During the annual gathering of its members in Lexington this week, American Battlefield Trust president James Lighthizer recognized four outstanding battlefield preservation advocates with the organization’s preservation awards, and one award went to Franklin resident Robert Hicks.
Hicks received the Edwin C. Bearss Lifetime Achievement Award. As a New York Times bestselling author, Hicks’ novels have brought national attention to the Franklin community and the cause of battlefield preservation. With the future of the Franklin battlefield in the balance, Hicks re-enlivened the community’s spirit of preservation in 2005 through co-founding Franklin’s Charge — a broad-based coalition dedicated to recapturing Franklin’s Civil War legacy — and has helped the Trust reclaim and restore nearly 200 acres of hallowed ground to date.
The Trust is privileged to work side-by-side with Hicks and others in Franklin inspired by his passion on what the National Park Service has called “the largest battlefield reclamation in North American history.” The award is named after renowned historian and preservationist Edwin C. Bearss, who was its first recipient in 2001 and again received the award in 2018 for his dedication to battlefield preservation and Civil War history.
During the event, two other awards were given-Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award was given to Joni House, manager of Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site and the State Leadership Award was given to two state entities that have made lasting contributions to the cause of battlefield preservation in Kentucky. First,the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund (KHLCF) and Kentucky State Parks.
The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 50,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War, including 2,856 acres in Kentucky and 3,516 acres in Tennessee. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.