SCHUYLKILL TWP. >> Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, along with Schuylkill Township, Chester County and Natural Lands Trust, has announced the establishment of a conservation easement on the Medal of Honor Grove.
The Grove is the oldest living memorial dedicated to recipients of the Medal of Honor and the easement ensures that it will be preserved for perpetuity.
The Medal of Honor was instituted by President Lincoln and first awarded to Recipients from the Civil War. It is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
“In October 1964, over 100 Medal of Honor Recipients came to participate in the dedication of the Grove, bringing to bear the significance of its vision,” Thomas Kelley, president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, stated. “It’s been over 50 years since that day and the Grove is just as important now as it was then, perhaps more so. I can’t be more pleased that this easement will secure its preservation and its tribute for generations to come.”
The sprawling Grove makes up the majority of the Freedoms Foundation 72-acre campus, paying tribute to those recipients through memorials and obelisks located on land set apart for each of the 50 states and two U.S. territories. This historic part of the Freedoms Foundation campus is noted for its walking trails, woodland beauty, and peaceful reverence befitting the recognition of those it honors.
“The Grove is now preserved for future generations, so that they may experience this spiritual place, which represents duty, honor and country,” Wally Nunn, board chairman for Freedoms Foundation and founding chairman of The Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove said in the release.
Ongoing maintenance and beautification of the Grove has been through the commitment and efforts of a nonprofit, volunteer organization known as The Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove. Founded in 2011, the small nonprofit has raised funds and organized volunteers to improve, enhance, and maintain the dignity of the Medal of Honor Grove. “The Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove, exemplify the type of engaged citizenship that our organization fosters,” Michael Di Yeso, president and CEO of Freedoms Foundation said in the release. “They lead by example and we are grateful for all that they have done and continue to do. The Grove has been an important part of our teacher professional development programs, our youth civic education programs, and fulfillment of our mission to educate, honor, and challenge Americans to become engaged citizens.”
Open Space easements have shown over time to be a successful method of land preservation for local communities.
“With the continued growth in Schuylkill Township, it is important to conserve areas of natural beauty that enhance our environment and quality of life,” Bob Mauch, chairman of Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission, said in the release.
“We are delighted to have played a role in the permanent conservation of this sacred green space,” Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust, said in the release.