Southeastern Regional Association of the National Speleological Society

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Francis McKinney Award

The Southeastern Regional Association (SERA) Francis McKinney Award is named in honor of Francis E. McKinney, whose enthusiasm for all aspects of caving was an inspiration for all who knew him. This award recognizes those SERA cavers who have made meritorious contributions to caving in the Southeast. The nominee will have been actively involved in several types of caving, be it mapping, horizontal, vertical, etc. for more than ten years and will have contributed to organized caving by holding grotto or regional office. It is hoped that this award will encourage the recipient toward further accomplishment and contribution.


The Criteria for the SERA Francis McKinney Award is as follows:

1. The Francis McKinney Award will be given to a caver with more than 10 years caving experience.

2. The nominee will be a sport caver, that is, caving is not a part of his or her professional life.

3. The nominee will be one who has contributed to organized caving by holding grotto or regional offices, given talks and led trips for scouts, etc.

4. The recipient will have been active in several types of caving including but not limited to: mapping, horizontal, vertical, history, conservation, photography etc.

5. The nominee will be one who has openly made their work available to the general caving population via published material. Examples of that material include grotto, regional, section or national publications, as well as other publications.

6. The nominee will be an NSS member in good standing.

7. The nominee will be a SERA caver.

Download nomination form.  PDF 

The Francis McKinney Award may be awarded on a merit basis at the annual SERA Winter Business meeting. It will consist of:

1. A $50.00 Cash award to the recipient. Funds for this award will come from SERA general funds or an account specifically set up for this award.

2. A Framed Certificate, which constitutes the Award itself.

3. A Plaque bearing the recipient's name shall be displayed in the NSS Office.

4. The recipient's name will be announced in the NSS News, and made available to regional, grotto and any other appropriate publications.


Past Francis McKinney Award Recipients:
Year Recipient
1977 Gerald Moni
1978 Lin Guy
1979 Dr. Cato Holler
1980 Steve Hudson
1981 Marion O. Smith
1982 Joel Sneed
1983 Buddy Lane
1984 Bill Varnadoe
1985 David Parr
1986 Jim Whidby
1987 Allen Padgett
1988 Frank Hutchison
1989 Bill Torode
1990 Richard Schreiber
1991 Larry E. Matthews
1992 Larry O. Blair
1993 Edward A. Strausser
1994 Mike Doughty
1995 Jack Thomison
1996 Laurie Adams
1997 Bill Walter
1998 Joel Buckner
1999 Wm Shrewsbury
2000 Kenneth Huffines
2001 Randall Blackwood
2002 Tom Moltz
Marbry Hardin 
2004 Don Lance
2005 Maureen Handler
2006 Keith Filson
2007 Ken Oeser
2008 Peter “Mudpuppy” Michaud
2009 Not Awarded
2010 Julie Schenck Brown
2011 Not Awarded
2012 Chuck Lindquist
2013 Jason Richards
2014 Cheryl Pratt
2015 Not Awarded
2016 Ben Miller
2017 Mike Rogers
2018 Chuck Sutherland
2019 Alan Cressler
2020 Nathaniel Mann
2021 Jeff Patton
2022 Jim Fox
2024 Bill DeVan

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