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Cultivating Care: Honoring the Volunteers of the Historical Society

The spirit of volunteerism embodies Theodore Roosevelt’s timeless words: “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” As April, National Volunteer Month, comes to a close, we pay tribute to the dedicated volunteers who breathe life into the Historical and Genealogical Soceity of Indiana County. While their knowledge is invaluable, it is their boundless care and passion that truly set them apart.


A Legacy of Service

At the heart of our organization beats a volunteer force of over 50 individuals, each contributing their unique talents and unwavering commitment to preserving, collecting, and sharing the history of Indiana County, Pennsylvania. From the library to the museum, from curating collections to maintaining our grounds, these volunteers form the backbone of our society, embodying the ethos of service and community.


Library Luminaries

Within the walls of our library, Don Lancaster has been hard at work scanning our collection of slides, he started with the historic slides from the Clarence Stephenson collection and is now moving on to slides from Dave Williams.  To date Don has scanned over 1,900 slides.  The next step will be getting them into a searchable database so that researchers can find properties and locations they are looking for.


Nancy Mace, Becky Lydic, Kathy Turton, and Sonya Stewart tirelessly assist patrons in unraveling the threads of property research and geanalogical inquireis. Their dedication to tracing deeds, scouring newspapers and illuminating family histories is a testament to their care for preserving the rich tapestry of our community’s past. Mary Yanity, JoAnne McQuilkin, and Herb Gleditsch lend their hand throughout the week to cover the front desk during the library director Gabi’s lunch hour, to help ensure the phones are answered and patrons are welcomed to our facility.


Guardians of the Archives

In the hallowed halls of our archives, volunteers like Bill Black, a retired archivist from Seton Hill University, has put in long hours, assisted by his wife, Laurel Black, and daughter, Willa Black.  Kaylee Becker-George, has developed a system for cataloging recent donations and has been working on the back log of cataloging of previous donations.  Their meticulous efforts ensure that each artifact and document is safeguarded, cataloged, and accessible to scholars and researchers seeking to uncover the stories of our past.


Stewards of the Grounds

Amidst the verdant grounds of our society, volunteers on our Buildings and Grounds team labor tirelessly to maintain a welcoming environment for visitors.  On those beautiful (and not so beautiful) days, you can see Vince Beatty, Ken Hinton, Bonnie Peterman, and others picking up trash, weeding and mulching the flower beds, and doing general maintenance.  Let’s not forget about those indoor tasks too, like helping to construct display cases or build things for exhibits, Ron Kuzemchak and Tim Kochik are always there to lend a hand and help us meet our deadlines.  Cleaning is also an integral part of keeping the buildings open for business.  Joanne Getty and Donna Meyer continually come in to clean the Clark House keeping it free of dust and cobwebs.


Champions of Culture

Fundraisers and Programs would not be possible without the hard work of the committees who are there to help set up, clean up, and assist in any way in the planning of events and the execution of those plans.  Those talented individuals are: Elaine Maudie, Greta Helsel, Hazel Johnston, Louise Peterman, Mary Ann Wagner, Jenny Croyle, Mary Jo Bowes, Andrea Richko, Ruth Barkey, and Karen Wegener.

If you have not visited our museum in a while, I encourage you to do so over the next year, as there are many new and exciting exhibits that are in the works.  There is a lot of work that goes into crafting a successful exhibit from the idea session to the planning and development stage, which includes a ton of research, to the installation of the exhibit, the group of people that help with the museum are a talented group of people.  Katie Gaudreau and her museum committee consisting of Joe Hildebrand, Ruth Barkey, Mary Yanity, Jeff Miller, and JoAnne McQuilkin help to make these exhibits possible.


Volunteers helping at one of our events.

A Grateful Community

Our list of volunteers is long and many, and it is impossible to detail every single accomplishment that they all have made.  It is this month that we honor all those who volunteer and give their time to help better the Historical Society.  If you see any of the volunteers that are on our list, please tell them thank you for everything that they do.


Samantha Barna, Ruth Barkey, Vince Beatty, Ruth Beatty, Becky Becker, Don Becker, Bill Black, Laurel Black, Willa Black, Tom Crumm, Eugene Decker, Norma Dunlap, Allen Fiechuk, Zachary Fjellanger, Katie Gaudreau, Joanne Getty, Herb Gleditsch, Ron George, Greta Helsel, Hannah Hildebrand, Joe Hildebrand, Ken Hinton, Hazel Johnston, Donald Lancasater, Tim Kochik, Ron Kuzemchak, Dorie Leathers, Nancy Mace, Pam MacWilliams, Joan Magas, Elaine Maudie, JoAnne McQuilkin, Donna Meyer, Jeffrey Miller, Phyllis Mishtal, Tim Nupp, Maggie Pesci, Bonnie Peterman, Chuck Spence, Sonya Stewart, Beverly Stiles, Kathy Turton, Mary Ann Wagner, Joan Waldo, Karen Wegener, Jackie Wiley, Jim Wiley, Eric Wilmer, Mary Yanity.


In Remembrance

As we celebrate the living legacy of our volunteers, we also pause to remember our former Director Emeritus, Jean Williams, whose years of dedicated service and visionary leadership shaped the trajectory of our Society. Jean passed away on April 7, 2024 at the age of 103.  Her passing leaves an indelible mark on our hearts, as we honor her memory and the enduring impact of her contributions.


Join Us

As we look to the future, we invite all who share our passion for history and community to join our volunteer force. Whether you’re a seasoned researcher or a budding enthusiast, there’s a place for you at the Historoical Society. Together, we will continue to cultivate care, preserver knowledge, and nurture the roots of our shared heritage.

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