"Full Duty Award," April 2000
Floyd Blodgett, Sr. pictured in uniform at the left, was awarded the year 2000 Full Duty Award in Montpelier on April 15, 2000. On Floyd's left is his wife Louise and on her left is Jim Proctor, Vermont Commander Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. The picture was taken in Tunbridge, Vermont on October 2, 1999 during the 18th Vermont Regiment, "A Day of the Civil War History." Floyd is pictured accessing computer information regarding Vermont ancestors who served in the Civil War.
The following background information regarding Comrade Blodgett is provided by Thomas P. McKenna, Past Department of Vermont Commander, Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War.
Floyd Blodgett joined the SUVCW thirty years ago. He was commander of SUVCW Camp #1, which was a state-wide camp, and then served in the H. E. K. Hall Camp as junior vice commander and commander. Over the years he has served a total of 14 one-year terms as department commander. In this position he was the highest SUVCW officer in the state, which made him responsible for supervising all the organization's activities state-wide and required him to represent the organization in every way in dealing with the public and other organizations. He is also a member of and a recruiter for the Sons of Union Veterans Reserve.
By the summer of 1995 the SUVCW membership had been reduced through deaths and the age and incapacity of older members to the point that only five members attended the department encampment that year. Commander Blodgett launched an aggressive recruiting campaign with publicity and public meetings. He developed a large display which told about both the SUVCW and the GAR and set it up at public meetings. The main method he used to gain public attention, increase awareness of the Civil War, and obtain new members was a computer printout about Vermont Civil War soldiers.
Floyd Blodgett entered the battle record of every Vermont regiment in his computer and devised a program that could use that information plus data from Peck's register to print out a "Certificate of Service" with the Civil War service record of any man who served in a Vermont unit. He has produced certificates for veteran's descendants at almost 20 public meetings around the state, including three times at Civil War "Farmers' Night" programs in the State House and at a genealogy workshop attended by over 70 people. At each meeting 20-60 certificates were presented. This effort not only produced dozens and dozens of membership applications for SUVCW but also drew attention to the Civil War and increased awareness of Vermont's contribution.
As a result of his efforts, two new SUVCW camps were formed, total membership surged to over 100, and the Vermont Department won the national SUVCW General U.S. Grant award for having a larger increase in membership than any other department in the nation.
The large increase in SUVCW membership was a major accomplishment but his public activities and the Civil War "Certificates of Service" produced at public meetings also generated a lot of positive publicity, increased Vermonters' interest in the Civil War and thus benefited all Civil War related organizations.
He invited and encouraged the SUVCW Auxiliary and the Women's Relief Corps to hold joint annual meetings in conjunction with the SUVCW encampments. This produced much greater attendance at all those annual meetings. Commander Blodgett also initiated a grave site ceremony as part of the annual encampments so all the attending organizations could participate in a memorial ceremony at a Civil War grave site.
He spearheaded Vermont's participation in a national SUVCW project to record the graves of every Civil War veteran on a national computer database. After securing the use of two borrowed computers and coordinating with the Vermont Adjutant General to obtain access to their records, he recruited volunteers from the SUVCW, the Auxiliary to the SUVCW, and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. He even obtained two small grants to partially offset the travel costs of the volunteers who drove to Montpelier to key in the records at the adjutant general's office. As a result of this project, around 18,000 names of Vermont Civil War veterans are now in a computerized data base. Work continues on this project to consolidate and clean up the data and load it onto two internet web sites.
Since stepping down as department commander last year, Floyd Blodgett has again been elected commander of the H. E. K. Hall Camp in Chelsea and continues to contribute in that position and in attending public events to produce the Civil War "Certificates of Service."
Floyd Blodgett deserved the year 2000 Full Duty Award because he has performed significant service for the Civil War community through contributing so much of his time and effort for so many years toward the goal of increasing interest in the Civil War and the history of the men who served in it.
Previous Full Duty Award recipients include U.S. Senator James Jeffords, Vermont Civil War author Howard Coffin and The Vermont Civil War Hemlocks.