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UDC Pays Tribute to Double the Honorees at 33rd Annual River Valley Awards

Keynote Speaker: NYS Senator Mike Martucci (R-42nd District)

BEACH LAKE – The Upper Delaware Council (UDC) welcomed 140 guests to honor a double slate of 2020 and 2021 River Valley Award recipients at the Central House Family Resort in Beach Lake, PA on September 12.

It was the 33rd consecutive time for the UDC to bestow awards since the non-profit organization began in 1988, but last year’s public ceremony had to be cancelled for the first time.

New York State Senator Mike Martucci, who was elected in 2020 to represent the 42nd District which covers all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster Counties, delivered the keynote address.

While not every honoree was in attendance, the UDC recognizes their accomplishments through profiles that appear in illustrated programs posted on their website under publications.

The 2021 roster included:

Distinguished Service Award ~ Kevin Reish, U.S. Park Ranger, National Park Service (retired), for 34 years of service at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River from 1987-2021, including roles as the first Water Safety Program Manager, instructor, presenter, wildland firefighter, Special Events Team, and active participant in numerous river rescue incidents.

Robin M. Daniels Memorial Lifesaving Award ~ Sparrowbush (NY) Engine Company, for 60 years of providing highly skilled volunteer emergency services in often challenging conditions on land and water, particularly at the NYS Route 97 Hawk’s Nest and on the Delaware River.

Partnership Award ~ Trust for Public Land, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Sullivan County, and Town of Delaware for collaborating to transform an abandoned property in Callicoon, NY into a 40-acre riverside park for public recreational use and municipal services.

Outstanding Community Achievement Award ~ Town of Highland, NY for supporting multiple beautification, recreational access, and historic projects that spotlight the river and for revising the Town Zoning Code to conform to the Upper Delaware Land and Water Use Guidelines.

Recreation Achievement Awards (2) ~ Knotweed Management Project, invasive plant species research and educational outreach coordinated by Friends of the Upper Delaware River, Inc.; and Keep Hawley-Honesdale Beautiful (KHHB), accomplishments in roadside and riverside litter clean-up activities since 2017.

Volunteer Award ~ Edwin “Ed” Jackson, for his nearly two-decade tenure as Town of Tusten Planning Board chairman, leadership with the New York State Planning Federation, and veterans’ causes.

Cultural Achievement Awards (2) ~ Michael Rocco “Rocky” Pinciotti, artist, teacher, and Delaware Valley Arts Alliance Gallery Director, 2005-2020; and The Delaware Company, for keeping history alive through commemorations, new markers, a river trail extension, and Sullivan County site programming.

Community Service Award ~ Andy Boyar of Eldred, NY for his fervor to protect the health and safety of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, conception of the 15-community Upper Delaware Litter Sweep, presidency of the Upper Delaware Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and municipal leadership roles.

Special Recognition Awards (2) ~ WJFF Radio Catskill for their programming focus on Upper Delaware River Valley issues, interests, and individuals; and Bonnie Sheard for 27 years at the National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, including as Commercial & Special Park Uses Program Manager.

Oaken Gavel Award ~ Larry H. Richardson, 2020 (and four-time) UDC Chairperson, Town of Cochecton Representative.

The 2020 honorees were:

Distinguished Service Award ~ Harold G. Roeder, Jr., for his contributions to the Upper Delaware Council as Town of Delaware, NY Representative since 1997, three-time UDC chairperson, and river valley advocate.

Robin M. Daniels Memorial Lifesaving Awards (2) ~ Paddy McCarthy and the late Tim Freeman, National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Interpretive Rangers, for a July 5, 2019 boater rescue at Mongaup Rapids; and James Moss, Johnny Smith, Andy Moss (Equinunk Volunteer Fire Company) and Jeff Dexter (Damascus Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps), for a July 6, 2019 river rescue upstream of the Kellams-Stalker Bridge.

Advocacy Award ~ Pennsylvania Representatives Jonathan Fritz (111th District) and Michael Peifer (139th District), and Senator Lisa Baker (20th District), for securing a first-ever $100,000 Pennsylvania grant investment in 2019 for the Upper Delaware Council and its five PA member townships.

Partnership Award ~ Dr. Heather Galbraith, Carrie Blakeslee, Jeff Cole, and Barbara White for their work at the USGS Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory partnering with the National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River for over two decades to advance numerous scientific research projects.

Cultural Achievement Awards (2) ~ Big Eddy Film Festival, directed by Tina Spangler from the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, for the 8th annual event in 2019 featuring the premiere of the “Narrowsburg” documentary; and the Wayne County Historical Society’s 1888 Spencer Tractor Restoration accomplished over three years by Fred Murray, Rich Robbins, Frank Ward, Rod Warner, Steve Weber, and Kim Erickson.

Community Service Award ~ Nancy Furdock of Hancock, NY for promoting regional tourism, economic development, arts appreciation, and cultural understanding.

Recreation Achievement Awards (2) ~ Dan Plummer, guiding force behind the Friends of the Upper Delaware River, Inc. from 2006 to 2019; and Bill Streeter, director of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center since 1987.

Volunteer Award ~ Star Hesse of Lava, NY for her active outreach on behalf of Town of Tusten residents, senior citizens, the environment, and community beautification efforts.

Special Recognition Awards (2) ~ Carla Hauser Hahn of Callicoon, NY upon her 2019 retirement as National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Management Assistant after 39 years of government service; and John Ogozalek of French Woods, NY for his advocacy to mark the Highest Elevation point along the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway and substance abuse addiction education through The Kingfisher Project.

For more information on the Council’s activities, please visit the UDC’s website or Facebook/Instagram accounts, call (845) 252-3022 or email


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