The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was honored on October 5th by the Waterfront Alliance of New York as recipient of the ‘Heroes of the Harbor’ award for its work in rendering assistance during a crisis, for its important navigation mission, wetlands restoration, and coastal restoration achievements.
Due to COVID-19, the event’s programming was virtual and shared digitally.
Heroes of the Harbor is the Waterfront Alliance’s signature event, and each year, the Alliance honors a new roster of heroes—exemplary leaders of the waterfront community.
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ) presented the award, and Mr. Chris Ward Chairman of the Waterfront Alliance presided over the virtual event.
Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, Chief of Engineers, and Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accepted the award and honor.
“I congratulate the entire Army Corps of Engineers New York District Office,” said Sen. Menendez. “I’m grateful for the Army Corps’ expertise. You have helped us build a brighter future.”
Lt. Gen. Spellmon spoke about the passion and commitment of the Corps relating to the COVID-19 Alternate Care Facility mission and about the focus and importance of coastline resiliency to withstand future storm events. “I am proud to be partners in the efforts in improving 700 miles of coastline.”
Ward spoke about the critical role that the Corps plays and being “a group of people dedicated to making the harbor a better place.” He acknowledged the importance of the Corps’ efforts in deepening the navigation channels — underwater highways to 50 feet and lauded Joseph Seebode, the Army Corps’ New York Deputy District Engineer for “his tireless work who deserves an enormous amount of credit.”
Other honorees included Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY-7), The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Mr. Louis Pernice, ILA Local 1814 (in memoriam).
One of the event’s signature components during the annual event is the Parade of Boats, normally showcasing a variety of watercraft in a flotilla of vessels to an onlooking crowd, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade of boats was conducted in a video rendition format.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a well-earned reputation for rendering aid during and after acute crises, whether natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes or the shocking terrorist attacks of 9/11. In 2020, with regional hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus patients, the Corps built large alternate care facilities in record time and coordinated the arrival of the USNS hospital ship Comfort to the Passenger Ship Terminal. Meanwhile, this forward-looking federal agency keeps our navigation channels deep, wide, and open for business, while at the same time restoring precious wetlands and beaches,” said the Waterfront Alliance.
The Waterfront Alliance has been one of the Corps’ key partners for a decade. The Alliance has participated in the District’s annual strategic engagements during partner Harbor Inspections where various organizations board an Army Corps vessel and observe and discuss accomplishments, future partnering opportunities, ecosystem restoration successes, navigation activities and waterfront planning. The New York District has also been an active participant of the Alliance’s annual City of Water Day, an event aimed at inspiring people of all ages with a vision of a world-class regional waterfront.