The Blair County Historical Society held its annual dinner and awards ceremony Nov. 17 at the Blair County Convention Center, Altoona.
Harriet Gaston, minority counselor at Penn State Altoona, was the guest speaker. The topic of her speech was ''Continuing Conversation about African-American History in Central Pennsylvania.'
Gaston is involved with the African-American
Among the individuals taking part in the Blair County Historical Society's awards presentation are (from left): Pat Gildea, BCHS parliamentarian; James D. Boor; Marlene Stone; Norm Callan, BCHS president; Irving Seltzer; Judith Seltzer; Jared Frederick; Robert Pennington; Michael Pennington; and Paula Zitzler.
Heritage Project of Blair County, gathering oral histories.
She is working on a book documenting the area's rich but little-known African-American heritage.
The Award for Excellence in the Preservation of County History and Heritage was presented to Paula Zitzler, author of ''Unscheduled Stop, the Town of Tyrone and the Wreck of the Walter L. Main Circus Train,' and her work as an archaeologist; and to James D. Boor, author of ''Morrisons Cove Herald, Martinsburg -- Volumes 1, 2 and 3' and other books.
The Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation was presented to Irving Seltzer for the preservation of The Columns, former First National Bank building in downtown Altoona; and Robert and Janet Pennington for the maintenance and preservation of their home on Baker Boulevard, Altoona.
Jared Frederick received the President's Award for his dedication to the society and local Pennsylvania history as evidenced by the publication of several books and a Web site, www.historymatters.biz.
Marlene Stone received the Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been involved with the historical society for more than 20 years, serving on numerous committees, including gift shop, programs and events, and as chairwoman of the collections committee and the society's genealogist.
Also at the dinner, members of the society's 2009 board of directors was sworn in, including Elizabeth Happeny, corresponding secretary; Timothy Van Scoyoc, recording secretary; Mary Cramer; Gary Drenning, second vice president; Wendy Payne, first vice president; Monica Dietrick, president; Jared Frederick; Anne Dixon; Cathy Lenze, treasurer; Norm Callan; and Jeannine Treese, executive director.