Local History Heroes will receive honors

PARKERSBURG – A longtime area photographer is one of 48 people who will be recognized as West Virginia History Heroes this month.

Paul A. Borrelli, owner of Artcraft Studio in Parkersburg, will be among those to be honored during the History Day program and ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 21 in the theater of the Culture Center in Charleston.

In a release from the Division of Culture and History, area history heroes are Borrelli, Roy H. Copen of Elizabeth, James and Janet Lockhart of Coolville, Ohio, and Kathie Reed and Frances Weekley of Friendly.

Borrelli is an honorary member of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society and he was nominated for the honor by the society.

Borrelli has been recognized as a resource to the society and has given many program at society meetings. He owns a huge photographic collection along with volumes of newspaper articles providing information and details about major events and important buildings in Parkersburg.

Borrelli provides items for the display case at the Parkersburg-Wood County Public Library. His enthusiasm for the preservation of local Catholic church history led to the publication of the early baptismal records of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

Copen was nominated by the Wirt County Historical Society for what it called his true love of Wirt County history. Copen is a former resident and has helped the society plan and organize an annual genealogy fair, locate and clean old cemeteries and research and document landmarks.

Copen is a trustee for the historic Ruble Church and continuously works on that structure be performing manual labor and raising funds for its upkeep.

The Lockharts were nominated by the Kanawha Valley Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the Wood County Landmarks Commission. They have been active for many years in promoting the heritage and genealogy of West Virginia.

They have given their time and talent in conducting genealogy workshops, have published dozens of books, served as docents at the Blennerhassett mansion and the Parkersburg-Wood County Public Library. They helped bring a Celtic Heritage Celebration to Parkersburg.

Janet Lockhart is a former regent of the Charleston Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and registrar of the Blennerhassett Chapter. James is the vice president and registrar of the Capt. James Neal Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.

Reed and Weekley were nominated by the Ohio Valley Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. They work with the chapter’s genealogy team to record local and family history. They have taken old listings of cemeteries and produced books to preserve the information for future generations.

They were instrumental in organizing a memorial-funeral for a World War II soldier whose body was found 60 years after his death, researched and organized grave markings for three Revolutionary War soldiers, helped with a memorial service for a Civil War soldier and restoration of his gravestone and rescued gravestones from the old Hays Cemetery, Both have held positions in the chapter and state organizations.

Reed is the chapter’s recording secretary and Weekley is the chapter’s librarian.