Early morning on the Commons was simply beautiful as we embarked upon the opening of the 20th annual "Colonial Times, A Day to Remember" event.   A year of preparation has culminated in a diverse gathering of reenactors and living history interpreters with anticipated attendance in the thousands.
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All is quiet in the early morning.
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Soldiers begin to stir and prepare breakfast.
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A sheep
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Faire Wynds perform on the Glass Harps.
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Backwoods cabin.
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Dr Franklin, engaging as ever.
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Max the Tinsmith working on his wares.
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Blacksmith's Forge is a popular venue.
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Ike talks to visitors about local colonial history.
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Cool drinks available at the Spring House Tavern.
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Artillery Deminstartion
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The New Windsor Cabinet Shop hosts many visitors.
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Inquires about the wares for sale.
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Locals form the village stop by to visit.
While we did not get the Shop completed to the point that we could have visitors come inside, setting up on the porch afforded us the opportunity to share a glimpse of what the New Windsor Shop will become as we grow into the future.

All in all, this was a very good beginning.

Chris 
 
Well, the start of our big annual event is finally here!  While the Shop on the hillside is not ready for prime-time during School Days, we are just one day away from our debut -on the Saturday of Colonial Times!

Today we hosted 1,000 school children from the local Georgia and South Carolina  public, private, and home schools.

Enjoy some pictures from the day.
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By the dawn's early light, School Days gets underway!
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Buses unloading students at the front gate.
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General George Washington addresses students at the Barn.
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Students are shown a variety of needle work projects in the Thompson Academy.
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A Back Woodsman talks to students about life in the back country of the Georgia colony at the back woods cabin.
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The French Lacemaker demonstrates the lacemaking process and attempts to enroll young children into his trade.
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One of 2 Blacksmiths talks to students about working metal in the 18th century.
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Ben Franklin and his wife talk about events of the day.
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Colonel Brown reflects on life in the King's army.
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A Native American gives a perspective on life within the Savannah River valley.
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A Toymaker shares his wares with visiting students.
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A Woodcarver memorizes visitors with wit and skills.
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Faire Wynds Circus is a favorite of young and old.
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Lunch is served on the stage.
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The King's proclamations are posted on the Tavern wall for all of his subjects to read.
 
Well, we made a good run at getting the build complete by the October 15 date for our annual Colonial Times "A Day to Remember" event but we have run a little short on time and funds.
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View as you come in from the Lake Avenue entrance.

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View from Lake Avenue.

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View of the lower level from the path to the Barn.

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Interior view across the Shop and into the Wareroom.

While we did not get the building 100% complete, the exterior is 98% done and the interior will be simple to finish once the final funds are secured.  I hope to have the construction complete before cold weather sets in so that we can use the shop over the winter.

For the October event, we will  be set up to demonstrate on the front porch and talk to the public about the Shop.  I hope to see you this weekend as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Colonial Times: A Day to Remember. 

That's all for now...

Chris
 
We continue to push forward to complete as much as we could over the past week as we are on the down hill slide now with less than a week before our annual Colonial Times "A Day to Remember" event.    
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Worked continued to finish up the exterior siding, trim and touch up painting.
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The never ending task of moving landscaping block and assembling them into retaining walls is drawing to an end. Alonte' moves yet another load of block for Augusta Concrete Block and readies them for the upper wall.
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Speaking of concrete landscape blocks and retaining walls, we simply would not have the beautiful terrace walls were it not for the dedication and perseverance of some special members of the US Navy Chiefs from Fort Gordon. Steve, Aaron and Germina your volunteer dedication and contribution are unparalleled. Thank You!
And finally for the week, we had a bit of an unexpected surprise.  Someone in government saw fit that we receive new pavement on Lake Avenue right out in front of our front door.
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A nice fresh coat.
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It just feels right.
5 Days and counting!

