The eighth annual Preservation Ball to benefit the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project founded by state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, was the most successful yet.
Organized by the Victorian Dance Ensemble of the Civil War Dance Foundation, the ball raised better than $7,400, which is more than $1,000 above last year's effort.
Leading the grand march to the music of the Philadelphia Brigade Band was Abraham Lincoln himself, portrayed by guest of honor James Getty. Following Getty was Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Bob Kirby and his wife Beth. This was the first time a GNMP superintendent was in attendance.
"I was certainly happy to have Superintendent Kirby and his wife join us," said Rep. Readshaw. "Since his arrival at Gettysburg, there is a more upbeat and cooperative relationship between the park and the array of organizations that want to help it weather these tough economic times."
Saturday's soirée revealed a number of Rep. Readshaw's colleagues who were prepared to master the dance techniques of the 1860s. Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, attended his first Preservation Ball and has already committed to return next year. Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams/Franklin, and his wife Lorie have become regulars at the event. Rep. Ken Smith, D-Lackawanna, and his wife Dorothy enjoyed their first Preservation Ball and former Rep. Lynn Herman, a long-time Civil War reenactor and Monuments Project supporter, also turned out.
Rep. Readshaw began the campaign to restore and preserve the more than 140 Pennsylvania monuments and markers on the Gettysburg battlefield in 1997 after he read of the deteriorating condition of the park monuments due to cuts in federal funding.
The Monuments Project has already secured funding for repairs needed by any of the more than 140 Commonwealth monuments and markers. Now the focus is on funding a perpetual trust for each of them. The trusts will pay for periodic maintenance to ensure they are preserved to tell future generations of the bravery and sacrifice at Gettysburg.
Rep. Readshaw can be contacted about the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project by calling his Harrisburg office at 717-783-0411, or by email at email@example.com.