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EPA Administrator Recognizes Rhode Island Leader With President’s Volunteer Service Award

Release Date: 04/24/2008
Contact Information: Contact: Nancy Grantham – (617) 918-1101

(Boston, Mass. – April 24, 2008) EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson honored five Rhode Island leaders who volunteered to restore the Blackstone River on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston. Leaders of the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone River including Frank Matta, John Marsland, Alice Clemente, Sandra Belliveau and Frank Geary were on hand to accept the award.

The Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone River promotes volunteer water quality monitoring and restoration of fish passage and spawning habitat in the Blackstone River. The Council has energized grassroots advocacy for the river, including support for cleanup events that have removed 10,000 tires and just this month helped State Police retrieve at least five cars from the River. One of their most outstanding efforts has been in leading and energizing the installation of fish ladders at the first four dams on the Blackstone. Their energy has resulted in making people “believe” in the rebirth of this historic urban river.

“Today we honor the leadership of the Blackstone River Watershed Council for answering President Bush's call to serve a cause greater than themselves,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Dedicated volunteers like Frank Matta, John Marsland, Alice Clemente, Sandra Belliveau and Frank Geary are inspiring others to join them in delivering America a brighter, healthier future."

During his travels across the country, Administrator Johnson meets with individuals like the Blackstone River Watershed Council who are answering the call to volunteer service, environmental education and pollution prevention. Next week, April 27 – May 3 is National Volunteer Week.

In his January 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush called on all Americans to make a difference in their communities through volunteer service. He created USA Freedom Corps, an Office of the White House, to strengthen and expand volunteer service. Americans are responding to the President’s Call to Service. Go to or call 1-877-USA-CORPS to find an existing volunteer service opportunity in your area or to find more information about service programs, including national service programs such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Citizen Corps. USA Freedom Corps is also highlighting youth volunteer service. Visit for games and ideas to see how America's youth are making a difference.

The President's Volunteer Service Award was created at the President’s direction by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The Award is available to youth ages 14 and under who have completed 50 or more hours of volunteer service; to individuals 15 and older who have completed 100 or more hours; and to families or groups who have completed 200 or more hours. For more information about the Award, please visit