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By Robert Goetz
502nd Air Base Wing
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE – An Air Force civilian employee who has worked here for years to preserve the base’s architectural heritage is the recipient of a prestigious national award.
Scott Shepherd of the 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron, the installation’s cultural resources manager, has earned the Secretary of the Interior Historic Preservation Award in the Federal Preservation Office category.
"As far as I'm concerned, I can't go any higher than this," said Shepherd, whose service here, in San Antonio, spans more than 20 years.
"Winning this award is unbelievable,” he continued, “but really it's for all the people who have supported historic preservation, from four-star generals to the workers who preserve these buildings."
Robert Rushing, the 902nd squadron’s management flight chief, said Shepherd "has been responsible for the preservation of this invaluable cultural treasure and he has done so with vigor and a call to duty beyond the description of his job."
Richard Trevino, the unit’s commander, said Shepherd has performed "at the highest level" throughout his more than 50 years of federal service.
"By working with Scott, one can easily see his integrity, dedication and professionalism in every aspect of his life," Trevino said. "As our cultural resources manager, he preserves the historical features of Randolph Air Force Base while ensuring no adverse impact to the many diverse missions on base.
“When one looks at the historical beauty and significance of Randolph, there is no doubt Scott deserves this prestigious award," Trevino added.
Shepherd became the cultural resources manager here in 1993, the same year the Texas Historical Commission listed the base among the state's 10 most endangered historic properties. Since then, the 80-year-old "Showplace of the Air Force," known for its Spanish colonial revival-style architecture, has been designated a national historic landmark.
"I'm proud we have 435 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, and we are a national historic landmark," Shepherd said. "That will ensure we protect our historic buildings for the future."
Shepherd was instrumental in obtaining funding and approval to remove paint and restore the high, bay windows on 16 hangars along the east and west flight lines, restoring them to their original condition.
"Adaptive reuse" is a key component of preservation efforts, he said.
"[By] using hangars and other structures as administrative offices, we're still able to maintain the historical significance of buildings, have a functional Air Force base and not affect the mission," he said. "These are historic buildings we can use in the 21st century."
Shepherd said it's the secretary of the interior's guidelines "that tell us what we can and can't to do to these buildings."
This year's Secretary of the Interior Historic Preservation Award recipients also include government and tribal employees in three other categories.
"In presenting these awards, I am giving thanks on behalf of all Americans to these extraordinary professionals for their outstanding contributions to historic preservation," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. "Their skill, dedication and professionalism are ensuring that the story of America continues to be passed down to future generations."