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The National Capital Orchid Society

The Huntington Service Award

The Huntington Service Award was approved by the board of NCOS to honor Merritt W. Huntington and is incorporated in the society's bylaws.

Merritt's association with the National Capital Orchid Society dates back to the early 1960's when he and Helen came to the Washington, D.C. area to join Kensington Orchids. A glance at the NCOS roster shows his "official" service culminated as president of the society during 1968 through 1970.

Perhaps more telling is that he and Helen were given life membership status due to their ongoing support to the success of the society. Merritt's stewardship of NCOS encompassed many years during which he served in many capacities. He was the unheralded "trustee" or "chief executive" of NCOS and worked constantly to steer the society around many pitfalls brought on by the transitional nature of the membership. The elected members of the board regularly sought his advice and he rarely missed a board meeting before his passing in 2005.

The Huntington Service Award recognizes members of the National Capital Orchid Society who have given outstanding volunteer service over a period of time. While there are no specific criteria for a member to be considered for the award, a panel of former Society presidents exists to assist individuals who wish to nominate one of their peers. Nominations are formalized by the panel and forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. Once approved, the recipient receives a certificate and his or her name is inscribed on a perpetual plaque available for viewing at monthly meetings.

Plaque Inscription

"The Huntington Service Recognition Award Honoring the lifelong dedication of Merritt W. Huntington to the National Capital Orchid Society recognizes these members for outstanding service to the society."

2016 Recipient: Gene Schurg

For the past 14 years Gene Schurg has been an energetic pillar of support for two of the most important annual NCOS events, the Show and the auction. For the Show, he has been responsible for the organization and operation of the sales area and for the educational program, regularly serving as a highly effective speaker himself and recruiting others. For the auction, he has regularly been a dedicated member of the organizational team and a faithful source of highest quality plant divisions from his own collection. For both events he is always an invaluable source of institutional memory. His continuing efforts on behalf of the National Capital Orchid Society over a period of many years are hereby gratefully recognized. For the full story, see the January 2017 NCOS Newsletter.

2015 Recipient: Charles J. “Chick” Little

Chick became a member of NCOS in the 1980s, and for many years has actively supported NCOS displays in numerous away shows by lending plants and by actively participating in set-up and tear-down efforts, always as the quintessential team player and hard worker. In addition to providing well-grown plants from his own collection, Chick has regularly gathered contributions from other NCOS members who live in his area of Virginia, not just once or twice but again and again, year after year. He has also frequently participated in support activities for the Paph Forum and the annual auction. Further details are in the NCOS Newsletter for February 2016.

2014 Recipiens: Jerry M. and Mary J. Rice

Jerry has been an active member of NCOS for more than 40 years, contributing to the annual Show in various capacities and participating in many away shows, including one year as NCOS team leader at the VOS Show in Richmond when the exhibit won the AOS show trophy. He has served on the NCOS Board as an elected officer, as VP and Fall Show Chair in 2005-2006 and as President during 2007-2008, and was Chair of the Finance Committee during 2009-2010. Together with his wife, Mary, he reactivated the annual family picnic in 2004, and has served as chair of the picnic committee ever since, assuming responsibility for all logistical details. Under his guidance the picnic, which is self-supporting through proceeds of the annual picnic auction, has regularly returned a cumulative total of several thousand dollars to the NCOS general operating budget. Mary assumed responsibility for the NCOS newsletter in 2008, improving the product greatly with expanded use of color and distribution by email, and then became chair of the communication and membership committee, maintaining the active membership roster and serving as the focus for the Society’s communication with the membership. Further details are in the NCOS Newsletter for January 2015.

2013 Recipient: Kenneth Meier

Ken Meier joined the National Capital Orchid Society in the mid-1980s and served on the Board for 15 years, 1989 – 2004. He assumed a leadership role in stabilizing the finances of the NCOS after a chaotic period in the late 1990s, and served as President of the Society during 2003-2004. An accredited AOS Judge, Ken developed the National Capital Judging Center website, currently serves as NCJC webmaster, and has served as NCJC Treasurer and Co-Chair. Ken wrote, printed and mailed the monthly NCOS newsletter for many years and served as auction chair for 6 years. He inherited the mantle of auctioneer extraordinaire from Merritt Huntington, and continues to enliven both the annual NCOS auction and, often, the picnic auction with his entertaining and enlightening presentations. For the full story, see the January 2014 NCOS Newsletter.

2012 Recipient: Nancy A. Burns

While serving as Secretary from 2004 through 2010 Nancy A. Burns’ leadership contributed greatly to the National Capital Orchid Society. Her service as Public Relations Coordinator over an extended period has helped to ensure the success of the society’s many public outreach programs. She served on the committee for the 41st Eastern Orchid Congress cosponsored by NCOS that was held in Baltimore, Maryland in November 1996. Her professional expertise was invaluable in securing meeting and exhibition facilities and providing for extensive advertising. Her dedication is of inestimable value to the organization and merits the gratitude of all of its members. Further details are in the NCOS Newsletter for January 2013.

2011 Recipient: Gordon Slaymaker

Gordon, a long-time member of the NCOS and an AOS accredited judge, has served as President of the Society during 1993 -1994, played a major role in the establishment of the AOS National Capital Judging Center, and served as its Chair for many years. Gordon has also served for 20 years as host or co-host of The Paph Forum, playing a pivotal role in the establishment of an orchid symposium that has become an internationally recognized and admired NCOS program. Gordon continues to serve as chair of the show table at monthly NCOS members meetings, and his good-humored and highly knowledgeable discussion of the plants that receive ribbons at these meetings is a highlight of each occasion. For the full story, see the January 2012 NCOS Newsletter.

2010 Recipient: Charles S. Wilkins, Jr.

While serving as Vice President and President-Elect from 2003 through 2005, Charlie Wilkins' leadership contributed greatly to the success of the National Capital Orchid Society. He served on the financial overhaul committee and modernized the cashier transaction system. As Annual Show Chair, he developed a business model, codified the workflow for volunteers, and upgraded show materials. He provides for the society website and continues to volunteer in many facets of the society's programs. His dedication is of inestimable value to the organization and merits the gratitude of all of its members. See the November 2010 NCOS Newsletter.

2009 Recipient: Joseph J. Francis

While serving as Treasurer, Joseph J. Francis' administration of the society's finances resulted in a sound and transparent fiscal policy that supports the activities of the National Capital Orchid Society. His dedication is of inestimable value to the society and merits the gratitude of all of its members. For the full story, see the September 2009 NCOS Newsletter.