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West Virginia Division of Culture and History announces History Heroes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) - The West Virginia Division of Culture and History announced the 2021 West Virginia History Heroes.

The award gives statewide recognition to individuals for their service to an organization's program or for a contribution to state and local history.

The 2021 History Heroes are:

  • Phillip Hayes (Beckley) is being recognized for his analysis of the Big Beaver Creek fortification site, Raleigh County's oldest man-made structure. His work resulted in a written study which was published last summer.
  • Mary Ellen Howe (Petersburg, Va.) is being recognized for traveling to locate original records of the Bailey family, one of the first settlers in the West Virginia area. Her work has led to the publishing of four books. Howe donated the proceeds from her latest book to the Mercer County Historical Society.
  • Kevin Pruitt (Hinton) is being recognized for representing the Gen. Hugh Mercer Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution at the dedication of the Gold Star Families Monument in Princeton. Pruitt has also worked as a historical interpreter and educator. Additionally, he is currently attempting to locate and preserve the grave of John Payton Bailey, one of the first Mercer County settlers.

The West Virginia History Hero Award is a once-in-a-lifetime recognition.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was held online. You can watch that here.

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