Chris
 
Wow! The exterior of the Shop has dramatically transformed over the past week as we push to finish in time for our Colonial Times "A Day to Remember" event on October 14-16, 2011.  We now have paint, windows, doors and siding.  
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Painting the 16 windows turned out to be quiet a daunting task. While several folks like Ding and Pam pitched in to help, the vast majority of the work was completed by Lynn. THANK YOU LYNN!
A special thanks to Will Steele of Victor Bilt for the special pricing on the windows and doors.  The craftsmanship of their products are fitting for our shop and their generosity helped make the Shop a  reality.
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The dormer windows going in.
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The Wareroom door is being installed and the upper retaining wall has been started. Check out how good the siding, trim and window look on the side wall.
The siding product we selected for cost, maintenance, and aesthetic reasons was a concrete based product.  Philip Shivel of Lansing Building Products negotiated with James Hardie USA/Canada for special consideration in the purchase of their Colorplus HardiePlank siding & trim.
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WOW!!! The blue siding is simply the most perfect color!
Inside the Shop we are adding a spectacular detail that is not only beautiful but also functions to hold the walls together.   
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I must confess. I was not in favor of adding these overhead beams as I did not want to take away from the openness of the room and have the beams cast shadows from the dormers above. All I can say is the I was wrong and the beams are AWESOME!
Ok... Ok... OK!  Yes, we are an 18th Century Cabinetmaker's shop.  And, No, electricity was not a part of an 18th Century structure unless something had gone enormously wrong.  So then, why am I about to show you pictures of people wiring the Shop with electricity? 

From the outset, the vision for the New Windsor Cabinet Shop was one of a venue for both 18th Century and 21st Century events.  A space to demonstrate the historic wood trades of a bygone era and a place to host and embrace modern day working.  You could do the former both then and now but the latter can only be done now and often times requires a plug.  :-)

Check out the Classes tab on the website.  We will be offering period skill and project classes  as well as present day classes.  Have no fear, if you can see the electrical outlets you are in a modern day class.  If you are in a period class, whats an outlet!
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Master Electrician, Eric Presnell, of Aiken Augusta Security System, lead the effort to install the electrical in the Shop. Once again, Eric has donated his professional services to wire the Shop just like he did in 2009 during the construction of the Barn.
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Lydia Presnell, Eric's wife, stopped by to help pull wire.
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Mr. Zippler installing outlet boxes.
This week we received a helping hand from both local and national companies.  This project simply would not have been possible without the support of these organizations.  My thanks to each of the following companies for without their help and the help of other companies and individuals like them, the Shop would still be a dream in my head.   You can click on many of the logos and link directly to their websites.
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Victor Bilt, provider of windows and doors.
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Lansing Building Products, provider of exterior siding and trim.
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James Hardie, provider of exterior siding and trim.
Another great week of progress.  

Chris
 
Work has continued on the outside of the project this past week and we have a roof.  On the Barn side of the Shop, the Wareroom deck is in, the lower retaining wall is nearing completion and the grading for the upper wall is underway.
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Sweet! The roof is finally on and the deck in front of the Wareroom door is in.
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The initial grading for the upper wall has started and the construction of the lower wall has continued.
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With the lower wall making headway, the trail to the new Mercantile begins to emerge.
A short wall has been added to the Garden side of the Shop.  This will allow us to build up the path leading down the hill towards the Garden and widen it out with the dirt from the foundation excavation. 
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Eventually, the dirt will be gently sloped down the hill to form a shelf before taking a more abrupt slant to the top of the retaining wall along the back of the Shop.
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This view of the Garden side of the Shop shows the significant leveling that has resulted from the dirt made available when we dugout the basement.
As the October event draws near, an additional project was undertaken to provide more comfort for our visitors.  Once again, Augusta Concrete Block provided the foundation material for this project in the form of 12 sets of concrete   bench bases.  A little pressure treated lumber with some precision cutting and drilling and we ended up with 12 really nice benches.
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The concrete bases. Don't think they are not heavy!
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Saw setup to cut the wood components to length. 108 cuts later, we were ready to move on to drilling the holes.
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After a quick conversion, the saw station becomes a drilling station. After 216 counter sinks and 216 holes drilled, it is time for assembly.
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The pressure treated planks are bolted into threaded inserts that were set into the concrete bases when they were poured. Very tight tolerance in getting this all to come together.
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The finished product. Once painted, they will be placed throughout the park. After all of this, a couple WILL end up on the hill by the Shop!
Thank you Augusta Concrete Block for your continual generosity.  It is hard to look in any direction within the Park and not see a demonstration of your munificence!

