From staff reports
The Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve recently honored Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt.
Blunt was presented with the 2020 Distinguished Service Award on Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park Welcome Center via the Zoom teleconferencing application.
Members of the foundation and representative from the City of Ste. Genevieve also participated in the event.
Foundation president Mike Weiler made the presentation, and likened it to handing out a most valuable player award at a team’s season-ending banquet.
It was a team effort involving many people, leading to the establishment of the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park on Oct. 30, 2020.
But, Blunt was a central figure in the federal government process to have the National Park Service establish the park. He has served as a Missouri Senator since 2011.
“Generations of people who cared about the uniqueness of Ste. Genevieve made all the difference here,” Blunt said virtually.
“The effort has been long, and I was so excited when my staff brought in the picture the other day and put it on my desk of the park service sign on the highway that indicated turn right here, and you’re going to the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park,” continued Blunt.
Blunt also recognized U.S. Representative Jason Smith (R), the Missouri State Historical Society, Missouri State Parks, Mike Ward and Chris Collins of the National Park Service and a member of his own staff.
Dan Burgess, his legislative director, had a required every two-week phone call with the park service for at least nine month to check on its progress, Blunt noted.
The award recognized Blunt for visiting Ste. Genevieve “frequently during the process to keep local community partners informed, using his knowledge of Ste. Genevieve, its history and its architecture to present the case for national park establishment at Senate Committee hearings.”
Legislation to establish the national park was introduced in May 2016; however, the matter was not take up during that congressional session.
Blunt sponsored another bill in 2017 that eventually became part of the omnibus bill President Donald J. Trump signed in March 2018.
Currently, the park features the Jean-Baptiste Valle House, which was donated by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Missouri; and the Bauvais-Amoureux House donated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The city of Ste. Genevieve and the National Park Service are cooperatively managing the Welcome Center, located on Main Street.