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Posted 8/31/2017

Release no. 17-020

Catherine Jennison

VICKSBURG, MISS… A volunteer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Ouachita Project, Bill Barnes, was selected as the recipient of the 2016 National Volunteer Award. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the Corps Foundation, created this award to recognize the extraordinary service provided by volunteers.

 This award distinguishes individuals, couples, and family units who give their skills, talents, and time beyond the normal call of duty and whose creditable service to the Corps has resulted in the significant enhancement to one or more of the Corps programs.

 Barnes was nominated by Lake Ouachita park manager Stacy Sigman, and was selected for his 25 years of dedication to the recreation, water/boating safety, and natural resource management programs at Lake Ouachita. He has led special events for the visiting public such as fireworks displays, parades, and the Veteran's Relax and Relate Festival.  His goal is to always strive to enhance the visitor experience.

 In 2016, Barnes donated in excess of 500 hours of volunteer service on the Lake Ouachita Citizen's Focus Committee. As a volunteer, he has been influential in providing insight for recreation area enhancements. His work with the Wounded Warrior Squirrel Hunt ensured its success. Rick Dwyer, Ouachita operations project manager said, “Bill is a tremendous ambassador for recreation and customer service in Arkansas.”

 As a first responder and Chief of the Joplin Volunteer Fire Department for 37 years, Barnes has also improved safety around Lake Ouachita with his quick response and assertiveness in many emergencies. He continues to demonstrate a high level of integrity, dedication, and service that is extremely beneficial to the Lake Ouachita Project and the visiting public.

 Although the primary mission of Lake Ouachita is flood damage risk reduction and hydropower, the lake attracts millions of visitors to these recreation areas annually to enjoy the camping, playgrounds, swimming areas, several types of trails, fishing, boat ramps and marinas. Lake Ouachita is one of the three lakes in Arkansas maintained and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District. Information on Corps lakes and recreational areas can be found on the Vicksburg District Operations Division’s website.