Nominations sought for Heritage Heroes in Orleans County

Photo by Tom Rivers: Richard and Shirley Nellist are pictured at Boxwood Cemetery in Medina last May. The couple was honored as “Heritage Heroes” for their efforts in preparing detailed records for the 11 cemeteries in the Town of Ridgeway – over 11,000 burials all told, which are now loaded into the Orleans County Genweb system online and available for anyone doing genealogical research. They are active members of the Medina Historical Society.

Posted 16 January 2018 at 10:22 am

Press Release, GCC

Now in its fifth year, Genesee Community College and the Orleans Hub are proud to continue the Orleans County Heritage Heroes Awards which recognize the dedication and hard work of dedicated citizens who strive to protect and preserve local history. They are now seeking nominations for the awards. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 19.

“One of the most remarkable aspects of living in Orleans County is the many people who share a vested interest in our local heritage,” said Jim Simon, associate dean of GCC’s Orleans County Campus Centers in Medina and Albion. “Now in our fifth consecutive year, we recognize the time and investment of individuals who work tirelessly to preserve and protect our local history-be it oral or written histories, as well as the people, places, artifacts, buildings or landmarks in our homeland.”

Nominees for Heritage Heroes Awards can be any age but posthumous nominations will not be accepted. History professionals and GCC employees are also not eligible for the award, nor are those who serve on the awards selection committees. Nominees must be Orleans County residents.

The six winners honored last year included: Jim Hancock, Ken McPherson, Richard and Shirley Nellist, Gretchen Sepik, and Alice Zacher received the special C.W. “Bill” Lattin Award for Excellence in Municipal History. Because nominations are not retained for future consideration, residents who made previous nominations are encouraged to re-submit a nominee again for this coming year.

“The Heritage Heroes Awards program recognizes the members of our community who are dedicated to preserving the local treasures that add to the quality of life and character of our community,” Tom Rivers, Orleans Hub editor said. “These residents are from all over the county and they work hard on restoring historic houses and protecting numerous community assets such as museums, churches, monuments and numerous buildings that make up our unique landscape.”

To nominate someone for the Heritage Heroes Awards, write up a brief statement outlining the person’s contributions, projects and community affiliations. Anyone sending in a nomination should provide their name (anonymous nomination packages will not be accepted), address, phone number and email address. The more in-depth the detail provided in the nomination, the stronger the submission. Submit the nomination to:

ATTENTION: Heritage Heroes Committee

Genesee Community College / Medina Campus Center

11470 Maple Ridge Rd.Medina, NY 14103-9675

Nominations may also be emailed to Jim Simon at Please write Heritage Heroes Nomination in the subject line.

A screening committee made up of community members, history professionals and GCC students will review the nominations and select finalists. From those finalists, a committee including GCC Associate Dean Jim Simon, Associate Professor Derek Maxfield and Orleans Hub Editor Tom Rivers will choose the Heritage Heroes.

“The Heritage Heroes Awards is a point of pride in our community, and the ceremony is always a highlight of my year,” Prof. Maxfield said. “Recognizing the unsung heroes who work hard to ensure local history survives into the next generations is vitally important to the cultural life of our community.”

The Heritage Heroes will be recognized during a ceremony at Genesee Community College in Medina in April 2018.

Return to top