Gettysburg Connection regularly presents its Outstanding Community Contributor award to community members who have who made outstanding contributions to the people of Adams County. Click here to see all the awardees. Please contact us if you know someone deserving of this award.

Doug Stephens wins Outstanding Community Contributor Award

Gettysburg Connection is proud to announce that Doug Stephens has won its Outstanding Community Contributor Award.

Stephens was nominated by Darah Gardner-Hickman for his “continued behind-the scenes community support that creates activities that further the community.”

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Gardner-Hickman said Stephens had contributed in many areas and at many levels, from his work with wounded veterans to sponsoring the Gettysburg Police Mounted Unit to organizing a community Christmas event during COVID.

Stephens owns Gettysburg Horse Tours with his wife Rachel.

“The Gettysburg Police Mounted Unit exists because of Doug’s passion,” said Gettysburg Police Chief Robert Glenny. “I will be forever grateful. They provide everything.  He wants to do everything he can for the community.”

Stephens thanked Gettysburg Police Officer Dennis Pennese for his role in creating the mounted unit, which uses horses and services provided to the borough by Stephens free of charge. Mounted officers are used in Gettysburg during parades and ceremonial events.

Stephens said the unit had recently received non-profit status and was expanding into other parts of the county where it will likely be used for other purposes including search and rescue missions.

“We believe we have a unique opportunity not just to serve Gettysburg but other regions around here as well,” said Stephens.

“As a wounded combat veteran and a lifelong horse owner, Doug is no stranger to the amazing therapeutic and rehabilitative aspects that horses have, said Gardner-Hickman.  “He saw an opportunity to bring that to a community policing project within the borough. The idea is to have the police be more approachable to every member of the community, helping change the negative associations people tend to carry about law enforcement into positive perceptions.”

“Doug doesn’t want or care for any credit. Watching things that he has been a part of come to life and involve the whole community is what he thrives on,” said Gardner-Hickman.

Doug is full of “never-ending optimism. He brings the community opportunities to either showcase the talents that they hold or improve their lives.  Doug is always thinking, connecting people to things that other people just don’t see or think about.”

Stephens held a long and distinguished military career and is retired as Master Sergeant Army/Air Force Medivac.

“I cannot think of a conversation that I have had with Doug that did not leave a lesson or a chance to learn something. There’s knowledge in them,” said Gardner-Hickman.

“Doug’s mantra is to ‘do the right thing even when no one is looking’,” she said.

Featured image caption: Stephens and Adler.

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