2012-04-26 / Front Page

Leese Is Historian Of The Year

Benefit dinner, auction to be held as jailhouse fundraiser
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER


Fulton County Historical Society President Dick Miller, left, bestows the annual Historian of the Year Award on McConnellsburg resident Gene Leese Thursday evening at the Hustontown Firehall. Fulton County Historical Society President Dick Miller, left, bestows the annual Historian of the Year Award on McConnellsburg resident Gene Leese Thursday evening at the Hustontown Firehall. The Fulton County Historical Society made quick work of its meeting agenda Thursday night, but it was with a great amount of fanfare that McConnellsburg area resident Gene Leese was presented the illustrious Historian of Year Award.

Leese, according to presenters Dick Miller and Glenn Cordell, serves not only on the society’s active Board of Directors but has also been longtime treasurer. In addition, Leese has been instrumental for many years in the layout and formatting of the society’s historical books that are available for purchase.

Cordell referred to Leese and his wife, Barb, as “indispensable” for the roles they play within the society, whether it be proofreading or annual layout duties.

“I don’t know where the society would be if we didn’t have Gene. He always says ‘I enjoy doing it. I don’t need any award.’ So this time, we didn’t tell him,” said Cordell of the announcement that took Leese by surprise. “ ... If he ever stops doing this (the layout) I’m afraid your books are going to be finished.”

“You can’t give Gene enough credit. He’s never taken one dollar for all of his volunteer work,” he concluded.

Dick Miller, who is wrapping up his sixth year as president, surprised the audience and fellow members that numbered more than 100 with a newly-created President’s Award. Miller noted the expense of having the special plaques created came out of his own pocket.

In presenting the President’s Award to Dick Newman, Ruth Reeder, Monica Seville, Ken Keebaugh, Edie Coleman, Bonnie Mellott Keefer, John Mentzer, Glenn Cordell, Naomi White and Linda Garber, Miller stated the award recipients “have made the Historical Society what it is today.”

“They’ve worked their butts off,” he added.

It was noted Miller will be stepping down as president and assuming the role of vice president. Linda Garber will take over as president, and Gene Leese and Ken Keebaugh will continue in their respective roles of treasurer and secretary.

Bonnie Mellott Keefer took a moment to address the crowd gathered at the Hustontown Firehall by referencing the upcoming second annual dinner/auction. Proceeds from the event will benefit the refinishing of the exterior of the county’s 1851 jail and sheriff’s office. The society currently has $29,000 and $30,000 earmarked in its account for the project, but Keefer said she hopes to build upon that amount through the dinner/auction.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 28, with the silent auction set for 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The dinner will commence at 5:30 p.m., and the traditional auction will get under way an hour later. The location of the event will be announced at a later date.

Mellott concluded she hoped to secure nearly 600 items to auction off. Miller followed up by noting the society has also applied for a Pennsylvania Historical Society Grant totalling $17,500. The grant requires matching funds, but Miller announced their fundraising efforts would enable them to get the job done at the jail.

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