Paul Chod considers the C&O Canal National Historical Park both a personal and a community asset. He rides his bike along the towpath many days for exercise.
So when the park needs help, this Potomac resident is willing to pitch in.
Chod, his son Andy Chod, of Rockville, and their family business Minkoff Development Corporation received the William O. Douglas Award for Stewardship from the C&O Canal Trust at their Park After Dark fundraiser Sept. 28.
”They really were the go-to guys for both the Trust and the park whenever they needed help with stewardship activities: raising money, recruiting volunteers or donating services and supplies,” Mike Nardolilli, president of the C&O Canal Trust said. “They also have assisted us in getting the word out about the park and Trust.”
Among other projects, the Chods spearheaded a fix-up, clean-up activity at Pennyfield Lock, located along the canal at mile 19.3, about five miles north of Great Falls Park. They are also a sponsor of Canal Pride Day, which encourages volunteerism along the length of the 184-mile park.
“At Pennyfield Lock we cleaned up trash and installed a fence,” Paul Chod said. “It was very nice, we had people [helping] from our company and some of our contractors.”
Minkoff Development Corporation is a privately held real estate development corporation, according the their website. They specialize in industrial, flex and office properties in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
This was the third year the C&O Canal Trust, the official nonprofit partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, has presented the William O. Douglas Award. It is named in honor of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas who is credited with saving the canal and inspiring the effort to make it a national park in the early 1970s. Nardolilli made the presentation along with Kevin Brandt, superintendant of C&O Canal National Historical Park.
“It’s nice to be able to help them,” Paul Chod said. “The community enjoys that park and I can’t think of a better reason to help them.”
Park After Dark, the annual fundraiser of the C&O Canal Trust, provided guests with the rare opportunity to visit Historic Great Falls Tavern in Potomac after sundown. Almost 300 people enjoyed dinner and drinks, while celebrating the 75th anniversary of the purchase of the C&O Canal by the federal government.
An auction during the event raised more than $37,000 for the Canal Classrooms Education Program which provides for school field trips to the park for students to participate in curriculum based environmental activities.