Volunteer Spotlight, Friends of Fort Clinch and Team of 3+ Awards
Friends of Fort Clinch Inc. – History of the American Soldier
Special Event of the Year Award for Cultural Resources
The connection between the Florida Park Service and the U.S. military goes back to its inception. To help celebrate these heroes, an appropriate and fitting tribute was developed by Park Services Specialist Frank Ofeldt more than 20 years ago. The event occurs annually on Veterans Day weekend.
“History of the American Soldier” takes an in-depth look at the uniform and weapons used by the American soldier from the Revolutionary era to the present, offering insights into their development and evolution. Sponsored by the Friends of Fort Clinch, the event – complete with professional sound and light production – is open to everyone, free of charge, with a suggested donation of a canned food item to help stock the Barnabas Center, the local food bank on Amelia Island.
Hours before the first soldier crosses the stage, items from various military conflicts are set up to form the scene. Fort staff with the help of more than 70 volunteers gather period-accurate uniforms from all major conflicts in American history. One by one, each soldier marches on to the stage while the presenter describes the conflict in which they fought and the uniform they wore.
Following this brief description, the audience is treated to a demonstration of his/her weapon exploding in the night. After each presentation, the soldier ascends to the fort’s ramparts standing in the evening sky.
When the presentation concludes, there are soldiers representing each major conflict from the American Revolution to the most recent conflict overseas. Standing atop the rampart, side by side, these soldiers represent the professionalism and dedication of our armed service members. These soldiers also represent the tremendous respect that the staff and volunteers of Fort Clinch State Park have for our nation’s veterans.
For 20 years, the Barnabas Center has relied on this event to help stock the food bank’s shelves for the holiday season.
Congratulations to the Friends of Fort Clinch Inc. for this award. Your dedication to this event is appreciated.
Historic Canopy Drive Team: Nelson Goldman, Ken Robinson, Carl Winner, Robbie Hair, Jim Mauldin and Joyce Miller
Volunteer Team of Three+ of the Year Award for Protection
When entering Fort Clinch State Park, visitors travel the historic 3-mile drive, a stretch that is meticulously maintained by four dedicated volunteers who have served on the team since 2015. Every Wednesday, they work tirelessly to preserve and maintain the road and its safety.
Originally designed and built by the Civilian Conversation Corps, the road wanders through hardwood hammock and ancient dunes, and it requires constant maintenance to preserve its natural beauty. Volunteers use chain saws, woodchippers and other tools to maintain the 14-foot clearance of the road.
Each week, their work provides a safe route for campers traveling to the back of the park. This has reduced camper incidents by over 25%. During hurricane and storm season, these volunteers work tirelessly to clear the roads from debris and damage. This enables the park to reopen faster and restores a safe environment.
The mutual respect and hard work of team members is evident in the work they do. They have earned the respect and gratitude of park staff.
Congratulations to the Historic Canopy Drive Team on this award. Their support is appreciated.