For release:  April 16, 2003                                                      Contact:  Elaine Sevy, 202/208-6843


Interior Secretary Norton Recognizes NPS Volunteer Anastacia Hernando

During “Take Pride in America” Program


Anastacia Hernando of Massachusetts received special recognition today from Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton as she unveiled the new and revitalized “Take Pride in America” Campaign at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. 


For 18 years, Anastacia or “Annie” as she is known to National Park Service staff, volunteered more than 17,000 hours at Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Massachusetts, keeping the building interiors and outside exhibits clean, and the outside areas free of debris.


Anastacia came to the United States from her native Philippines in 1983. Her oldest son Ben and daughter Concepcion had immigrated to this country ten years earlier, and had been urging their mother to join them. Anastacia was reluctant to leave the Philippines due to her late husband's failing health.


Shortly after arriving in this country, Anastacia became a volunteer at Salem Maritime through the local AARP Community Services Program.  She was determined to become a volunteer and wanted the job of cleaning the Custom House and other park property so much, that she dyed her already cropped silver hair, jet black, and climbed up on the window ledge to prove she could handle any job.


She also was so excited to finally be in the United States that within six years, at the age of 68, she became a U.S. citizen. Anastacia worked very hard learning U.S. history with the help of her tutor, NPS interpreter Sheila Cooke-Kayser and other NPS staff.


Anastacia continued to work 20 hours per week until 2002 when eye surgery required her to take a short "leave of absence.” Now well into her 80's, Anastacia is anxious to return to work at Salem Maritime.


“We have a patriotic ‘army’ of volunteers, who work to protect our great system of refuges, parks, forests, and historic and cultural sites. These areas would not enjoy the great success they do without the abiding love and commitment of the American people,” Secretary Norton said.  “President Bush and I call upon all Americans to renew their kinship to this great and beautiful land, and the best demonstration of that is volunteer service to help protect and safeguard our national treasures.”


Modeled after the highly visible and successful national cleanup endeavor initiated by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, the new Take Pride In America campaign will become part of President George W. Bush’s Freedom Corps.


With the announcement of the new Take Pride In America program, the Interior Department launched a special Take Pride web site -- – that outlines program goals and offers ideas and suggestion for citizen, group and corporate involvement.  Interior will serve as the lead federal department and will enlist the cooperation and commitment of all agencies in the federal government.


The NPS, an Interior Department agency, manages the National Park System, which comprises 388 areas covering more than 84 million acres, for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.  Through a variety of programs, the NPS cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resources conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.


Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Massachusetts, includes 18th and 19th-century wharves, the Custom House, the bonded warehouse, the West India Goods Store, the 17th-century Narbonne-Hale house, and the home of 18th –century merchant E. H. Derby, recalling the time when Salem traded in the East Indies and throughout the world.