Gladys Airgood (L) is congratulated for being named Volunteer of the Year by Mary Chrastil, North Manchester Historical Society president. Photo Provided
Gladys Airgood (L) is congratulated for being named Volunteer of the Year by Mary Chrastil, North Manchester Historical Society president. Photo Provided

NORTH MANCHESTER – Approximately 60 volunteers at the North Manchester Historical Society and North Manchester Center for History were honored at a reception at the Center for History in April.  
April is National Volunteer Month. The volunteers gave 6,640 hours of volunteer service in 2013, serving as docents, researchers, program committee members, board members, preservation group members and in many other capacities.  
The Volunteer of the Year award was given to Gladys Airgood, who has logged over 600 volunteer hours in the past two years. Airgood not only manages the NMHS’s direct mail program to members and donors, but also makes all membership cards.  
In the past year, when the Center for History has been short staffed, Airgood stepped in to reinvigorate the docent volunteer program by initiating revised scheduling, training and improved communications. She has taken the lead in reorganizing the center’s school programs and cash flow procedures.  
In 2012, Airgood published a comprehensive book on the history of Servia, which is one of the best sellers in the center’s gift shop. Said Mary Chrastil, NMHS president, “Gladys would probably prefer to work on more historical research, but we keep asking her to help in other ways, and she always says, ‘Yes.’ We were stretched very thin last year, and we could not have made it without her.”
Special recognition was also given to Nancy Reed for lifetime volunteer service to the historical society. Reed was a founding member of the historical society, and served as president for several terms. She was instrumental in purchasing, moving and renovating the Thomas Marshall House.
From 2007-2010, she served as volunteer director of the Center for History, and became one of its first paid staff starting in 2011. As director, Reed was responsible for exhibits, window displays, school programs, the docent program, tour groups and building maintenance and repairs.
She retired in August with over 4,100 hours of volunteer service recorded, and she is continuing to help by being a docent.
Chrastil noted Reed’s keen interest in genealogy research, which she also continues.  
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 James R.C. Adams, Charles Boebel, Judy Glasgow, Karen Hewitt and Becky Naragon.
Chrastil said 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 2013 volunteers gave 6,640 volunteer hours to the Center for History. Since the NMHS started to keep records in 2001, 43,736 volunteer hours have been recorded.  
Chrastil quoted figures from the Independent Sector, an organization that tracks volunteerism nationally. Using their guidelines for the value of volunteer hours, she stated that volunteers gave the equivalent of $143,153 to help the society in 2013. The total value of volunteer hours since 2001 is the equivalent of $942,944. Chrastil pointed out that if volunteer participation continues at the same level in 2014, the NMHS will reach the milestones of 50,000 volunteer hours with a value of over $1 million next year.  
The North Manchester Historical Society does business as the North Manchester Center for History and the Historic Homes Preservation Group; they are all not-for-profits who depend entirely on volunteer support.