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Five Selected as Orleans Heritage Heroes

April 09, 2014

Batavia, New York - How much do you know about Albion’s Polish history? How about the historic Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon or the Medina Sandstone Society? Orleans County citizens who’ve played an integral role in preserving these elements of the County’s past are among five who’ve been chosen to receive inaugural Heritage Heroes Awards. These awards recognize the time and investment of individuals who are tireless advocates in preserving Orleans County history.

The awards will be presented on Friday, April 25, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Civil War Encampment hosted by Genesee Community College’s Medina Campus Center. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. “We’re very excited to spotlight these outstanding citizens who are so committed to historic preservation,” said Derek Maxfield, GCC assistant professor of history and coordinator of the College’s Civil War Initiative. “When we held our first encampment in Medina it quickly became apparent how much Orleans community cares about the past that shaped it. It’s an honor to select this first class of Heritage Heroes. We look forward to recognizing more people in the future.”


The recipients of the first Heritage Heroes Awards include:

Robert E. Waters – A journalist by trade, Mr. Waters has been active in historic preservation for over 30 years. Among his many projects has been the repurposing of the Medina Armory, founding of the Medina Sandstone Society as well as service on the Erie Canal Task Force. He has also led a local history initiative with the Medina School District in which he has spoken to students and taken them on tours of famous historical buildings in the Medina area. Mr. Waters is the personification of the Heritage Hero!

Matthew Ballard – A member of the Orleans County Genealogical Society, Mr. Ballard has been active on the organization's board and has led several important fundraising efforts. An expert on Orleans County's Polish population, he fought valiantly to save St. Mary's Assumption Church and has created a comprehensive research website (http://www.albionpolonia.com/). Mr. Ballard has also served on the Village of Albion's Historic Preservation Commission, on the Board of Directors of the Cobblestone Society Museum- where he was recently named a co-director, and the Orleans County Historical Association.

Craig Lacy – Past president and current vice president of the Medina Historical Society, Mr. Lacy has been tireless in his promotion of local history for over 30 years. Among his many contributions is a book he edited entitled "Medina's Hitching Post Days" - a collection of articles written by former Medina Village historian Russell J. Waldo. Mr. Lacy has also been active in the Medina Sandstone Society and has given frequent guided walking tours around downtown Medina.

Erin Anheier – A resident of Clarendon, Ms. Anheier has been a champion of historic preservation, helping to change the culture in Clarendon for how the community should view its historic assets. She has helped save an 1836 Medina sandstone storefront from demolition and led efforts to get the stone store, her cobblestone home and Hillside Cemetery on the National Register.

Chris Busch – A resident of Medina, Mr. Busch has long been an advocate for historic downtown Medina. From his place on the village planning board, he has diligently worked to promote and preserve the historic character of Medina. At present Mr. Busch is leading an effort to install descriptive signage in the village highlighting the community’s historic assets. He has also been a leader in the effort to restore the Bent's Opera Hall and St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church.

Those selected as Heritage Heroes could be of any age but had to be living residents of Orleans County. No posthumous nominations were accepted. History professionals and GCC employees were also not eligible for the award, nor were those serving on the awards selection committees. The selection committees were made up of staff and students of Genesee Community College, community members and history professionals.


The Civil War Encampment at the Medina Campus Center includes a wide range of activities on Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27, 2014. Re-enactors will set up camp and engage in mock combat each afternoon. At 1:00 Saturday afternoon, acclaimed filmmaker Ron Maxwell will appear at the event. His latest Civil War film, “Copperhead,” will be shown inside the Medina Campus Center beginning at 7:00 Saturday evening.

For the latest information about the Encampment, check out the website http://civilwaratgcc.wordpress.com or contact assistant professor Derek Maxfield at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6288 or ddmaxfield@genesee.edu. GCC’s Medina Campus Center is located at 11470 Maple Ridge Rd. in Medina, NY 14103.


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