For Immediate Release: 09/20/12
Civil War Trust Honors Regional Preservation Advocates
National organization recognizes outstanding historic preservation champions in Old Dominion
(Williamsburg, Va.) – During a ceremony this evening at the Williamsburg Inn in historic Williamsburg, Va., the Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization, recognized two outstanding advocates for the protection of historic sites with its Chairman’s Awards for Excellence. The awards, presented by the Trust’s chairman, Henry E. Simpson, honored Chesterfield County preservationist George L. Fickett, Jr., and Spotsylvania County educator Cheryle Hodges. The event was held in conjunction with the organization’s Board of Trustees meeting and Grand Review weekend, which featured tours sites across the Virginia Peninsula.
“The greatest strength of the Civil War Trust lies in the passion and commitment of our friends and partners.— their efforts, day in and day out, lay the groundwork for our success and make all of our achievements possible,” said Simpson. “Both George and Cheryle have made tangible contributions to the love and appreciation of history in their communities that will stretch far beyond our lifetimes.”
George L. Fickett, Jr., is a geographic information specialist for Chesterfield County, which means he knows the landscape better than just about anyone else alive and is actively involved in a wide variety of land use decisions. This makes him ideally positioned for his unofficial position as “Mr. Bermuda Hundred” the individual responsible for nearly every act of battlefield preservation undertaken in the region a quarter century — including the creation of eight county parks. Largely a self-taught historian, he has written articles for publications including Civil War Times Illustrated and Blue and Gray Magazine. He received the National Park Service “Take Pride in America” award in 1987 and the Virginia State Park’s “Volunteer of the Year” award in 2004. Earlier this summer, he was nominated for a Lifetime Volunteer Award by the Chesterfield Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, which was conferred upon him by the county Board of Supervisors.
Originally from Beckley, W. Va., began her teaching career in Halifax County, Va., in 1980, but has been a fixture of Spotsylvania County elementary schools since 1984. She is a firm believer in experiential education and has developed a variety of after school and summer vacation history enrichment programs. Hodges is one of the most prolific contributors to the Trust’s catalog of lesson plans, offered free of charge online to educators. She was also one of the experiences classroom teachers who served as consultants during the development of the Trusts’ popular two-week Civil War Curriculum.
Beyond his involvement with the Civil War Trust, Simpson is a member of the law firm Adams and Reese/Lange Simpson, LLP in Birmingham, Ala. He has previously served as a lecturer at the University of Alabama, the state chairman of the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and the state chairman of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its goal is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War sites and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 32,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Please visit the Trust’s website at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.