The American Recreation Coalition’s Legend’s Award was presented to Jude Harrington, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Raystown Lake supervisory park ranger, June 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Recreation leaders from across the country, Congressman Glenn Thompson (Pa.), leaders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, and Harrington’s family gathered to honor his efforts Tuesday evening.
“He’s truly one of the Baltimore District’s best, and I’d venture to say one of the Corps of Engineers' best,” said Col. Trey Jordan, Baltimore District commander.
Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) presented the official Congressional record read on the House of Representatives floor June 10 in Harrington’s honor.
“Without Mr. Harrington’s high standards and efforts, the surrounding community would not have such high quality camping facilities, roadways, trails, beaches, and recreational opportunities. He’s truly a professional, leader, and public servant.” said Thompson.
Thompson presented Harrington with a congressional gold coin to honor his efforts.
“You’ve helped create memories for families at Raystown that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives,” said Thompson.
In Harrington’s 34 years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he’s worked at seven different Corps lakes in five different districts. For 22 of those years, he’s found a home at Baltimore District’s Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County, Pa.
Harrington is a proponent of all recreation projects in and out of the Baltimore District. He has supported, encouraged, planned, and accomplished the maintenance, repair and improvement of many facilities to provide high quality recreational experiences.
Harrington’s persistence and vision of the future helps him to succeed and he challenges others to have the same impact.
“I try to remind and challenge everyone that when you’re tackling the difficult decisions and combining agendas, it’s going to be frustrating. But, if you get frustrated, look around you and remember what it’s all about,” said Harrington. “When you can get some gratification that what you’re doing today is important -- maybe not today, tomorrow, or this weekend – but just remember that what you’re doing is going to make a difference. Get recharged and remember what it is all about.”
As a founding member of the Friends of Raystown Lake and long-term advisor, Harrington has paved the way for many partnerships resulting in several successful projects for the community. Some of the more notable accomplishments include the recently-constructed Greenside Pathway, a 2.5 mile trail made of recycled tires, as well as helping local communities obtain Department of Transportation grant funding for road upgrades to improve access to Corps parks.
“He has a great capacity to take on multiple, complex tasks and see them through to a successful outcome including the Greenside Pathway,” said Nick Krupa, operating program manager at Raystown Lake.
Harrington has a great reputation among his peers as being a dedicated natural resource professional who is committed to public service and delivering quality recreation opportunities to approximately 1 million visitors to Raystown Lake each year.
“Jude is the epitome of what a park ranger is all about,” said Joe Ignatius, chief of the Flood Risk Management Branch at the Baltimore District. “The leadership he has shown over the years, especially to the younger rangers, has been instrumental to the growth of the Raystown project into what it is today, a crown jewel of the Baltimore District, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
Harrington continues to share his knowledge with the local community by teaching Visitor Assistance courses, conducting training sessions and reaching out to local universities to lead experiential learning workshops.
“He takes great pride in Raystown Lake and the surrounding community and has been personally involved in nearly all of Raystown’s success since arriving over 22 years ago,” said Krupa. “He wants only what is best for Raystown Lake and comes to work every day with the ambition to make Raystown the best facility in the Corps of Engineers.”