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Waller honored as member of the year at HES banquet

POSTED: February 6, 2012 5:04 p.m.
Photo by Calli Arnold/

Betty Ford Renfro, Historic Effingham Society secretary, presents Betty Rahn Waller with the member of the year award at the HES annual banquet Saturday night.

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Historic Effingham Society celebrated another productive year at its annual banquet Saturday at New Ebenezer Retreat Center.

Betty Waller was honored as the member of the year for volunteering her time and talents. Betty Renfro presented the award to Waller, noting her willingness to help no matter how big or small the task. Refro noted Waller’s help in putting the HES calendars together as well as baking whatever the need, in addition to her help at the Effingham Museum and Living History Site.

Richard Loper, who finished his term as president Saturday night, was honored for the accomplishments of his term and for his dedication to preserving and promoting Effingham’s history. Noted accomplishments are the embankment and expansion of the Living History Site and the addition of the Blandford Depot this past year to that site.

The President’s Award went to Tracy Nease Kieffer and Sandra Nease Hendrix. They donated the Blandford Depot to the Living History Site and paid for the structure to be moved.

“Not only did they give us the depot, they funded the move,” said Loper.

The guest speaker of the night was Alan Kite, father of Andy Kite who compiled, wrote and published his first book “Vanishing Towns of Rural Georgia” two years ago at age 16.The book features photographs, short histories and interesting facts about small Georgia towns with populations drying up, such as Sharon and Boneville.

Andy Kite, now a political science student at the University of Georgia, could not be there because he had to study for an exam. But his father, who rode along for many of the small town visits, filled in for the presentation.

New officers were elected at the meeting. Norma Jean Morgan is the new president; Walter Gnann will serve as vice president; Betty Ford Renfro was reinstated as secretary; and the new treasurer is Charlie Arnsdorff. Morgan challenged County Administrator David Crawley to document the history of Effingham County government in her acceptance speech.

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