Photo: NAPS president Mike Ahart (left) presents the Northumberland Distinguished Citizen Award to Jack Moore.
NAPS presented the 2018 Northumberland Distinguished Citizen Award to Jack Moore during its Annual Fall Social at the Bay Quarter Shores Community Club House in Heathsville on Sunday, November 4. Rescheduled due to power outages caused by Tropical Storm Michael, “the event was well worth the wait,” said NAPS president Mike Ahart.
Moore began his speech on a note of humor: When hearing of the NAPS award, “my son expressed the view that my noted ability to take short snoozes was at last being recognized!” Moore went on to say that he was “humbled” by the award and grateful for the opportunity to talk about his “favorite subject, the Shiloh Schools.” These historic one-room school houses, located at the corner of Balls Neck Road and Shiloh School Road, date back to the late 19th century. Moore explained that the original Shiloh School served students from 1884 - 1905 when the new larger school was completed. Students in the Balls Neck region attended this school for another 23 years, until 1929. In 2012 the original “mother school” was relocated to the current site where both now stand.
Largely due to the efforts of the non-profit Northumberland Preservation Incorporated (NPI), the schools were purchased in the 1980’s, renovated, and became recognized historic sites. Unfortunately, by the mid 2000’s, the structures had fallen into disrepair. “An unused old building inevitably becomes prone to deterioration and decay,” Moore explained. This is when he stepped in with the goal of helping bring new life to the school houses. It was “an opportunity to give back to the community using my modest carpentry skills and long held love of old buildings,” Moore said. Now President of NPI, Moore has provided leadership and attention to detail during the renovations. An entrance porch to the Shiloh school was restored to its original appearance based on a photograph from around 1920, and a local mill contributed by cutting poplar from the region to match the original siding.
Recognizing that lack of use is a building’s worst enemy, the NPI board has fostered a renewed interest in the schools, organized events to be held on the site, and encouraged the public to make use of the space. Over the past few years, it has been a meeting place for Master Naturalists, a viewing location for an astronomy club, and host to a Veteran’s Day program commemorating the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day and honoring local veterans. For the past several years, NPI has also organized several educational lectures at the schools focusing on the region’s history. A native plant garden was added to the grounds recently and has already proven beneficial to the environment. “This summer we were blessed with an abundance of butterflies and fritillaries including the iconic Monarch Butterfly which happily decimated the leaves of our milkweed plants,” Moore said. “Other pollinators are also finding the Shiloh location.” Moore concluded his talk by encouraging members of the community to visit the site and consider participating in its ongoing restoration: “We are always looking for volunteer help ranging from carpentry skills to painting to gardening or working on lecture topics.” The takeaway message of the evening was that viewing the Shiloh school site as a community resource will help preserve it for future generations.
In addition to his work with the Shiloh schools, Jack Moore has served on the founding Board of the Northern Neck Land Conservancy, is a member of the Wicomico Parish Church Vestry, and is a long-standing supporter of the Northumberland YMCA, the Northumberland County Library, and NAPS. In 2016, he and his wife Susan received Rappahannock Community College’s annual Chancellor’s Award. Moore has several degrees from Michigan State University, including a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. His professional career included chemical research at the National Institutes of Health. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Moore headed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program regulating pesticides and industrial chemicals.
The Northumberland Distinguished Citizen Award is presented by NAPS each year to honor an individual, team, organization, or business in the county that advances one or more of the goals of NAPS: Improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries; fostering and preserving the county’s rural atmosphere; promoting and monitoring land use policies; encouraging economic growth to promote jobs; and cooperating with others through educational programs to target these goals.
Previous awardees include Bill Estell (2017), Bob Parker (2016), Lee Allain (2015), Sue Lindsey (2014), Jane Towner (2013), Dr. Gregory Haugan (2012) and Myrtle Phillips (2011). The award has also been given to groups in the past, including the county’s Volunteer Fire Departments, Rescue Squads, and Reedville Fishermen’s Museum. A complete list of past awardees can be found at NAPSva.org/awards-and-grants.