Celebrating our Volunteers

Volunteers are critical for the success of the West Volusia Historical Society, which is almost entirely a volunteer organization. Our volunteers serve as docents, as historical reenactors, as programs and special events coordinators, committee members and Board of Directors, office and financial services, research assistants and archivists, communications managers, and buildings and grounds support.

Our volunteers log well over 6,000 hours – roughly 500 hours a month. Their service is a tremendous gift and we appreciate and celebrate them all. Thank you Volunteers!  You ARE the West Volusia Historical Society.

When the pandemic closed the doors on the historical society this past year so many of our volunteers stepped up to help keep the society connected to our history community. With dedicated and creative teams, the society stayed engaged with our members and caught the attention of non-members through social media, the website, virtual programs and new events that could be held safely in-person. A village of volunteers was essential to our success, and we highlight just a few.

Join our team - Click here to see how.

Click here to see more photos of our Volunteers in action

Volunteer of the Year is described as one who has committed the most time, effort and dedication to the society’s activities. Two individuals are recognized for their service in 2020

Jean Miller Burkett is a volunteer who has donated hundreds of hours behind the scenes managing critical tasks that most members are not aware of. For six years, she has tirelessly and patiently managed and authenticated our financial records  - and always with a smile. Jean, thank you for your significant and critical service to the Society! 

Karen Tweedie dedicates enumerable creative hours to the Society. In 2020 she founded a Makers’ Guild that handcrafts items for the Boutique, planned and organized “Christmas in Bloom” - a successful new fundraising outdoor event that assured a safe fun start to the holidays, and led the Hands on History workshops for kids and adults, assuring appropriate wellness precautions. We salute you Karen!

In this unusual year, Linda Glover Barnett worked behind the scenes managing multiple teams and projects that kept the mission of the society moving forward. When the pandemic closed the Society’s museums and halted in-person programming, she led decisionmakers in taking the society “virtual”, assembling the team that more than doubled our content on the Society’s social media platforms and widely advertised virtual programs and events. Digitally-delivered publications with coordinated website content made information permanently available to researchers and plugged the gap when the society’s library could not be open. She also managed outreach communications with members and friends, helping us stay connected when personal contacts were discouraged. Thank you Linda!

Historian of the Year recognizes a volunteer who has done the most to promote the history of West Volusia.

Preservationist of the Year recognizes an individual whose preservation efforts have been outstanding in West Volusia.

Our 2020 recipient – Kimberly Reading is Senior Planner for the City of Orange City, where she offers a unique viewpoint, colored by her interest in the preservation of the area’s stories and structures. In this role she worked closely with the County of Volusia to recognize with an historic plaque, the important role of the Orange City Colored School in the area’s past. She serves as Historian for the Village Improvement Association and a lead editor for the just-published new edition of “Our Story of Orange City, FL”, assuring that local history is preserved for future generations. Hats off to you Kim!

Bill Dreggors Award recognizes an individual who has maintained for a number of years, a substantial level of achievement in preserving and sharing West Volusia history.

The Society recognizes Caryn Long, a Lifetime member who has assumed many responsibilities and performed multiple services for the Society through the years. Her service has included chairman of the Holiday Tour of Homes, reenacting the stories of well-known women in West Volusia history, serving on most of the society’s committees, meticulously maintaining archive files, and researching and writing articles. She recently created a walking tour of the Old Northwest national historic district and the Stetson Campus historic district, guiding visitors on an intriguing walk describing the history of the neighborhood and unique old homes in this part of town. We thank and honor Caryn Long for her dedication to the society!

West Volusia Historical Society Circle Award is given to Betty Drees Johnson, a long-time member of the Society who is currently serving on the Board of Directors. Betty always brings the voice of reason to the Board whenever controversy or confusion arises. She remains cool and calm as she guides the board toward thoughtful consideration of a way forward. Her financial generosity in past years has always been welcomed and much appreciated. However, in the critical months of 2020, the Society's revenues were extremely reduced due to museum closures and cancelled events, including the tour of historic homes, and her unsolicited support allowed the Society to not only meet current expenses but to balance the 2021 budget.

We thank Betty Drees Johnson for her kindness, wisdom and generosity, and for helping the Society to continue to fulfill it's mission to "preserve and promote the history of West Volusia County".

West Volusia Historical Society Circle Award