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The Limestone Award

From time-to-time, the BCCS awards its highest recognition, The Limestone Award, to a BCCS Member or Friend for their Dedication to Advancing the Society's Mission. More specifically, this can be Outstanding Service to the Society or Extraordinary Contributions to Speleology.

Limestone Award


Nevin C. and Thelma Davis, October 22, 1983
Nevin W. Davis, October 4, 2003
Keith Wheeland, October 8, 2005
Phil Lucas, October 6, 2007
Eddie Webb, October 6, 2012


Nevin C. and Thelma Davis, October 22, 1983

At the Annual Membership Meeting of BCCS in October 1983, Ann Marks made a surprise presentation to Thelma and Nevin Davis.

The award was engraved with the following:
The Prestigious Limestone Award
To: Thelma and Nevin C. Davis
For: Outstanding Service to the Caving Community
B. C. C. S. Annual Meeting, October, 1983

In her presentation speech, Ann stated that it was un-American to have a voluntary organization without awards. Then she went on to explain why Thelma and Nevin were deserving of the award. How they pumped gasoline at one o'clock in the morning in their pajamas; sold and served food to starving cavers at all hours; provided a sympathetic and understanding ear to the tales of new passage discovered (when it all sounded very familiar); provided hotel accomodations when the others in Williamsville were booked solid; offered equipment and cave maps together, which meant they may never see them again; and, gave an incalculable amount of directions (most of which were correct).

In a letter to Keith Wheeland, Nevin wrote, "The award to Thelma and I was unexpected and appreciated. It hangs where we can see it every day. It was one of the nicest things to happen to us."

Nevin C and Thelma Davis

Thelma and Nevin C. Davis. Photo Credit Keith Wheeland.


Nevin W. Davis, October 4, 2003

The Limestone Award was presented to Nevin W. Davis to honor his lifetime of service and exemplary and extraordinary contributions to speleology.

Nevin W. Davis receiving the Limestone Award.
Photo of Nevin W. Davis receiving the award from President Gregg Clemmer. Photo credit John Wilson.


Keith Wheeland, October 8, 2005

The Limestone Award was presented to Keith Wheeland to honor his outstanding service to the Society, including 20 years as a director and 19 years as the newsletter editor. Gregg Clemmer composed the following poem and recited it at the award presentation:

Our recipient is a quiet guy
For he never stirs up a fuss.
He's a dedicated member
(And our Emeritus Editor)
And endures as a treasure to us.

A consummate gentleman
Wielding a diplomat's tact,
He lobbied with skill
And a "can do" will
For the Pennsylvania Landowners' Liability Act.

For Hosterman's Pit he fought the fight,
But found he could not save
This Keystone wonder,
And yet down under,
His names marks part of Butler Cave.

Hard core you ask?
You bet! says I.
With hardly a blink
He plumbed new Spider Sink
Through its 9 inch throat. OH MY!

He maintains his state's Cave Data Base
For nearly a quarter century now,
And with leadership in the MAR
And expeditions to the far off DR
__It's time for him to take a bow!

So we give our Limestone Awardee this year
A generous and deserved spiel and hand.
You know him as Gus
So finally, let's make a fuss
And salute our own Keith Wheeland!


Phil Lucas, October 6, 2007

The Limestone Award was presented to Phil Lucas for his outstanding achievements and service to the caving community. Gregg Clemmer composed the following poem and recited it at the award presentation:

Come near my children
And you shall hear
Of a caver renown—
That point is clear.

For he’s caved half a century
In the dark, dank, and deep,
Pushed crawlways and cracks
Where others feared to creep.

“Course streams and sumps
Are this Water Dog’s lair,
He’d breathe bubbles off the ceiling
If he thought virgin was in there.

Oh, and he loves to dig,
“Specially if the spot looks right.
‘Member that hole about his Water Sinks
We know as Helectite?

And if a rock needs persuading
He knows just the way.
Drill, load and pack
Then let a spark have its say.

When he finds big cave
He charts it all,
Giving us an Unthank’s or a Russell’s
Or something special like Culverson’s Maw.

His photos win the ribbons
And he’s a Bicking of the NSS
But he’s best known to cavers
As the essence of the VSS.

I can go on and on here
With this man’s accolades.
The karst discoveries, the stygian epics…
He’s got ‘em in spades.

But this Society’s Limestone Award
Is a salute that has not come his way.
That changes now,
On this beautiful October day.

So congratulate our recipient
Who in August did sorely spook us.
But now he’s robust and raring…
Stand up, Phil Lucas!

Phil Lucas

Photo of Phil Lucas. Photographer unknown.




Eddie Webb, October 6, 2012

The Limestone Award was presented to Eddie Webb to recognize his exemplary and continued support of our endeavors.

Eddie Webb

Photo of Eddie Web. Photo by Phil Lucas.