Honoring the past: Hall of Honor Class of 2016

By Jean Bussell - For The Register-Herald

PREBLE COUNTY — This is the fifth column in our series related to the Sara Swartsel Hall of Honor, sponsored by the Preble County Historical Society and The Register-Herald. Our co-sponsorship recognizes the natural partnership of the two organizations in recording the history of Preble County every day. This annual process provides each entity with many opportunities to collaborate publicly on the project in ways that promote the value of each entity to the residents and businesses of the county. The Hall of Honor was established in 2011 in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Preble County Historical Society.

In 2018 the Hall of Honor will induct its eighth membership class. Inductees must be deceased and have lived in Preble County at some point in their lives; further, they must meet one or more of the following requirements: have been outstanding in achievement in agriculture, arts, professions, politics, public service, education, or sports; or have a reputation that brings honor to the county, or personal commitment and service to the county; or had a lasting impact on the county.

You can make a nomination to the Hall of Honor by visiting the Preble County Historical Society’s web site at www.preblecountyhistoricalsociety.com and downloading an application to complete and submit. You also may email the Society at preblecountyhistoricalsociety@frontier.com or call the Society at 937-787-4256 and leave a message requesting a nomination form.

The deadline for submission for consideration for 2018 is Friday, March 30.

2016 Inductees were as follows:

Irene Hardy, 1841-1922

Born in New Westville, Hardy taught in one-room schools in Preble County. She graduated from Antioch College during the Civil War and served as Principal of the Eaton Grade School in 1869. She traveled to California in 1871 and became a teacher at Oakland High School and then an English professor at Stanford University. Her autobiography and books of poetry portray her literary talents and her extraordinary life as an independent woman in the 19th century.

Billy J. “Bill” Sewert, 1923-2003

Lifelong resident of Lewisburg, Sewert spent his life in service to his country in the US Army where he received the Purple Heart Medal and to his community where he worked in journalism and especially enjoyed his weekly village column for The Register-Herald. He helped convert the old movie theater into the fire station, served on the village council and in many other organizations, and started the emergency squad.

Larry A. Hart, 1941-1991

Throughout his career as Wildlife Game Protector in Preble County, Hart set a timeless standard for all officers. He gave numerous educational programs to community groups, volunteered as scout leader and baseball coach, supported his church, and loved to square dance! He received many awards and assisted in establishing wetlands and prairie grasses in the county. A college scholarship established in his honor continues to provide annual awards.

By Jean Bussell

For The Register-Herald