One half mile to the west of this plaque, the gap in South Mountain, the Appalachian Trail footbridge, and I-70 symbolically form the Bill Pate Portal to the Appalachian region—a region where a people and their governments joined in a national program to reclaim a long and rich heritage through economic revitalization and human development.
On July 30, 1981, Governor Harry Hughes dedicated this portal to Bill Pate.
The vision for revitalization of the region and the humanitarian concerns of Bill Pate led Governor of Maryland J. Millard Tawes, to call the first conference of Appalachian Governors in 1960. As a result of this meeting, the late President John F. Kennedy established the President's Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) at the request of Vice President Lyndon Johnson.
Bill Pate was an active participant in this thirteen-state program serving first as Maryland's alternate representative to the Commission and in 1971 was named the Maryland representative to ARC. He continued in that capacity until his death on May 1, 1979.
As he served the people in Maryland, he served all the people of Appalachia. It is to the honor of this public servant and humanitarian—Bill Pate—that this portal is dedicated.
Bill Pate (1918-1979).