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Dear editor:

The word "story" aptly lies within the word "history." People are personally drawn to stories, especially when they're of people and places they know. Stories of the past point us toward the future.

For 57 years, the dedicated volunteers of the Garland County Historical Society, currently led by Executive Director Liz Robbins -- and before her, legendary historians like Bobbie Jones McLane and Inez Cline -- have been faithful stewards of our community's history, chronicling and preserving it for current and future generations. Journalists and filmmakers, students and schoolteachers, authors and genealogy enthusiasts are but a few that seek and find what they need at GCHS. GCHS also gave 44 programs last year to groups throughout the county. Now is the perfect time to turn the tables and help GCHS with its immediate needs.

With a game-changing recent donation of $200,000 from the Oaklawn Foundation, GCHS recently broke ground on a prudent plan to maximize the footprint of its current location. GCHS has long outgrown its space and depends on auxiliary storage. However, about $100,000 is still needed in order to complete the expansion, including a clean fire-suppression system to protect irreplaceable photos and documents, and movable shelving that will greatly increase archival storage space.

How can this small organization make up the remainder? As a nonprofit, GCHS relies on service fees, memberships, product sales, grants and donations. It doesn't have a big, splashy annual benefit event; their volunteers are too busy serving 2,500 people each year. It receives no taxes or public funding.

My idea involves the little guy ... in big numbers. Hopefully, giving $57 -- GCHS's current age -- might be within reach of many of us. It'll take 1,754 people donating $57 to get there. Or 1,000 people donating $100 would do it. Whatever your means to give, please consider sending a gift to GCHS, either online at http://garlandcountyhistoricalsociety.com; snail mailing your check to Garland County Historical Society, P.O. Box 21335, Hot Springs, AR 71903; or bringing a donation to the archives at 328 Quapaw, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Another opportunity to help our history caretakers is coming up from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Room 207 of our convention center, when GCHS hosts a "Make Room for History" Expansion Party, featuring the works of renowned local architect I. Granger McDaniel, along with a silent auction and gambling memorabilia. There is no admission charge.

I don't know all the unsung heroes at GCHS, but I treasure them because of what they do. They deserve to be named:

Clyde Covington, Connie Jackson, Donnavae Hughes, Donnie Kilgore, Elaine Johnston, Gary Jackson, Harry Lah, Henry de Linde, Julie Nix, Malvin Howe, Margie Golden, Mark Blaeuer, Melanie Pearce, Mike Blythe, Nathalie Martin, Gail Ashbrook, Orval Allbritton, Patsy Hall, Paulann Turner, Renee Lucy, Roger Carter, Susan Hunter, Jerry Merriweather, Gary Jackson, David Fastenow, Clay Farrar, Tom French, Lynda Hogaboom and Liz Robbins.

For preserving history,

Terry Payne

Hot Springs

Editorial on 10/08/2017

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