VICKSBURG, Miss. --
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District recently recognized Lake Ouachita volunteers Windell and Carolyn Belford with the Volunteer Excellence Coin for their 14 years of exemplary service at Denby Point Recreation Area.
Created in partnership with the Corps Foundation, the award recognizes volunteers’ extraordinary skills and contributions and encourages an attitude of stewardship and responsibility in caring for USACE lands, facilities, and resources.
Windell and Carolyn Belford have served in the Denby Point Recreation Area on Lake Ouachita since October 2008 and donated over 3,100 hours of service. They served as contract fee hosts during peak seasons and volunteers in the Denby Point area during portions of the off-seasons. They maintained the recreation area by blowing leaves and debris off campsites and roadways, cleaning fire rings and pedestal grills, reporting maintenance issues, maintaining bulletin boards, picking up litter, and providing information to visitors when park rangers were not available.
They have been extremely beneficial in providing a point of contact and assistance to the public, and cleaning the recreation areas, allowing the park rangers and Operations and Maintenance personnel at Lake Ouachita to spend more time on other projects such as campsite amenity upgrades and renovations.
Mr. and Mrs. Belford were always ready to assist campers finding and setting up on a campsite in the campground, and visitors have complimented the Belfords’ kindness, courteous manner, and knowledge of the area. They distributed lake maps, campground maps, and other recreation information each day they were working. They also helped campers navigate the www.recreation.gov website to book a reservation.
The Belfords assisted in promoting water safety at Lake Ouachita by handing out coloring books, asking visitors to wear their lifejackets, and maintaining the lifejacket loaner board located at the swim beach by re-hanging and re-stocking lifejackets when needed.
In addition to serving as a campground host, Windell is an avid fisherman and enjoyed providing fishing tips to the public. He also assisted the Natural Resource Management staff in sinking fish shelters to enhance the fisheries habitat on Lake Ouachita.
The Belfords hold the longest duration of volunteer service in recent years. They are retiring to spend time with family.
The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana, that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.