Press Release: April 2013, Volunteer Recognition

Sixty volunteers to the North Manchester Historical Society and North Manchester Center for History were honored at the reception at the Center for History on April 23. 

 The volunteers have served as docents, researchers, program committee members, board members, and in many other capacities.  Those present were honored for their work in 2012. 

The Volunteer of the Year award was given to Steve Batzka.  He is the chief person responsible for furnishings and wall treatments for the Thomas Marshall Birth House on Market Street.  The house was constructed in 1852, and has been restored to its original condition.  It opened to the public last summer the first Saturday of each month.  Batzka also serves as a docent there. 

Special recognition was also given to Ferne Baldwin, Evelyn Niswander, and Karl Merritt. Each received recognition for Lifetime Volunteer Service to the Historical Society.  Merritt has arranged excursions twice a year for Historical Society and Shepherd Center members for approximately 20 years.  Baldwin served as President of the Society for many years, edited its newsletter for 11 years, and continues to serve on its board.  She and Niswander have arranged the monthly dinner meetings of the Society for decades; Niswander also served on the Board and as Secretary.  Both recall keeping the Historical Society going in years when there was not much interest.  Mary Chrastil, current Historical Society President, thanked them all for laying the foundation for what the Society has become today.

 Volunteers who have accumulated 100 hours of service received a polo shirt with the North Manchester Center for History logo.  Those achieving this milestone this year were:  Gladys Airgood, Eloise Eberly, Joan Fahs, David Hippensteel, Mike McKee, Loree Pritchard, Dave Randall, Carolyn Reed, Nancy Schuler, and Sally Welborn.

 Chrastil noted that people volunteer for many reasons, such as helping others, helping the community, and making North Manchester a great place to live.  She noted that in 2011 volunteers gave 4,041 volunteer hours to the Center for History.  In 2012 the volunteer hours increased to 8,894, more than double.  One reason for the increase is that the Center for History increased its open hours in 2012 from eight per week to thirty three hours per week.  Another increase in volunteer hours has been from the opening of the Thomas Marshall House. 

 Chrastil quoted figures from the Independent Sector, an organization that tracks volunteerism nationally.  Using their guidelines for the value of volunteer hours, she noted that volunteers gave the equivalent of $88,000 to help the Historical Society in 2011; in 2012 that value translated into $194,000. 

 The North Manchester Historical Society does business as the North Manchester Center for History; both are not-for-profits who depend entirely on volunteer support.  Without volunteers they would not be able to function.


Karl Merritt, Evelyn Niswander and Ferne Baldwin were honored on April 23 for Lifetime Volunteer Service to the N. Manchester Historical Society.

Steve Batzka receives has award for 2012 Volunteer of the Year from North Manchester Historical Society President Mary Chrastil.