerous preservation organizations.
Carrington Williams Battlefield Preservationist of the Year Award: This award, named for the first chairman of CWPT, was presented to Mike Perry for his leadership of the “Winchester Wheelmen,” a cycling group that works to maintain and support CWPT’s battlefield at Third Winchester.
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 recognized Bryan Mitchell of NPS Heritage Preservation Services, a long time preservationist with a career spanning 35 years in public service. Under his leadership the American Battlefield Protection Program continues to make CWPT’s efforts possible by providing primary funding for federal matching grants.
State Preservation Leadership Award: This year’s State Preservation Leadership award went to Kathleen Kilpatrick, Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, who is responsible for the precedent-setting state matching grants program that has provided the financial support to save countless acres of battlefield across the state.
Brian C. Pohanka Preservation Organization of the Year Award: This award was named after the late Brian Pohanka, an outstanding historian and one of the founders of the modern battlefield preservation movement. This year’s award went to the Natural Bridge Historical Society of Florida for its long-standing commitment to protecting and interpreting that battlefield, as well as its key role in seeing a major portion of the site preserved in 2008.
National Park Service Preservationist of the Year Award: This award, which is presented to outstanding NPS personnel, went to John Latschar, Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park. In his tenure, Latschar has overseen a massive landscape restoration project across the battlefield, as well as the planning and construction of the new Visitor Center.
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 recognized Mr. Tom Watts of Madison Middle School, Mississippi who helped his students raise $650 toward CWPT’s purchase of land at Champion Hill Battlefield, Mississippi.
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 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Company B, located in Arlington, Virginia which donated more than $3,000 to CWPT’s Slaughter Pen Farm effort.
Civil War Roundtable of the Year Award: This award was presented to the Low Country Civil War Roundtable for its commitment to excellence and battlefield preservation. The group has donated nearly $30,000 toward various groups and causes in the last decade.
With 60,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields. Since 1987, the organization has saved more than 25,000 acres of hallowed ground. CWPT’s website is located at www.civilwar.org.