Lewiston's volunteer director for the War of 1812 bicentennial, Lee Simonson, has been awarded the "Spirit of 1812" medal by the United States Daughters of 1812. The distinguished award is the highest national honor bestowed by the volunteer women's service organization, which is dedicated to promoting patriotism and preserving and increasing knowledge of the history of the American people.
Pictured with Simonson is Jan Johnpier, the president of the New York state society, who submitted the nomination to the national society and presented the award on behalf of the 4,000-member organization. In attendance was President National Virginia Louise Apyar of Maryland, New York City Chapter President Anne Farley, and Jeanette Brooks, Niagara chapter president. Bruce Sutherland, volunteer president of the Historical Association of Lewiston, also participated.
Simonson has led Lewiston's volunteer efforts to educate the general public about the area's role in the War of 1812 (Lewiston was on the front lines of the battle between the U.S. and Great Britain). Hundreds of local volunteers have been involved in several events, including the Battle of Queenston Heights re-enactment, Flames Though Lewiston, and the forthcoming dedication of the Tuscarora Heroes Monument, which will be unveiled on Dec. 19.
The monument, the largest 1812 bicentennial monument project in the nation, will be a tribute to the Tuscarora natives, which saved the lives of dozens of Lewiston residents during the British attack on Lewiston during the war.