FORT MONROE, Va. - The Garrison Commander, Col. Anthony D. Reyes, accepted Fort Monroe's eighth environmental award for the year during a brief ceremony at the installation's main gate on Nov. 24.

A sign reading "Hampton Clean City Commission, Clean Business Award" was presented by John Golden, Chairman of Hampton's Business, Industry and Government Agency Committee. The sign will be permanently displayed in the main gate area.

Fort Monroe environmental specialist Grady Wesson was responsible for the Clean Business Award nomination He said he is proud of the quality of work the installation environmental staff performs consistently, year after year.

"There is not a dollar value that can be placed on environmental stewardship. We are committed to improving our environment while educating people on the importance of maintaining it," Wesson said.

Their commitment shows in the number and types of awards they earned this year alone. In October, Fort Monroe received the first-place Keep Virginia Beautiful Award for Government Agency, Beautification and Community Improvement. The program elements included a recycling program, pollution prevention, implementing storm water best management practices, and various community involvement and Earth Day/Arbor Day activities.

"(We) also worked diligently to maintain our Tree City USA status, Virginia Clean Marina certification, and to enhance and improve our delicate shoreline and historical (artillery) batteries," Wesson said.

In May, the annual Tree City USA award was presented to the post for the 21st time and Tree City USA Growth Award was received by post officials for the sixth year in a row. Later in the year, a Certificate of Merit was given by Keep America Beautiful, Inc. for the same program elements submitted in the Keep Virginia Beautiful campaign.

In October, Monroe was presented the Legacy Award for environmental initiatives, recycling, deconstruction, beautification, and continued participation in the Clean the Bay and Virginia International Coastal Cleanup initiatives and for providing a keynote speaker at one of the Hampton Clean City Commission breakfasts.

Furthermore, the post Environmental Division was responsible for Fort Monroe receiving the Virginia Peninsula Clean Business Forum Clean Business Award in October in recognition of outstanding contributions in commercial beautification, litter control and recycling, according to the award citation. The award was presented by the Virginia Peninsula Clean Business Forum.

The 2007 Platinum Achievement Award for eight consecutive years of pretreatment compliance excellence was awarded by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District in May. Also, the post was given the Award of Excellence for Achievements in 2008 and for participation in Earth Day, by the Hampton Roads Alliance for Environmental Education.

For Wesson, good stewardship of the post goes beyond the practical side of environmental care - ensuring storm water is free of pollutants or that waste is handled properly. They extend to the basic, everyday appreciation for the natural amenities found at the fort.

"I don't do this for myself; I do it for Fort Monroe. It's a beautiful place to work and we should sustain it for future generations.