Chris

 
Work continued over the last week with finishing off the roof decking on the front of the Shop, the addition of the front porch, and the start of cedar shakes.  The guys froms Starnes Co. continue to do a stellar job.
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Shot of the front of the Shop with the front porch going on.
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With the decking complete on the porch roof, you can great appreciation for the great lines of this beauty!
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Shakes going on.
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Roof is nearing completion.
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I must say... As much as I love the view of the front of the Shop from lake Avenue, my favorite view is this one.
Work started in earnest this week on shaping and improving the land surrounding the Shop.  What once was a moderate slope began to take on the form of a multi-terraced landscape.  Augusta Concrete Block once again came to our aid in the form of hundreds of concrete landscaping blocks.   We were also joined by a small contingent of US Navy Chiefs from Fort Gordon.  The Chiefs have a long standing history of service to our park.  For this, we are thankful.
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Foreground: Moderate slope on the Barn side of the Shop. Background: 7 pallets of concrete landscape blocks.
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Navy Chiefs Steve, Aaron & Felix (foreground right) work with tractor operator Tom to lay the foundation course of block for the lower retaining wall. Mr. & Mrs. Z supervise from above.
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The first segment of the lower wall was an all day affair to get constructed.
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Calculating the turn in the wall and planning out how the steps would progress up and into the hillside was a challenge that the Navy Chiefs were able to conquer.
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The last activity for the week was excavating and laying down the gravel base of the remainder of the lower wall.
That's all for this week.

Chris
 
With the base structure in place, the past 2 weeks have been filled with sealing the basement and closing the roof to keep the water out.
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Plywood is being added to the roof and all side walls. The opening are on the roof where the dormers will be located.
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Local companies, Starrette Trucking and Martin Marietta, partnered to donate and deliver 5 large dump truck loads of gravel.
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The concrete block basement walls were sprayed with a waterproofing film and then covered with a waterproof membrane. After installing a French drain at the base of the wall, a temporary form was then installed 12" off the wall.
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Gravel is then poured in between the form and the block wall and dirt is backfilled on the outside of the form. This creates a 12" wall of gravel the entire length and depth of the foundation wall which ensures excellent drainage into the pipe at the base of the wall. The dirt is then compacted to complete the backfilling process.
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The building has been wrapped to provide a moisture and airflow barrier and the roof has been covered in roofing felt in preparation for the cedar shake roof. The exposed rafters on the lower corner of the roof is where the front porch roof will tie in.
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An straight eyebrow roof was added on the back of the building to provide coverage for the lower level.
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Cedar Shakes have been added to the back roof. The color and look is simply breathtaking.
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The last activity for the week was to dig and pour the 5 footings for the front porch. I could not pass up the opportunity to point out to the builder, David, that the footings were not perfectly aligned. After a slight glare, he assured me that the were level and more than adequate to meet their intended purpose. Which, I knew, but I just could not help myself. :-)
Over the past 2 weeks, we continue to be honored by donations or discounts of product or services provided by the following North Augusta/Augusta area businesses.  
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Starrette Trucking, provider of gravel and delivery services.
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Martin Marietta, provider of gravel. Click on logo to link to website.
This coming week, the front porch will be added, the roof should be completed and we might get windows and doors.  Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed.

