RAYSTOWN LAKE, Pa. --
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District Commander Col. John Litz will present the Corps Foundation Enduring Service Volunteer Award to Ron Rabena, Friends of Raystown Lake (FRL) president, during the Raystown Lake annual Cleanup Day, May 1, 2021, at noon at the Tatman Run picnic shelter. The Corps Foundation is the only nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to supporting the nation's lakes, rivers and the lands surrounding them.
Rabena has served as FRL president for nearly 25 years since the FRL’s founding in 1996. He has more than 5,000 volunteer hours – not counting his off-the-clock volunteer time.
“We invite the public to join us as we honor Ron’s exceptional service to the Lake and region. He has made it his duty to develop, support and improve the betterment of the Raystown Lake project’s natural resource and recreation stewardship missions,” said Allen Gwinn, supervisory park ranger. “He vigorously supports the annual Raystown Lake Cleanup Day, which he has helped to develop and organize. This event inspires volunteers from across Pennsylvania and surrounding states to become lifelong environmental stewards who make lasting impacts in their local community.”
Each year, volunteers remove approximately 2,000 pounds of trash from the shoreline to enhance the health and beauty of this important water resource. For this year’s Cleanup Day, Rabena coordinated the transfer of a pontoon boat, which was a donation from SUNOCO to FRL. This donation will help remove trash and debris from the shorelines of Raystown Lake.
Rabena has made it a priority to advocate for Raystown Lake projects by researching opportunities through the USACE Handshake Partnership program that leverages resources of stakeholder and partner organizations. Due to Rabena’s efforts, FRL has been involved in all nine of the Handshake Partnerships at Raystown Lake.
Some of these partnership projects include:
- The installation of interpretive wayside exhibits in 2004
- Raystown Conservation Education Program in 2008
- Construction of the Allegrippis Mountain Biking Trail in 2009
- American Chestnut orchard restoration in 2010
- Mountain Bike Skills Park to complement the Allegrippis Trails in 2015
- Terrace Mountain Trail rehab in 2020
- Upcoming Raystown Lake Disc Golf course to be installed at Seven Points in 2021
In 2011, Rabena participated in the Association of Partners for Public Lands conference in Dallas to share his partnership experiences with other similar non-profit groups nationwide. He assisted the USACE Partnership Advisory Committee at the conference, providing presentations about the partnership FRL built with the Raystown Lake project and the benefits that followed.
From 2012 to 2013, Rabena temporarily stepped down as FRL president to partner with USACE in the Cooperative Joint Management Program, in which he led and operated the Seven Points Campground for FRL. During this two-year management partnership, the Raystown Lake project acquired $1.1 million of direct funding for facility improvements.