The winners of the fifth annual Eagle Awards have been announced by the Alabama State Parks Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The Eagle Award is presented to people and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in support of the parks. For 2020, 10 winners were selected from nominations submitted.
This year’s winners are:
1) Randy Householder, of Montgomery, from Alabama Outdoor Adventurer (Community Partner)
2) Hailey Sutton and Christopher Cole, of Montgomery and reporters for WSFA News 12 (Community Partner)
3) Steve Jones, of Huntsville (Park Partner)
4) Shar and Phil Roos with A Year to Volunteer, Joe Wheeler and Buck’s Pocket State Parks (Volunteer in the Park)
5) Pam and Rick Kerheval, Gulf State Park (Volunteer in the Park)
6) Carol and Jim Wehr, Gulf State Park (Volunteer in the Park)
7) David Rogers, DeSoto State Park (Volunteer in the Park)
8) Ed Rogers, of Huntsville (Volunteer in the Park)
9) Garrett Southers, of Scottsboro and Eagle Scout Troop 708 (Youth)
10) Alabama State Senator Tom Whatley, of Lee County (Elected Official)
“It is always wonderful to recognize and celebrate the incredible work done by so many people in our parks,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “The last year has been a challenge for everyone, and these 10 Eagle Award winners have made above-and-beyond contributions. We thank them for making sure our parks remain first-rate.”
Alabama State Parks Division Director Greg Lein echoed Blankenship’s thoughts.
“Partners Pay the Way is more than just a slogan for us,” he said. “These Eagle Award winners are partners in every sense of the word. They work – for no compensation – to make their favorite parks better and to provide amenities that all visitors can share. In some cases, they provided actual physical labor in service of the parks. Our parks are undoubtedly better places to visit because of these Eagle Award winners.”
Shar and Phil Roos are traveling the country while volunteering their time and energy with the group, A Year to Volunteer. They arrived at Joe Wheeler State Park with a group of other volunteers and helped organize and complete several projects to help clean up the campground and finish construction projects after the park was devastated by a tornado. They continued their volunteer service by travelling to Buck’s Pocket State Park and helped park staff and volunteers finish clean up and construction there in order to re-open the park.
David Rogers started volunteering at DeSoto State Park in 1997 after retiring to Alabama. He used his engineering background to assist the maintenance crew on a variety of projects, including building facilities throughout the park. He also assisted park naturalists in building hiking trails and identifying and saving the wildflowers found in the park.
Southers completed his Eagle Scout project at Lake Guntersville State Park in March 2020. He raised the funds, solicited corporate sponsors for materials and built five osprey nesting platforms in the park. This conservation project will provide a safe habitat for osprey to build their nests and help with the return of these birds to the park.