Capito touched by recognition for her service to Harpers Ferry
HARPERS FERRY — “I’m a little embarrassed by all this” were the first words spoken by Senator Shelley Moore Capito last Friday morning, as she was recognized for her contributions to Harpers Ferry by members of the Merchant’s Association, business people, residents, Park Service and town officials.
Capito was the guest of honor at a ceremony at the Harpers Ferry Train Station, where individuals paid homage to her for continued support of the National Park Service, the towns of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar, Jefferson County and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, through which the Eastern Panhandle receives multiple grants.
Speakers at the reception spoke of Capito’s long-standing support of the National Park Service, especially her work as a senator in securing expansion of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park boundaries.
Joy Oakes, senior regional director, National Parks Conservation Association, shared memories from 2004, when the acreage-ceiling for the park was lifted so additional lands could be secured.
“Because of your leadership as a congresswoman, President George W. Bush signed the 2004 bill expanding the acreage ceiling,” Oakes said as she held a map of the areas secured, following the bill’s passage, including the Murphy Farm. “There was bi-partisan leadership to secure funds to preserve lands.”
“We understand what it means that you had a vision for this place,” said Greg Finch, president of the Harpers Ferry Merchant’s Association. “The confluence of the rivers reminds of the confluence of people in this room, who want to continue the legacy for years to come.”
In addition to Capito’s contributions to the national park, she was also recognized for her support to the businesses of Harpers Ferry, especially following the tragic fire that occurred three years ago.
Cindi Dunn, co-owner of the Vintage Lady with her husband, Billy Ray, lost everything on July 23, 2015.
“I saw sadness in your face when you came here,” Dunn said to Capito. “You felt our pain and were here as our friend.”
Rounding out the presentations and recognitions for Capito’s service to the area was a proclamation presented jointly by Mayors Wayne Bishop and Helen Detmer, of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar respectively.
Bishop praised Capito for her work on behalf of the national park, and her assistance in helping the town secure funding for a long-needed water plant upgrade.
Capito spoke briefly to the gathered crowd, downplaying the significance of her help.
“One person doesn’t do any of these things. We had a lot of partners. Sen. [Robert C.] Byrd was instrumental in the Senate and I was his counterpart in the House,” Capito said, mentioning Harpers Ferry should be proud of its historical significance. “Harpers Ferry is important, not only to the state, but to the nation. Visitors come not only from around the country, but around the world.”
Capito took a few brief moments to comment on her continued support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, through which many local agencies and departments receive funding for various projects.
“There is a bill I am a sponsor on that seeks permanent mandatory funding,” she said. “It’s not there yet, but we are fighting.”
She also spoke of the Restore Our Parks Act, legislation that will address a backlog of more than $12 million in maintenance and repairs for the country’s National Parks. The bill was introduced in early July and has received bi-partisan support.