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Historic Columbia Recognizes Volunteer Contributions at Annual Awards Luncheon

COLUMBIA, S.C. —Historic Columbia recognized the service and contributions of its volunteers at a private luncheon on Monday, April 18, at The Big Apple. 

“While we take this opportunity to highlight a select few people at this event each year, each volunteer plays an important part in the success of this organization,” said Executive Director Robin Waites. “The strength of Historic Columbia is realized in the way that we work together to make this an organization in which we can all be proud to play an integral role.” 

Jeff Payne received the Volunteer of the Year Award.

“From his service on the Historic Columbia Advisory Council to giving tours in which his ability to effectively engage audiences cannot be questioned,” said Director of Education James Quint. “He displays an ambassador’s approach to the capital city that serves as a source of inspiration to others.” 

Ron Hildreth received the Innovative Leadership Award for his development of a mobile app tour of Columbia’s Cottontown neighborhood based on HC’s Connecting Communities through History initiative.

“Through this remarkable, self-created tool, Ron is the embodiment of a community activist, educator and historic preservationist,” said Director of Cultural Resources John Sherrer. 

Debbie Cohn received the Special Contributions Award for her leadership in HC’s Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative (CJHI).

“Since April 2014, this volunteer has helped coordinate and direct a steering committee to establish one of the strongest groups that I have worked with in my years at HC,” said Waites. “Her energy and enthusiasm has been a guiding force the for CJHI committee.”

Maria Schneider received the Newcomer Award.

“In her short two years here, Maria has gone above and beyond to serve the needs of our visitors,” said Visitor & Interpretive Services Coordinator Betsy Kleinfelder. “We hope she will continue to be with us for many years to come.”

Rodger Stroup received the President’s Award for his years of stewardship and dedication to our museum collections.

“There is no one person who knows our collections better or who has had more of a positive impact on them,” says Sherrer. “Rodger always has his eyes and ears open for great objects that enable us to tell stories about the people of Columbia and South Carolina’s past.”

The Historic Columbia Garden Volunteers collectively received the Service Award. The “Garden Crew” includes Pam Adkins, Teresa Butkus, Virginia Carrier, Walker Covin, Caroline Gibbes, Tom Gillette, Judy Liner, LaVern Thomas, Kate Wescott, Margaret Woodrum, and Foster Yarborough. 

“The Garden Crew goes above and beyond, willfully volunteering to do strenuous work in all different weather conditions with a smile on their face,” said Director of Grounds Evan Clements. “The combined efforts of these individuals make the development, improvement and maintenance of our historic gardens possible.”

Megan Plott received the Rising Star Award for her leadership on The Palladium Society board.

“From her initial involvement with the Palladium Society to becoming its board president in 2013, Megan made an immediate impact with her enthusiasm, commitment and drive to brand Historic Columbia as the organization for young professionals to get involved with both philanthropically and socially,” said Director of Development Wendi Spratt.

John Fiegel and Henry Nechemias received 10-Year Service pins and H.E. Barkley, John Clark, Edwina Fields, Charlyce Goodwin, Walt Hall, Nancy Munroe, and Sharon Robinson received 5-Year Service pins to recognize their years of volunteering with Historic Columbia. 

Historic Columbia holds its Volunteer Awards Luncheon every April to celebrate and thank the many volunteers who donate their time and expertise to advancing HC’s mission to preserve, promote and protect the history and cultural resources of Columbia and Richland County.

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