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Volunteer works long hours to make sure local waters stay clean and healthy

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NORFOLK, Va. - We caught up with our award winner, who was counting oysters on a boat in the Lafayette River in Norfolk.

“To me the best time of the day is first thing in the morning watching the sunrise; it's just so quiet out there," said Newport News native John Wood.

John loves working on the waters he grew up on: The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

He’s part of a small team from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that helps replenish local waters with oysters. They also educate the public on how important the filter fish are to keeping the water clean and economically viable.

“I want it to be here for future generations, and it’s a great way to give back," he said.

And he's giving back in a big way.  As a volunteer, this retired UPS worker has clocked in 40 hours a week for the past four years.

“He knows just as much about oysters as we do,” says Oyster Restoration project director Heather Lockwood.

This group says John has been invaluable to them and the work they’re doing.

“He’s somebody that we call if we need him for anything, whether it's boat maintenance or picking up a shell bin, which is smelly and dirty," Lockwood said. "He’s there all the time; we can depend on him."

And that’s why he deserves to be recognized, which is why News 3 presented him with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

Holding back tears, John got a little emotional.

“To have my dad here, it's….it's… thank you so much. I’m glad I got sunglasses on, that’s all I gotta say," John joked. “It’s a great bunch of people to work with. I’ve met the nicest people doing this.”

And the appreciation goes both ways.

“Having one John Wood is like having is 1000 percent better than what we could do on a daily basis," Lockwood said.

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