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John Frye Preservation Awarded to CVB President & CEO Tom Riford

John Frye Preservation Awarded to CVB President & CEO Tom Riford

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Tom Riford was honored on Tuesday, May 14 with one of the 2013 Washington County Commissioners' Annual John Frye Historic Preservation Awards. Riford received the Historic Preservation Advocacy Award.
Riford was presented the advocacy award for his work in promoting heritage tourism in the county, and for helping save historic buildings and sites.
In his remarks, he spoke about the importance of investing in historic preservation. "Visitors want to come, and they want to see buildings, and they want to see sites that they can explore, and walk battlefields that are pristine and maintained, and learn about history and heritage and about people who have gone before us," Riford said. "A visitor does not necessarily want to come and see a plaque that is set up next to an empty parking lot."
Riford pointed out that a dollar invested in historic preservation brings back four dollars to the local community through heritage tourism. Riford said after the ceremony that his job is to be a "cheerleader" for the "things that are good" in Washington County. "It takes a lot of people to be able to save a historic site, to maintain, to stabilize and to restore," he said. "Being able to tell that story outside of the local area brings a lot of visitors here."
Tom was very pleased, proud and overcome, to receive the John Frye Historic Preservation Advocacy Award. He promised, "to actually earn this award every day, and try to live up to its namesake, John Frye."
The County Commissioners said, "Tom has been an exceptionally strong partner in the growth of heritage tourism. He has served as the chair of the Washington County Delegation of the Heart of Civil War Heritage Area since its designation in 2006. As a result of his leadership, the historic Newcomer House on the Antietam National Battlefield became the official Visitors Center for the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. This project was recently recognized with a Maryland Governor's Award for Cultural Heritage Tourism. Riford has shown many people that the heritage business is not only educational but fun. His uncanny ability to create excitement, bring heritage education ideas to fruition, and promote Washington County's rich historical sites are just some of the many reasons he is being recognized with the Advocacy Award."
The program at the luncheon also included this: "Tom Riford's command of local historical facts allows him to rattle off a list of important historical firsts, onlys and biggest - when called upon to advocate for local historical sites and events.
Antietam Battlefield Guide Gary Rohrer introduced Tom Riford, and Betty Shank, the Washington County Historical Advisory Committee Chair, kept calling him "Mr. Washington County" during the event.
Riford also thanked the CVB staff and board for working so hard, and for being focused on heritage tourism and its positive impact on the local economy.

News taken from The Crossroads newsletter distributed by the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau -

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