Five Organizations Get Honored Distinction From President Bush

BILOXI (WLOX) -- Volunteers with the Gulf Coast Conservation Corps are rarely spotted in suits and ties. That's because they're usually out working on projects to improve the environment in our Katrina-battered area.

But a few members of the group dressed up Monday night to receive a distinguished award from the Commander-In-Chief.

"It's been the talk around camp for the past couple of days. We only found out a week or so ago, and everyone's pretty excited," said Mike Skvarka, crew leader of the Gulf Coast Conservation Corps.

The Gulf Coast Conservation Corps was formed just seven months ago and was among five organizations given the Presidential Service Award. Other recipients were the Grand Casino, the Interfaith Disaster Task Force, Chevron-Pascagoula Refinery, and the Sun Herald.

"Our President gives that award, and it's about their service and commitment to the country. It's about their time, their service, whatever they've done, how they've helped make this country a better country," said Henry Lozano, Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States.

"Post-Katrina has been, really, it gives us a heart mission in a different way to recognize these five amazing organizations tonight in a way that we'll be able to say one of our highest awards is the President's Service Award, so we're truly delighted," said Marsha Meeks Kelly of the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service.