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Outstanding Duo Honored for Long-Term Contributions to Historic Preservation Movement

Rev. Bob Bluford receives lifetime achievement award; State Historic Preservation Officer Kathleen Kilpatrick recognized for four decades of outstanding service in preservation

(Richmond, Va.) – This weekend, as members of the Civil War Trust gather in Richmond, Va., for the organization’s fall board meeting and Grand Review, the group honored two of the most prolific advocates for the protection the Old Dominion’s historic resources — Reverend Bob Bluford and state historic preservation officer Kathleen Kilpatrick.

“It is a great honor to recognize the work of these two outstanding individuals,” said Trust president James Lighthizer, “particularly since I count them both friends as well as colleagues. Each of them has left a tangible legacy that will benefit Virginians and all Americans for countless generations to come.”

Rev. Bluford, 94, is a retired Presbyterian minister who has devoted himself to a variety of causes over the course of his life. In the 1960s, amid tremendous social upheaval, he was the director of Presbyterian Campus Ministry, and in 1968 he helped found the Fan Free Clinic in Richmond. In the 1980s he began his work to protect Historic Polegreen Church, where Rev. Samuel Davies began a quest for the freedom of religious choice in Colonial Virginia. Since then, he has been a driving force behind the preservation of hundreds of acres of battlefield land in the Richmond area and a tireless crusader for causes related to the Commonwealth’s Native American heritage. Bluford, who was named the Virginia Press Association’s Virginian of the Year in 2011, can now add the Civil War Trust’s Edwin C. Bearss Lifetime Achievement Award to his honors.

Meanwhile, Kathleen Kilpatrick was recognized for her unswerving support of the Trust and its battlefield preservation mission. She has served as director of the Department of Historic Resources for Virginia since February 2001, serving as the state’s chief historic preservation officer under four different governors.  She had initially joined the department as deputy director in 1995, after serving as special assistant for policy and legislation to the Virginia secretary of natural resources. Earlier in her career, she spent five years with the U.S. Department of the Interior as senior special assistant to the assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget. In 1984, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to a six-year term on the National Council on the Humanities.

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States.  Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.  To date, the Trust has preserved more than 36,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states.  Learn more at, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.