State honors three Bushy Run Battlefield volunteers
The state has honored three Bushy Run Battlefield volunteers for their contributions of time and talent at the historic colonial battlefield along Route 993 in Penn Township.
The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission recognized Emily Liska, John Harris and Nick Sopko during the annual Volunteer of the Year ceremony Saturday in Harrisburg. They were among 22 individuals and an entire family who were honored for their efforts at historical sites in Pennsylvania. Each spring for nearly 40 years, commission leadership have gathered with volunteers to say thanks and honor exceptional service.
In Beaver County, Cynthia Pagesh was recognized for her service at Old Economy Village in Ambridge.
“Our volunteers are integral to the success of our historic sites and museums,” PHMC Executive Director Andrea Lowery said in a statement. “They bring a passion for history, a strong connection to community, and a desire to welcome all who visit to learn more about our shared heritage.”
Each of the historic sites and museums on the Pennsylvania Trails of History are invited to designate a Volunteer of the Year based on service in the preceding calendar year.
It was “practically impossible to choose just one individual” when considering who to recognize for Volunteer of the Year at Bushy Run, said Michael Tusay, Bushy Run Battlefield Museum facilitator.
“Emily, John, and Nick have continuously gone above and beyond with their efforts to promote and preserve Bushy Run Battlefield for several years. All of them volunteering in different capacities, exemplify what it means to be a volunteer at Bushy Run and embody the true spirit of volunteerism. They willingly and cheerfully donate so much of their time and energy to making sure Bushy Run is the best it can be,” Tusay said.
Liska helped to raise about $1,100 for the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society through a fundraiser in March 2018. She had been volunteering at Bushy Run for about six years and had logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours.
Her high senior project last year involved helping to increase awareness of the battlefield. Liska is a student at Virginia Military Institute.
Sopko, a junior at Penn-Trafford High School, spent almost everyday of the past two seasons volunteering at Bushy Run in numerous capacities, accumulating over 400 hours of service.
“Nick has been a huge asset to Bushy Run, helping out where needed and has become an extremely knowledgeable tour guide,” according to the booklet for the Volunteer of the Year ceremony. “His enthusiasm and high spirits are an inspiration.”
Harris, a junior at Penn-Trafford, has been volunteering at Bushy Run since he was five years old, helping his father with crowd control at the annual battle re-enactment. Since then, he has volunteered as a re-enactor, taught children’s camp participants how to march and drum, assisted with special events and participated with in various Boy Scout projects, including his own Eagle Scout project at the site.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .