April 6, 2016

County Hall of Fame inductees in spotlight


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, speaks to a group of Groton High School students April 2, 2014. She is among the inaugural inductees to a Cortland County Hall of Fame.

Staff Reporter

Ten Cortland County residents, past and present, have been selected for the inaugural class for the new Cortland County Hall of Fame.
The new Hall of Fame is an initiative by the Homeville Museum, which is part of the Central New York Living History Center, in conjunction with the Cortland Historical Society, to recognize a generation of residents with significant achievements in the county, such as Arnald Gabriel and Catherine Bertini — the only living inductees.
Kim Walsh, a Homeville Museum board member, and two other committee members who Walsh would not identify, received nominations from about 20 Cortland County residents and out-of-town people — some nominating more than one person — by March to be considered for the Hall of Fame.
“We got names even I wouldn’t of thought of,” said Mindy Leisenring, director of the Cortland County Historical Society.
Of the nominations, a 35-person list, grouped in individual categories, was developed. Residents, and non-residents were allowed to cast one vote in each of the seven categories — based on generations ranging from the pre-1850s to present.
More than 180 residents and a few non-residents voted on the list of 35 deciding the seven inductees, but Walsh said she and her fellow committee members felt there were a few runner-ups — who they would not unidentified — who held a great deal of significance in their nominated time period and were added to the list of inductees. That brought the list to 10 inductees, Walsh said.
“There were many deserving individuals who just could not be selected this year, in order to have adequate display space for each person honored,” she said in a prepared statement. “This is an ongoing project and we hope to see these names and others among the inductees in subsequent years. We very much appreciate the time and effort people took to participate and recognize these individuals and how they contributed to our county’s rich legacy.”
“I think we have a great group of people for our first class (of inductees),” Leisenring said.
The Hall of Fame will be a wall — which will cost between $100 and $500 — located in the Homeville Museum in the Central New York Living History Center at 4386 Route 11 in Cortlandville.
The May 7 induction ceremony will be in the center’s auditorium. Living nominees will be presented with their plaque while the deceased inductees will have someone at the ceremony to represent them. The ceremony is open to the public.

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