As always, we would welcome and appreciate any donations to assist us in completing the project.  Contact me at Chris@NewWindsorShop.org to make a donation.

Chris
 
We are a month into the project and finally a likeness of the Shop is beginning to emerge.  Kevin Starnes of Starnes Company and his crew have spent the past two weeks framing the building.
The weather has continued to be hot with temperatures in the high 90's and high humidity, but not as hot as the preceding weeks of 100-degree days. 

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The main floor is supported by 2 sets of 3 LVL beams.
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Completed floor sub-system. The Shop will be divided into 2 rooms: a 20' x 24' main Shop room & an 8' x 14' wareroom.
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The exterior walls are 9' tall with an interior vaulted ceiling height of 19' at the Shop's main ridge. The 4 roof dormers are integral to the lighting as they act as skylights providing light from above.
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Kevin (left) discusses the framing of the exterior side walls with framing foreman Hilario (center).
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Ceiling joists are added to the wareroom.
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The full-daylight basement is a 600 square foot space with 8' ceilings that opens out onto a level landing overlooking the Commons.
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We continue to be supported by local companies. Three complete sets of scaffolds were supplied by Atlas Scaffold Inc of Augusta.
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Lots of lumber in the air... Holy smoke, the roof is in the clouds! With a 12-12 pitched roof the Shop is going to be impressive.
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This is the view from the natural springs at the upper end of the Commons. Oh, have I not mentioned that we have a spring? One second while I get you a tankard so you have a taste!
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Rafters progressing to form the foundation of the roof. The smaller roof of the wareroom adds a nice architectural detail to the overall roofline.
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View from the service road as you enter the Park.
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Priceless! This is the view from the back left window of the Shop. I knew we would have an excellent view of the Commons!
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View from the Barn and livery from Shop's right-side rear window.
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View headed up Lake Avenue from outside the park.
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I am so glad that we decided to bite the bullet and build the Shop on a full basement rather than a crawl space. As you can see, we will have a nice plaza outside the basement door and an additional venue for a relativity minimal additional cost.
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There she is!
Kevin and his team have done a fantastic job of getting the framing underway and completing the base structure.  I will admit that we had a few design changes on the fly and some adjustments that caused rework, but all were handled well by Kevin and his top-notch team.  

God help the framer that has to undergo the scrutiny and exacting eye of a cabinetmaker.  Fortunately, Kevin's attention to detail and and focus on quality passed muster in my book.

As is the case every week, local companies stepped forward to help out our construction efforts with a meaningful donation or discount.  Through the generosity of companies like these this project is well on its way to completion.  You can click on many of the logos and link directly to their websites.
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The help provided by by Atlas Scaffold, Inc. made the framing process easier and safer.
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Maner Builders Supply Co., supplier of framing and foundation materials.
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Pratt-Dudley Builders Supply Co., supplier of framing materials.
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Addams Supply, provider of framing materials.
Over the two next weeks we will push forward with waterproofing the basement walls, backfilling the foundation and getting the roof on.  

Chris
 
It is a tradition that members of the US Navy Chiefs from Fort Gordon hold an annual work day at the Park.  This year, their 8th anniversary,  we hosted around 75 Chiefs.  The amount of work that this highly coordinated group can achieve in 4 hours is phenomenal!   This year the Chiefs cleared brush, cut up firewood, cleaned up around the Shop and laid tile in the Kitchen.
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Brush clearing along the back side of the Park.
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Clearing brush down by the pond.
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The trimmed banks of the pond are now airy and clear.
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Who knew there was a split rail fence in the overgrowth!
Several of the Chiefs brought their tile laying talents to the Kitchen floor and what an upgrade!
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Terracotta, trowels, teamwork and trouble!
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The floor looks just great!
The Navy Chiefs are a tremendous asset to our community and the Park.  We appreciate their longstanding commitment and contributions.