|EPA Recognizes Jay Gilliam With President's Volunteer Service Award|
|By Patte Wood|
EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson is honoried Jay Gilliam of Rockbridge County, Va., with the Presidentâ€™s Volunteer Service Award. Gilliam has been an active volunteer and leader in Virginia water monitoring for more than 15 years, working with Virginia Save Our Streams and the Foundation for Virginiaâ€™s Natural Resources.
â€śToday we honor Jay Gilliam for answering President Bush's call to serve a cause greater than himself,â€ť said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson on March 19th. â€śDedicated volunteers like Jay are inspiring others to join them in delivering America a brighter, healthier future.â€ť
Johnson presented the award to Gilliam during a speech on March 19 to the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) in Mount Vernon, Va.
Gilliam, who was nominated for the award by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, became interested in water quality issues in the early 1990s when his favorite swimming spot was threatened by pollution.
In 1991, Gilliam became a citizen volunteer with the Virginia Save Our Streams organization. He worked many hours collecting water quality samples. He revived and expanded volunteer recruitment and trained dozens of citizen volunteers using the Izaak Walton Leagueâ€™s biological monitoring method. Today, the program has about 350 certified volunteers, making it one of the largest citizen monitoring groups in Virginia.
In the late 1990s under Gilliamâ€™s direction, Virginia Save Our Streams became the first citizen monitoring group to enter into a formal agreement with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to expand citizen monitoring â€“ this has led to many more trained citizen volunteers.
Gilliam is also the chairman of the Foundation for Virginiaâ€™s Natural Resources, one of Virginiaâ€™s newest efforts, which assists in developing non-regulatory conservation programs and promotes environmental education and pollution prevention.
â€śIâ€™m very flattered to be chosen to receive this award,â€ť said Gilliam. â€śI ride on the coat-tails of many dedicated citizen stewards and agency personnel.â€ť
Gilliam said the Foundation for Virginiaâ€™s Natural Resources aims to broaden and increase support for a healthy environment in Virginia. â€śWe need collaboration from the business community, interested citizens, philanthropists and other natural resource groups. Weâ€™re all in this boat together,â€ť he said.
In his January 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush called on all Americans to make a difference in their communities through volunteer service. He created USA Freedom Corps, an Office of the White House, to strengthen and expand volunteer service. Americans are responding to the presidentâ€™s call to service.
The president's Volunteer Service Award was created at the presidentâ€™s direction by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. Individuals and organizations are nominated for their volunteer service over a 12-month period, specifically: for youth ages 14 and under who have completed 50 or more hours of volunteer service; individuals 15 and older who have completed 100 or more hours; and families or groups who have completed 200 or more hours.