For Immediate Release: 03/04/10
National Battlefield Protection Group Honors Top Mid-Atlantic Preservation Advocates
(Washington, D.C.) – During a ceremony this morning at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, the national Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) recognized three top preservation advocates with the organization’s Chairman’s Awards for Achievement in Historic Preservation. The awards, presented by CWPT Chairman John L. Nau, III, honored the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, Maryland educator Robert Rinehart and philanthropists Mark and Karen Perreault. The ceremony was a part of the CWPT board of trustees meeting held this week in Washington.
According to Nau, the awards are an opportunity for CWPT to “personally thank committed individuals who have made it their lives’ work to promote the physical and conceptual protection of our nation’s heritage.”
Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, according to Nau, is one of most outstanding local groups supporting battlefield preservation in the country. In addition to hosting numerous educational events throughout the year and performing tremendous maintenance tasks around the battlefield, volunteers from the organization also serve as interpreters at Ellwood Manor, a significant historic landmark on the battlefield. To date the group has raised in excess of $325,000 for repair and restoration work for the 1790s home, which served as a military headquarters twice over the course of the war. Perhaps most significant, however, has been the organization’s outspoken defense of efforts to safeguard the integrity of the battlefield’s fringes.
“Friends of Wilderness Battlefield has been a fearless advocate for the protection of the battlefield, its context and its legacy,” remarked Nau. Noting the groups’ opposition to an attempt by Wal-Mart to build a supercenter at the fringes of the Wilderness National Battlefield, he said: “The courage this group has shown stepping forward to help lead opposition should be an example to other advocacy groups across the nation.”
A second award for Achievement in Education was given to Robert Rinehart, a middle school educator in Harford County, Md., where he teaches his students far more than the history in their textbooks. For his unique ability to incorporate lessons in preservation, public service and civic involvement into his classroom plans, Rinehart was named CWPT’s Teacher of the Year in 2004. Recently, his students achieved a significant landmark, raising a cumulative total of more than $15,000 for battlefield preservation efforts.
Praising Rinehart, Nau said, “Most historians can trace their love of history back to a dynamic and inspirational teacher. Bob Rinehart has been that life-changing educator for 15 years worth of Maryland middle schoolers.”
Additionally, Nau recognized CWPT members Mark and Karen Perreault of Norfolk, Va., with the award for Achievement in Philanthropy. Long-term supporters of CWPT, the Perreaults are also active in a variety of other historic preservation initiatives, notably Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park. Moreover, by utilizing his employer’s charitable gift matching program, the Perreaults have earned a spot among CWPT’s top 20 donors of all time. Most recently, their generous gift enabled the organization to move forward quickly on an acquisition effort at Appomattox Station, Va., a battlefield that had long been thought beyond protection.
“CWPT receives the backing and assistance of federal, state and local governments. And we are fortunate to work cooperatively with outstanding local and regional partner organizations,” said Nau. “But it is our members who are the unsung heroes of historic preservation. The level of generosity exhibited by the Perreaults is truly remarkable; they are among the leading preservationists who have ever taken up this cause.”
In addition to his involvement with CWPT, Nau is the chairman of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the immediate past chairman of the Texas Historical Commission. He serves in leadership capacities with the University of Virginia, Baylor College of Medicine, Discovery Green Conservancy and National Park Foundation. He is president and chief executive officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products and the number one beer distributor in Texas.
With 55,000 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 and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. Since 1987, the organization has helped save more than 29,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. The CWPT website is located at www.civilwar.org.