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C&O Canal Volunteers Honored for Outstanding Service

C&O Canal Volunteers Honored for Outstanding Service

Volunteers of the C&O Canal National Historical Park were recently honored for outstanding service with two George B. Hartzog, Jr. awards by the National Park Service (NPS), National Capital Region (NCR). The awards are named after the former National Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr., who established the NPS Volunteer-In-Parks Program. The awards, established in 2002, recognize the commitment of the park service's most outstanding volunteers. In addition, in celebration of National Volunteer Week, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne awarded a park volunteer with the President's Volunteer Service Award.
Donald Harrison, of Potomac, Maryland, received the 2006 regional George B. Hartzog, Jr. Award for Outstanding Individual Volunteer Service from NPS Regional Director Joe Lawler. Harrison, as president of the Friends of Historic Great Falls Tavern, organized the public and private fundraising effort that raised $530,840 for the design, construction, and delivery of a new packet boat, the "Charles F. Mercer." This effort was a continuation of the one started by students of Seven Locks Elementary School. Harrison's leadership and vision led to the return of an important interpretive program at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, the mule-drawn canal boat rides.
The Rileys Lockhouse Docent Program was presented with the 2006 regional George B. Hartzog, Jr. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Group Service. This program, operating in the restored lockhouse at Lock 24 near Seneca Creek, has conducted interpretive programs since 1976. Volunteer docents train Girl Scouts USA troops to serve as costumed interpreters, portraying life of an 1870s lockkeeper family. In 2006, 16 docents and 295 Girl Scouts donated 1,420 hours to the program. This lockhouse would otherwise remain closed to the public without the support of this volunteer program. Joan Paull, of Silver Spring, Maryland, is Docent Coordinator and accepted the award from Regional Director Lawler.
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne presented park volunteer Dave Johnson, of Bethesda, MD, with the President's Volunteer Service Award, the highest award for volunteerism granted to Americans who exhibit outstanding commitment and inspire others to participate in volunteer service. "I am honored to present this well-deserved award to Dave Johnson, who has contributed so much to maintain the legacy of the C&O Canal National Historical Park," Secretary Kempthorne said. "He has touched nearly every part of the park and serves as a vivid example of how each person can make a difference. He has inspired many other volunteers to lend a helping hand." Johnson has logged 5,500 hours as a park volunteer and has served in various leadership positions in the C&O Canal Association, a citizens group dedicated to the conservation of the C&O Canal and the Potomac River Basin.
The C&O Canal is proud of all of its volunteers.
To view a complete listing of the park's volunteer opportunities, visit or call 301-714-2233 or email

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