Volunteer of the Year


Kent Greenman (left) with PHMC Executive Director, Andrea Lowery, and Commission Members Fred Powell and William Lewis.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

2017 Volunteers of the Year

43nd Annual Recognition at the

Pennsylvania State Museum

Harrisburg, PA

The PHMC was formed to play a key role in stewardship of the commonwealth’s historical resources. Since its beginning a century ago, the commission has depended on citizen volunteers to work in partnership with our dedicated paid staff to carry out preservation and interpretation programs of the agency. Every year the commission takes time to recognize the honorees selected as “Volunteer of the Year” by the various sites they serve in order to thank them for their efforts in service to history and to the state. Thanks to their work and dedication, we have been able to preserve the historical resources of these special places that tell Pennsylvania’s story for the citizens of and visitors to our commonwealth.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Congratulates

the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Associates

Volunteer of the Year: Kent Greenman

Kenton Greenman is one of the many members of the Greenman family who volunteer at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum to keep its historic steam-powered circular sawmill exhibit running smoothly. Kent and his father and brothers control and care-for the Cleaver-Brooks boiler that supplies the steam power to run the mill. They also calibrate, operate and maintain the historic Frick and Erie steam engines in the lower level of the mill that drive the head saw and other equipment above. Kent will also sometimes help-out upstairs, operating the jack ladder, edger saw and cut-off saw. The museum operates its sawmill three times a year: in April and October at the site’s Antique & Collectible Shows, and during Bark Peelers’ Festival- the museums’ signature event, always held over July 4th weekend.

Kent has actively volunteered at the museum with his family since 1997, and has been attending Bark Peelers’ Festival for most of his life. His father, Robert “Bob” Greenman, has volunteered at the museum for over 30 years. Kent has a busy volunteer schedule as he also helps to manage the facilities at his hometown day-care center and works in the food pantry of his church. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and three children, which means he has a 6-hour journey each way every time he volunteers at the museum. Fortunately, his family owns property in Potter County, giving Kent an extra incentive to visit the area. Kent is an aerospace engineer with Pratt & Whitney United Technologies, working on engine dynamics (“anything that spins”) as his day-job. His love of mechanics is one reason why he enjoys volunteering in the museum sawmill; he is also very interested in lumber history and modern forest management. Kent enjoys talking and interacting with museum visitors, providing them with a wealth of information about the mechanics of the mill.

Looking back on his 20-years of volunteering at the museum, Kent is grateful for the mentorship that other volunteers like Lester Jordan and Karl Altenhein have provided. He hopes to continue working in the museum sawmill (where he says his “heart” is) for many years to come, and hopes to uphold his family’s tradition by bringing his children on to the mill crew someday. His daughter has already followed in his footsteps to a certain extent by becoming a civil engineer, so with Kent’s guidance and attention she will surely be an excellent addition to the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum volunteer force. All of the staff and volunteers at the museum are very grateful for all of Kent’s amazing service over the years, and look forward to seeing him, with wrench in-hand, working on the equipment he loves. Thank you, Kent!

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission awards the annual title of ‘Volunteer of the Year’ to one individual at each of the 23 historic sites and museums it administers across the Commonwealth. These places thrive with the help of their volunteers, ordinary people who contribute thousands of hours of time that translates to hundreds of thousands of dollars of resources for these sites. Thank you to everyone who volunteers with the PA Lumber Museum; without you, the site would not be the vibrant and active place it is today!

PHMC Outstanding Service Award

The Outstanding Service Award is meant to recognize and honor exceptional, long-term contributions by an individual who has given unselfishly of his or her time and talents for the advancement of a PHMC site or museum. Emphasis should be placed on providing special recognition to individuals who, over a number of years, exemplified best practices in the field of museums and public history, supported the mission and goals of a PHMC site or museum and/or provided a long-term benefit to the institution or organization.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum is pleased

to recognize Bob Greenman as one of the

 PHMC Outstanding Service Award Winners for 2017!

Bob Greenman (center-left) with PHMC Executive Director, Andrea Lowery, and Commission Members Fred Powell and William Lewis.

Robert “Bob” Greenman has been volunteering at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum since 1986; running and maintaining their steam-powered sawmill. Bob’s first visit to the museum was during a trip with his father to a plot of forest land owned by the family located near Hebron, just outside of Coudersport, PA. After that initial visit Bob would often return and find himself watching the sawmill in action, particularly the steam engines that power it. As a mechanical engineer, this was a natural fascination for him. At some point, the “engine guy” at the time, Lester Jordan, invited him in to take a closer look. The rest is history. Soon Bob was assisting Lester on a regular basis and then encouraged his son Nathaniel to join him, followed by his other son, Kent, in 1996. Bob & his sons learned how to run & maintain the steam engines and associated sawmill equipment, which allowed Lester to focus on other restoration projects. Over the years, Bob has also been involved in other projects at the museum, including the procurement of a Model T, restoration of the band saw log carriage, and a long-term closed circuit video project designed to enhance the visitor experience at the sawmill. A strong supporter of the museum, he always shares his enthusiasm with people he meets and lets them know that they really must visit the museum themselves and experience the history on display there.

Bob lives near Albany, NY, and has volunteered for countless organizations over the years. A driving force of Bob’s volunteerism is a passion to promote organizations that focus on education. When Bob picks a group to be involved with, it usually becomes a long-term commitment.

That educational focus drives Bob to teach a course called “55 Alive;” a New York State driver’s education program helping people age 55 and older refresh their driving skills through classroom training. Previously, he served as statewide coordinator for the program. He has volunteered in the public school system for 25 years as a Junior Achievement Mentor. Bob enjoys taking school groups through the nature area of the Five Rivers Education Center, teaching them about everything from trees to pond scum. He is a Cornell University-certified Master Forest Owner, and enjoys “Woods Walks” with landowners to discuss options for sustainable forestry and the legacy of family land plots. The lumber museum’s mission regarding lumber history and forest management has certainly complimented Bob’s efforts to preserve and maintain his own family forest land on Greenman Hill in Potter County.

Since the mid 1950’s Bob has been a supporter & volunteer within the Boy Scouts of America. He has volunteered at the troop level, teaching merit badges up through council positions, and currently serves on the Eagle Scout board of review. He also works to ensure Boy Scout camp facilities meet safety & program requirements. Bob has earned scouting’s highest honor, the Baden Powell award.

Bob puts his financial expertise to use by serving as treasurer for a local nursing home, an engineering society, a state environmental education support organization called “Friends of Five Rivers,” and The Veterans Scout Association. He previously served as his church’s financial secretary and is currently their treasurer.

The New York State Museum in Albany also benefits from Bob’s service. On Saturday, two times a month you’ll find Bob’s friendly presence at the front desk helping museum patrons find their way to interesting exhibits. His strong desire to help others succeed led him to Albany’s chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). This federal organization supports new business owners, helping them to formulate and execute their business plans to ensure success.

Perhaps the volunteer activity that his son’s most enjoying teasing him about is his weekly town Senior Van driving job. He frequently jokes that he has to drive the old geezer mobile, to which we reply, “so at 87 what does that make you!!” Ha!!