NEW LEXINGTON — The late Gwendolyn Young, responsible for the Nellie Sheridan Wilson statue, was honored Saturday with the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) Women in American History Award.
The 2019 Annual Awards Ceremony of the Elizabeth Sherman Reese (ESR) Chapter National Society for Daughters of the American Revolution honors those in communities who have made a difference in one way or another. Several students from area high schools were also honored with a scholarship.
The purpose of the Women in American History Award is to honor the women who have made a contribution or difference in their community. Young served as the Somerset Mayor from 1976 – 1980 and played a big role in securing funding for the community swimming pool. She served on the school and library board, was a Boy Scout, Girl Scout and 4-H leader. Having started kindergarten in Somerset, she taught kindergarten and middle school students during her time in the school system.
More importantly, she was being honored for being a founding member in the Perry County Historical and Cultural Arts Society and securing funding for the Nellie Sheridan Wilson Statute for the village.
To raise the funds she wrote a book on Wilson and dressed as her in public appearances to educate others about her life. Additionally in 2014, a special committee was formed by members of the Perry County Historical and Cultural Arts Society to oversee the creation of the statue.
Unfortunately, Young passed away in 2016; however, the ESR Chapter felt it appropriate to honor her legacy and efforts made to better the community. Her family accepted the award and daughter, Idelle Sagan, spoke on her behalf.
“She would be very honored. She always had something she was working towards,” Sagn stated.
Awarded the NSDAR Community Service Award was Jeannie Ignash for her efforts in creating Freedoms’ Never Free (FNF), a local Fairfield County non-profit that’s dedicated to bringing war memorials to the county for those who can’t travel to see them. Ignash founded FNF roughly four years ago and has grown from a four-hour event to a four-day event. The goal is to honor and recognize veterans, military and first responders with the memorials showcased.
Also honored, for the award was Judy Rastatter. She has served on the Fairfield County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society (FCCOGS) for 13 years and currently serves as president. As a volunteer she has helped many who walk through the doors of FCCOGS in finding ancestral and historical information for community members.
Winning the ESR Local Media Award was Jeff Barron, a local journalist for the Lancaster Eagle Gazette, who is the county government and business reporter. Barron has won multiple Associated Press awards over the years and was being honored for his service of the community by the ESR Chapter.
The NSDAR Conservation Medal went to Roger Grossenbacher for his efforts in educating the public on science and nature. As a retired science teacher, Grossenbacher works with summer educational programs, leading seasonal walks and night sky interpretations. He has done drawings and models to help the park systems in their work, which included covered bridges, canal walks and historical Rock Mill.
Other awardees included Jared Tomlinson from Canal Winchester High School for the OSDAR Wings of Eagles Scholarship; Andrew Kim from Bloom-Carroll High School and Matthew McKeon from Canal Winchester High School for the ESR Outstanding Student of American History Award; Brody Dutiel from Miller High School for the DAR Good Citizen Award as the ESR Chapter Winner; and other DAR Good Citizen Award winners were Taylor Hedges from Amanda Clearcreek High School, Elise Johnson from Lancaster High School, Emma Seals from Fairfield Christian Academy, Kimberly Solon from Pickerington High School North and Matthew Stoner from Bloom-Carroll High School.