Maritime Museum Salutes Volunteers – Richard Bush Named 2018 Volunteer of the Year

OSWEGO – It certainly takes a “village” of volunteers to keep the H. Lee White Maritime Museum active and running throughout the year and this past November, the museum recognized the more than 100 volunteers that dedicated 3,200 hours to make the museum a success in 2018.

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Richard Bush receives the H. Lee White Maritime Museum’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year award from Mercedes Niess, the museum’s executive director.

These groups and individuals usually put in their time on projects and events both large and small and bring their expertise and enthusiasm to everything they do to accomplish jobs that could not have been done without them.

Some of these tasks are painting, cleaning, construction, planting flowers, serving as tour guides, greeting visitors from all over the world and even taking out the trash.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a very dedicate team of volunteers with a passion for maritime history and the waterfront. Their dedication is what makes it possible for the Museum to exist, and care for the Oswego Lighthouse and also nationally significant vessels such as the World War II Tugboat LT-5, Eleanor D and Derrick Boat 8. It is my honor to recognize them individually at all levels and to thank them for their commitment to this community. Our volunteers elevate our programs, events and the visitor experience in all ways. We are honored to celebrate them every November,” said Mercedes Niess, the museum’s executive director.

“With our summer Lighthouse boat tours and continued restoration along with adding a new event, Oswego Paddlefest, we relied on our many experienced volunteers as well as new volunteers to make these activities a success,” she added.

One of our most exciting aspects of this annual event, which honors all types of volunteering at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum, is the selection of the Volunteer of the Year.

This year, long standing volunteer Richard Bush, from the town of Oswego, was named 2018 Volunteer of the Year for his dedication, program activities and efforts at both the museum and the J. Richard Pfund Boating Center.

He is a technology professor at SUNY Oswego and has dedicated many hours to caring for our Boating Center, teaching the Family Boat Building program for more than 13 years, working with our curator to build exhibits both at the museum and for the New York State Fair.

For more than 14 years, he has maintained the boating center building and grounds, recruited SUNY Oswego students to assist with dock work, helped numerous families realize their dream of building a boat and has maintained our facilities on the historic west pier.

He has worked most every large scale event including the Festival of Ships in 2017, where he greeted many of the 8,000 visitors during the three-day event.

“I’m interested in history and boats in particular. I enjoy being part of a team and doing my part to improve our city. It’s fun to see how my talents can be combined with others’ to make something great, keep our history alive, and have a positive impact on the community in which I live.” volunteer extraordinaire Bush said.

“We are so please to recognize Rich this year and that he has chosen to volunteer with our organization. He also serves on numerous committees and just completed his time on the board last year,” Christine Gray, president of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum Board of Trustees, said.

Also recognized were students from SUNY Oswego and Cayuga Community College along with local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops.

Other groups and individuals were honored among them was Assemblyman William Barclay who secured initial funding for the Oswego Lighthouse renovation and Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow for securing additional funding for painting the exterior of the lighthouse.

Jake Mulcahey was also recognized for his community contribution as founder of Oswego Paddlefest.

2017’s Youth Volunteer of the Year, Jarod Sawyer arrived in full USCG dress uniform to attend the event.

Volunteering builds confidence in our young volunteers and keeps our seniors engaged in our community.

The museum’s newest event, Oswego Paddlefest, held in August, brought a new team of volunteers to give individual kayakers and families the chance to paddle along the Oswego Canal – River.

Those interested in volunteering for the summer season may call the museum at 315-342-0480 or visit to complete a volunteer form.

About the H. Lee White Maritime Museum

The H. Lee White Maritime Museum on Lake Ontario is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the maritime heritage of Lake Ontario, the Oswego Harbor and the Oswego River/New York State Canal System.