The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 15, 2013

State to honor area history heroes

By Sarah Plummer
Register-Herald Reporter

— The West Virginia Division of Culture and History announced that six individuals from the surrounding area will be among 48 people recognized as 2013 West Virginia History Heroes during West Virginia History Day at the Legislature on Feb. 21.

Each year these heroes are nominated by historical, genealogical, preservation and museum organizations across the state. Now in its 17th year, the award is meant to recognize individuals who have contributed to state and local history though research, interpretation, publication or preservation.

John B. Arbuckle Jr., of Lewisburg, was nominated by the Greenbrier Historical Society, of which he has been a member since 2000 and served as president between 2002 to 2006.

While president, the organization’s debt for restoring the North House Museum was reduced by more than 90 percent.

Arbuckle led the development of educational programs for pre-school and school-aged children and under his presidency, the society acquired the hand-hewn log structure, The Barracks.

Anna Gray, of Crab Orchard, was nominated by the Raleigh County Historical Society, of which she was been the recording secretary for 16 years. She is active in all Wildwood House Museum activities and is a member of the governing board of the Wildwood Cemetery Preservation Association.

Betsy Ross, of Pineville, was nominated by the Wyoming County Historical Museum. Ross is the museum treasurer and has spearheaded the reprinting of two local history books. She works to boost educational programs, prints a newsletter, and helps secure exhibits.

Gloria Friedrichs, of Kingsport, Tenn., formerly of West Virginia, was nominated by the Fayette and Raleigh Counties Genealogical Society. Friedrichs served as society president from 1998 to 2008 and oversaw the reprinting of several local history books and worked to record Fayette County cemeteries, which resulted in the publication of seven cemetery books.

Benny and Gayle Vest, of Scott Depot are active members in the Summers County Historical Society. Together they spent hundreds of hours researching and compiling data for a second volume on cemeteries and have shared their knowledge of many old barns within the county for a book on Summers County barns, which was published in 2011.

History Heroes are acknowledged during the House of Delegates floor session on History Day.

The recognition ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 21 in the Culture Center at the Capital Complex in Charleston and is expected to be over before 11 a.m.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com