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Blennerhassett Island to receive patriotic award

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PARKERSBURG, WV – Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park and Museum of Regional History will receive the Sons of the American Revolution State Flag Award from West Virginia Society President Richard Brockway of White Sulphur Springs at 12:40 p.m. May 11. The Capt. James Neal Chapter will host the presentation on the island grounds.

The selection of the island to receive this year's state award came on the nomination of Chapter President Ron Barnes at the state meeting in March. The Flag Award is part of the SAR's mission to promote history, patriotism and education. It is presented to individuals, companies and government agencies that fly the United States flag for patriotic purposes. The award will be presented to Park Supt. Matthew Baker by Compatriot and West Virginia History Hero James Lockhart.

Parkersburg South Air Force JROTC State Championship Drill Team will perform during the presentation program. They will be accompanied by their Color Guard and guest speaker JROTC Commander Lt. Col. Thomas Sparaco. South Saxophonist Andrew Myers will play the National Anthem and local bagpiper Joseph Quick will accompany the combined SAR and JROTC Color Guard.

Ray Swick, Blennerhassett Island State Park historian, and Fred Gillespie will be presented 25-year membership pins at the program. Both men joined the SAR in the 1980s.Swick has served in many positions as officer in the local chapter and Gillespie has been faithful in attendance and service to the SAR over the years.

 Janet Lockhart will be presented the SAR's Martha Washington Award at the program. Lockhart, along with DAR members Christine Brookeover and Chris Painter, were instrumental in promoting the Capt. James Neal Chapter's Color Guard at several local historical and patriotic events in 2012. The award was authorized in 1971 and is presented to women for outstanding service to the SAR.

Lockhart, Brookeover and Painter included the Color Guard in ceremonies at the Burnt Hill Veteran Dedication in May, the Neale Cemetery Veteran Day Service in November, and the Spencer Cemetery in December of last year. They were also instrumental in providing behind the scene support to the SAR at parades and other SAR functions. Brookeover and Painter received their medals in April.

The program will conclude with the JROTC Color Guard giving a flag folding presentation and explaining each fold of the flag. Special guest WWII veteran Denver Gandee of Spencer will be in attendance. Gandee was recently knighted by the French Legion of Honor. The public is welcome to attend the program.

For information about Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, visit

www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com or call 304-420-4800.