Virginia Living Museum presents Golden Paw award to Newport News Shipbuilding

The Virginia Living Museum in Newport News has presented its highest honor, the Golden Paw Award, to Newport News Shipbuilding to recognize the firm’s outstanding three-decade-long partnership with the museum.

“Newport News Shipbuilding has partnered with the VLM for over three decades, offering great leadership and support that has encouraged and enabled the museum to become a leader in science education and a treasured asset for the community,” said VLM President Dawn Hunt in presenting the award Sept. 20.

The shipyard has been a “very generous financial supporter with gifts to the Annual Fund and capital campaigns that helped us become a Living Museum, build our new building and retire the construction note through the Opportunity Fund,” said Hunt.

“They have shared their special talents for artistry, craftsmanship and engineering precision by creating a beautiful piece of unique artwork. It was the centerpiece of our last capital campaign, ‘Gateway to Nature.’

“And Newport News Shipbuilding has, over the years, provided us with extraordinary expertise on the Board of Trustees, many of whom have stayed with us and worked on the Board of Advisors. This executive leadership has guided our ‘ship’ through fair weather and stormy seas,” Hunt said.

Accepting the award for the shipyard was Ken Mahler, vice president, Navy Programs. “Speaking for all the leaders of Newport News Shipbuilding and Huntington Ingalls, we are very proud of our support for this museum and grateful for the awareness, outreach and education the museum provides that is so important to the well-being of our community,” Mahler said.

The award was presented during a reception Sept. 20 honoring museum supporters. The award is a bronze bobcat statue by Eastern Shore sculptor David Turner.

The museum began giving the Golden Paw Award in 1995 to recognize outstanding service and support of the museum. Past recipients are: Warwick Rotary Club, Junior League of Hampton Roads, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert V, Kelly, Sr. (deceased) and Herbert (Bert) V. Kelly, Jr., George R. Goodson, Jr., Harry H. Wason, Mary Sherwood Holt, Cynthia C. Andrews (deceased), James B. (Jake) Thomas, Jr., Dr. John Q.A. Mattern II, the Abbitt family, Ferguson Enterprises, Inc., the city of Newport News, Charlie and Mari Ann Banks, John R. Lawson II, Joseph R. Witt and the VLM Volunteers, and Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.

The Virginia Living Museum is a private non-profit museum and education center. It has been in operation since 1966 and is accredited by both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museum. It is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News.

For more information call 757-595-1900 or visit the web site at

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