Thursday, April 19, 2012

Way to go, Darlene ...

I'm kind of basking in the honorable glow this morning of my buddy Darlene Arnold, recognized for decades of service yesterday when she was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award during a reception for volunteers sponsored by the Lucas County Health Center Volunteer Services program at Chariton Public Library. Darlene, center here, is flanked by Veronica Fuhs, hospital CEO (left), and Linda Baynes, director of Volunteer Services.

LCHS Volunteer Services is among thousands of certifiying agencies nationwide for the awards program --- in place since 2003 and intended to "thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer services." LCHS Volunteer Services operates within the hospital's administrative structure, but coordinates volunteer services for the entire community.

Darlene's award recognizes the thousands and thousands of hours that she has dedicated over the years to serving genealogists and historians not only locally, but nationwide. Her most evident work is the massive "Chariton Newspaper Index 1867-2005," assembled single-handedly over the course of many years and available without charge here via the Chariton Public Library's Web site.

The index allows researches to determine quickly and efficiently if published material that might be of use to them is available. Copies then may be obtained for a minimal fee, if researchers live at a distance, by contacing the Lucas County Genealogical Society.

Researchers also may work in person, if they care to, in the Lucas County Genealogical Society Library, among the most popular attractions at the public library and recently moved to more spacious quarters. The genealogical library is staffed by volunteers and equipped at society expense. Darlene, along with many other volunteers over the years, has been instrumental in creating the library and on many days, staffs it herself. She also creates many of the handicrafts that the society has sold over the years to help finance its operations. I seriously doubt that any other Lucas County volunteer has touched quite so many lives.

Darlene also is a valued board member of the Lucas County Historical Society.

So it was a great afternoon. I won a cheesecake door prize, too. Actually, it was a sympathy gesture on the part of Linda. I never win anything. Every name in the room was called. I sat empty-handed. She gave me a cheesecake. I'm enjoying it. And then there was the great notepad caper, which could be subtitled "genealogists behaving badly." But if I wrote more about that I'd implicate others, so my lips are sealed and my typing fingers, frozen.

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