Former State Senator Si Galperin will receive the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition's Laura Forman Passion for Justice Award.

Galperin, a Charleston resident, will receive the award during the group's 7:30 p.m. benefit concert on October 23.

The event will feature Walkin' Jim Stoltz at the LaBelle Theatre, 311 D. St. South Charleston.

During the 1970's, Galperin led efforts to ban strip mining in West Virginia. He is currently a member of Common Cause, West Virginia, which is working with OVEC and the Citizens for Clean Elections to pass state campaign finance reform law.

Galperin is leading efforts to establish Fair and Clean Elections legislation. The legislation would allow qualified candidates, who voluntarily choose to adhere to strict spending limits, limit campaign spending and take no contributions from private sources, to receive funding from a public election fund.

Similar laws are already working well in Maine and Arizona. They have helped reduce the influence of special interest contributors, allowed more women and people of color to run for office, increased voter turn-out and resulted in legislation that benefited the general public--not just wealthy contributors.

"Si has dedicated his life to protecting the people and the land of West Virginia," said Janet Fout, OVEC's co-director. "We are so excited to be honoring him with OVEC's very special award."

Forman, for whom Galperin's award is named, was OVEC's organizer from 1993-2001. On December 10, 2001, the 39-year-old collapsed and died at an event that she had organized to protest the US Army Corps of Engineers' rubber-stamping of mountaintop removal permits.

The corps has already permitted the destruction and degradation of more than 1200 miles of West Virginia streams.

In addition to the award ceremony, the benefit concert will feature one of America's most unique folksingers and back-country travelers, Walkin' Jim Stoltz.

His moving multi-media show, "Forever Wild," uses photography, stories, and music to take the audience on an inspiring journey into our nation's last wilderness areas.

The suggested donation for concert tickets is $10. Tickets will be available at the door and in advance by calling 304-522-0246. The concert is a fundraiser for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, for its Stop Mountaintop Removal campaign.