Trooper Island News Release

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Award received by Trooper Island

Date of News Release: 02/03/2010

Lt. Col. Anthony Mitchell, left, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commander for the Nashville District, is shown standing next to Kentucky State Police Trooper First Class Craig Sutton, Director of Trooper Island Camp, just minutes after presenting Sutton with the Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division National Water Safety Award.  Also shown above, from left to right, are: Kentucky State Police  Lt. Col. Brad Bates, Director of the KSP Technical Division, Dale Hollow Lake Resource Manager Stephen Beason, Dale Hollow Ranger Gregg Nevins and Dale Hollow Ranger Bobby Bartlett, click here to enlarge in a new window

(Albany, Ky.) -- During the 10 week long summer camping season, Trooper Island Camp is a week-long home to 65 boys and girls who work and play side by side with counselors and sworn officers of the Kentucky State Police.

In these winter months, with the exception of a few maintenance staff members and Camp Director KSP Trooper First Class Craig Sutton, Trooper Island is pretty much deserted.

Despite a cold rain that was falling a couple of weeks ago, several members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville Office, along with personnel from the Corps Celina Resource Office, joined Sutton and others at Trooper Island for a brief presentation inside the recreation building.

An image of KSP Trooper First Class Craig Sutton, left, Director of Trooper Island Camp, is shown being congratulated by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Mitchell, Commander of the Corps of Engineers Nashville District.  Mitchell presented Sutton with the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division National Water Safety Award during a brief ceremony at Trooper Island recently, click the image to enlarge in a new windowLt. Col. Anthony Mitchell, Commander of the Corps' Nashville District, and several members of his support staff, presented Sutton with one of the most prestigious awards handed out by the Corps of Engineers, the Great Lakes and Ohio Rivers Division National Water Safety Award.

"Thank you for coming today as we honor Trooper Island and the Kentucky State Police for the contributions they make to our community and for their concentration on water safety," Mitchell said at the start of the brief presentation ceremony. "Trooper Island Camp and the Kentucky State Police are outstanding partners, and that's what we've got here, is a partnership with the Corps."

Mitchell went on to note that as partners in the effort to stress water safety, he was especially proud to present the award to Camp Director Sutton and the staff at Trooper Island for the work that is being accomplished in teaching water safety to the young campers who stay there each camping season.

"Their dedication at promoting water safety at Dale Hollow Lake makes them more than deserving of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Water Safety Award," Mitchell said. "I can truly see the magnitude of great things that are being done here. That's a lot of kids and a lot of young people who are being molded and that's a great thing."

In accepting the award, Sutton also acknowledged the value of the partnership between Trooper Island Camp and the Corps of Engineers.

Kentucky State Police Trooper First Class Craig Sutton, left, toured several officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently, following a brief ceremony that saw Trooper Island being presented with the Corps' Great Lakes and Ohio River Division National Water Safety Award.  Included in the group is Lt. Col. Anthony Mitchell, Commander of the Corps of Engineers Nashville District, shown walking next to Sutton as the group looked at the cabins that are used to house the youngsters attending camp during the summer camping season.  Trooper Island Camp is located in the far south-western corner of Clinton County, on Dale Hollow Lake"What people don't often realize down here on this island and this lake, is there aren't that many of us down here, so we have to depend on each other - that's what it's all about," Sutton noted. "It's a great honor for us to receive something like this award, and we appreciated the partnership we have with the Corps and everything they do for us."

Sutton was joined during the presentation by Kentucky State Police Lt. Col. Brad Bates, Director of the KSP Technical Division.

Mitchell, who assumed command of the Nashville District in July of 2009, and was making his first visit to Trooper Island Camp, also expressed his thoughts concerning the concept of the camp that provides a free week-long camping experience to 10-12 year-old at risk youngsters from across Kentucky each summer.

"Looking at it from the standpoint of where there's no restrictions in regard to where these children come from, and what they are doing, it goes without saying in terms of being able to truly bringing the importance of water safety, in terms of working together and of course not looking at race, creed, color, whatever, but just forming good bonds and friendships across the way," Mitchell said.

He also made mention of the fact that a surprising number of the 10-12 year-old campers actually come back as adults to join the ranks of the Kentucky State Police.

"One of the benefits from this experience I understand is that a lot of these kids go forth and return later in life and look forward to being troopers and park rangers and other things, so we see these kids again, which is amazing to think we see them at such a young age, 10 and 12 years old, then 10 years later they're coming back and they can say that this right here is what started it all .

Camp Director Sutton also noted that during the summer camping months, rangers from the Celina Corps office are frequent visitors to Trooper Island, working closely with the campers each week

Dale Hollow Lake Resource Manager Stephen Beason also made mention of two Corps Rangers that were on hand for the presentation, Ranger Gregg Nevins and Ranger Bobby Bartlett for their work with Trooper Island Camp.

Beason pointed out that Ranger Bartlett spends a considerable amount of his summer time each week working with the youngsters attending Trooper Island.

"He gives a lot of his work for the youth and I appreciate his efforts and we appreciate the opportunity to partner with you guys," Beason said.

Sutton gave Mitchell and the Corps staff members a tour of the Trooper Island facilities, showing where the campers sleep, the wildlife classrooms, chapel and mess facilities.

Trooper Island Camp is located in the far southwestern corner of Clinton County, near the Clinton and Cumberland County boundary, on Dale Hollow Lake.

The camp provides a week-long summer camping experience, free of charge, to 65 boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 12 who likely would not otherwise be able to afford attending a summer camp.

During the week, in addition to water safety, the campers also are involved in wildlife study and a host of recreational and educational activities such as swimming, boating, canoeing, rifle safety and archery in addition to computer lab work.

Funding for Trooper Island is provided solely through donations and various fund raising efforts held each year.

This article & images were prepared by Alan Gibson of the Clinton County News

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