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Calvert), Mary­land State Sen. Ulysses Cur­rie (D-Prince Ge­orge’s), Mary­land De­part­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Ge­orge Owings III, Mary­land State Sen­a­tor Dou­glas J.J. Peters and Mary­land House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arun­del), mas­ter of cer­e­monies.

The Ac­co­keek Foun­da­tion es­tab­lished the Na­tional Con­ser­va­tion Lead­er­ship Award in 2001 to rec­og­nize per­sons who have made ma­jor con­tri­bu­tions in the con­ser­va­tion of nat­u­ral, cul­tural and his­toric re­sources, while also sup­port­ing ed­u­ca­tion and re­search in those ar­eas. This year’s award hon­ors posthu­mously Proc­tor for his life­time of work as an ed­u­ca­tor, leg­is­la­tor and vol­un­teer on be­half of cul­tural her­itage, the en­vi­ron­ment and the ad­vance­ment of youth in Mary­land, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease.

“For 20-some­thing years, we’ve been do­ing what we call ‘ lead­er­ship sa­lute’ where we award a Na­tional Con­ser­va­tion Lead­er­ship Award to a re­cip­i­ent who has deep, strong con­nec­tions with the Ac­co­keek Foun­da­tion and has ex­hib­ited, in the com­mu­nity, ad­vo­cacy for ed­u­ca­tion, con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion of our cul­tural her­itage,” said An­jela Barnes, direc­tor of mar­ket­ing at the foun­da­tion. “This year we are hon­or­ing the late Del­e­gate James Proc­tor. He was a friend and sup­port- er of the foun­da­tion and served on our board for sev­eral years. He passed away last year, so we thought it would just be fit­ting to award him with the Na­tional Con­ser­va­tion Lead­er­ship Award this year.”

Be­gin­ning with his first as­sign­ment on the House En­vi­ron­men­tal Mat­ters Com­mit­tee, Proc­tor was a strong sup­porter of the Ac­co­keek Foun­da­tion and its work. He con­tin­ued that sup­port by co-spon­sor­ing bond bills that helped con­struct the foun­da­tion’s ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter and its Po­tomac River dock­ing and ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties. In ad­di­tion, Proc­tor served on the foun­da­tion’s board of trustees from 2006 to 2011, ac­cord­ing to an in­for­ma­tion book­let.

“At this point, it’s def­i­nitely some­thing that’s well de­served,” James E. Proc­tor III of Ac­co­keek, one of Proc­tor’s sur­viv­ing chil­dren, said in an in­ter­view. “I think any­body that knows my fa­ther … as a grad­u­ate of Dun­bar High School in [Wash­ing­ton] D.C., his thing was per­se­ver­ance is king. … His per­sis­tence is the rea­son why south county has some of the projects that it does. … That’s the most im­por­tant thing he gave me — that per­sis­tence is key.”

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously lived in Brandy­wine, Proc­tor — a first cousin of for­mer D.C. Mayor Vin­cent Gray who at­tended the din­ner Sun­day — moved to Ac­co­keek in the later part of his life where he rep­re­sented Prince Ge­orge’s and Charles coun­ties in the House of Del­e­gates since May 1990 un­til his death in Septem­ber 2015. He held a num­ber of lead­er­ship po­si­tions in the leg­is­la­ture in­clud­ing vice chair­man of both the county del­e­ga­tion and ap­pro­pri­a­tions com­mit­tee.

Dur­ing his time in elected of­fice, Proc­tor was a tire­less ad­vo­cate for ed­u­ca­tion re­sources, in­clud­ing money for school con­struc­tion and fields for high school ath­let­ics. He also served on the Mary­land Ru­ral Cau­cus, Mary­land Vet­er­ans Cau­cus, Tri-County Coun­cil for South­ern Mary­land, Task Force on Ed­u­ca­tion Fund­ing Eq­uity, Ac­count­abil­ity and Part­ner­ships, Mary­land School for the Blind, Chel­tenham Youth Fa­cil­ity Ad­vi­sory Board and State Ad­vi­sory Board for Ju­ve­nile Ser­vices, the book­let noted.

Susie Proc­tor said she is over­joyed by the sup­port from fel­low elected lead­ers and res­i­dents in the com­mu­nity who have all said won­der­ful things about her beloved hus­band of 55 years.

“I wish he could be here to re­ceive the honor him- self but I’m so pleased peo­ple are ac­knowl­edg­ing and rec­og­niz­ing what he’s done,” she said. “Any pro­gram that would en­hance chil­dren’s op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in how farm­ing is done, how you care for live­stock, how you pre­serve and re­spect the en­vi­ron­ment, all of that was very im­por­tant to him.”

“He was one of a kind,” Cur­rie re­called. “What he be­lieved, he be­lieved, and he would fol­low through.”

Owings said what he will re­mem­ber most about Proc­tor is his fair­ness and in­tegrity.

“He was an hon­est man and dealt with all is­sues fairly,” Owings said. “I think it’s some­thing that’s right in line with what he’s al­ways done his whole life — pub­lic ser­vice, ed­u­ca­tor [and] elected mem­ber of the House of Del­e­gates. He was just a tremen­dous in­di­vid­ual.”

“He’s the guy who passed the ba­ton on to us so we need to keep mov­ing for­ward and pass it to the next gen­er­a­tion,” Peters said. “He was al­ways help­ing peo­ple. He was help­ing ei­ther pre­serve land or move our his­tor­i­cally black col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties for­ward. He was just a worker and I re­ally re­spect that.”

As one of Proc­tor’s best friends, Miller said he is proud to have served with him in help­ing to make the com­mu­nity a bet­ter place for res­i­dents in Prince Ge­orge’s and Charles coun­ties.

“It’s been a won­der­ful 25 years with him and now we’re able to get his wife, Susie, to fin­ish the re­main­ing part of his term,” Miller said. “This is about hon­or­ing him by pro­vid­ing funds for stu­dents and fight­ing to pre­serve and keep up this won­der­ful ed­u­ca­tional tool [here at the Ac­co­keek Foun­da­tion].”

Pro­ceeds from the din­ner will ben­e­fit the foun­da­tion’s agri­cul­ture ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams in­clud­ing AgLab and the Agri­cul­ture Con­ser­va­tion Corps, a paid seven-week sum­mer in­tern­ship pro­gram for high school stu­dents that pro­vides hands-on agri­cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence.

“More money means more re­sources,” said Agri­cul­ture and Agri­cul­tural Ed­u­ca­tion Direc­tor Paul Lovelace. “This is an amaz­ing pro­gram ex­pos­ing young peo­ple to sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and all of the ideas and philoso­phies that are con­nected to that. … These young peo­ple are be­ing re­con­nected to this amaz­ing place and that’s re­ally our mis­sion here — to re­con­nect peo­ple to this amaz­ing land.”

Mary­land State Sen­a­tor Ulysses Cur­rie speaks with Gwynn Park High School stu­dents Tyler Reid, Ryan Cle­mons, Isiah Nance and Xavier Nance who are all par­tic­i­pants in the Ac­co­keek Foun­da­tion’s Agri­cul­ture Con­ser­va­tion Corps pro­gram. All pro­ceeds from the din­ner will go to­ward the paid seven-week sum­mer in­tern­ship pro­gram which pro­vides hands-on agri­cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence.

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