Hawk Mountain bestows its highest honor on Jack Holcomb

'He simply made the sanctuary a better place'

ALBANY TWP., Pa. - Hawk Mountain Sanctuary has recognized longtime WEEU radio host Jack Holcomb with its prestigious Warden Award for his decades of dedication to the organization as a volunteer and board member.

The award, a replica of the badge worn by the sanctuary's first warden, Maurice Broun, is recognized as the organization's highest honor.

Holcomb served as a volunteer at the sanctuary for more than 40 years, filling a number of roles either behind the bookstore counter or at the trail entrance, before retiring in 2016.

"Jack defined the meaning of 'keeper of the gate' at Hawk Mountain, welcoming all visitors and members with a big smile, sharing his natural history knowledge, and making everyone feel special. Many people visited on Mondays over the years just to see him," said Dr. Laurie Goodrich, the director of long-term monitoring at Hawk Mountain.

Holcomb has also dedicated his time to the Baird Ornithological Club of Reading, serving as president a few times. He was also awarded the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology Earl Poole Award in 2008 for his contributions to the birding community in Pennsylvania and his efforts to educate the public about birds.

As for his professional life, Holcomb recently celebrated 60 years on the air at WEEU 830 AM in Reading, where he continues to host his "Jack's Backyard" call-in program every Saturday morning.

"I grew up listing to Jack on the radio. Being able to call him a friend is an honor," said Mary-Therese Grob, the bookstore manager. "Jack's dedication, service, and love of the sanctuary and its visitors has been woven into the mountain's amazing legacy. He will forever be a part of Hawk Mountain."

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