The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

2006 Friends' Service Award Goes To George Skonberg
By Kay Parish
Posted: Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This week, the Friends of Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park presented their Drew Haskins, Jr., Memorial Service Award to George Skonberg, longtime director of The Chickamauga Chase road race. The Chase, Chattanooga Track Club’s oldest and largest running event, is staged annually at the Chickamauga Battlefield unit of the National Park, attracting thousands of runners, walkers and volunteers. Since 1998, the Friends have presented their Haskins award each year to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding devotion to the Park by sharing extraordinary personal time and talent to preserving it, promoting it or helping to educate the public about its significance.

Skonberg has, as a volunteer, directed The Chickamauga Chase eleven times since 1994. The race is a tradition at the Park on the first Saturday in April. Proceeds of The Chase have traditionally benefited Friends of the Park, as have several Volunteer Action Grants solicited by Skonberg from his employer, UBS Investments. The Friends recently used one of these to match a National Park Foundation challenge grant that is now underwriting the expansion of the Park’s Junior Ranger enrichment program for children of families visiting the Park casually. The expanded Junior Ranger program is slated to debut in November of 2006.

Proudly describing himself as a “Navy brat,” Skonberg was born in Hawaii to a career Naval officer father and a mother who was also a Navy veteran of World War II. He grew up in Kentucky, graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1974. Skonberg joined the Navy after graduation, was commissioned and served as a Navy pilot until 1983. While in the service, he earned a Masters of Science in Management. He began an investment career in Chattanooga in 1983 with J.C. Bradford & Company (now UBS), was named partner in 1994, and currently serves as senior VP and Certified Financial Planner.

“To stay in shape,” says Skonberg, “I took up running somewhere along the way. I finished a lot of races, and never won any of them.” Nevertheless Skonberg has completed 13 marathons and numerous triathlons. Past president of Chattanooga Track Club, he joined that group in 1994 by volunteering to direct The Chickamauga Chase. As of 2006 – the 38th running of The Chase -- he has directed the event eleven times and served on the Track Club Board more or less continuously since 1994. His involvement with The Chase also led him to a term on the board of Friends of the Park (2001-2004).
George is married to Leigh Skonberg. He has two daughters — Kate, 25, and Laura, 23 — and a 4 year-old son, Nick.

The Friends will officially present Skonberg with their Haskins Award at their post-‘Play For The Park‘ tournament dinner on Thursday, October 5, at the clubhouse of Battlefield Golf Course in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.

“I believe deeply in the Park and in the Friends,” says Skonberg. “I am committed to both continuing to be the focus of The Chase, monetarily and in terms of public awareness. The Park and the Friends richly deserve the honor and the support.”

The Friends’ Award of Merit was established in 1998 in memory of Drew Haskins, President and Founder of Capital Bank in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia; long-time member of the Friends; and lifelong supporter of Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. Past recipients include James Ogden, Park Historian; Mr. & Mrs. R.B. Davenport, Jr., long-time benefactors to the Friends and their programs; John Smartt, Lookout Mountain native and 50-year advocate for Lookout Mountain trails; Robin Rudd, award-winning Chattanooga Times Free Press photographer; Jack Steiner, Sr. of Ruby Falls, for his tireless work in promoting heritage tourism & the Park; Leonard Fant, 25-year Park Friend, volunteer & fundraiser; and Congressman Zach Wamp, for his extraordinary efforts toward the addition of Moccasin Bend to the Park.

 


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