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Aurora Historical Society honors Mary Clark Ormond with Lifetime Achievement Award

The Aurora Historical Society has honored one of its former board members with an award few have ever received.

The group’s board elected to give former board president Mary Clark Ormond the Aurora Historical Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award, only the third time the award has been given.

Ormond, 77, was given the award during a members-only preview of the Tanner House and its room decorations that were on display to the public in December.

In a press release from the Aurora Historical Society, it was noted that Ormond “joins past recipients Fred B. Graham Jr. and Richard A. Haussmann.”

“Graham, the inaugural recipient, received the award in 1992 having been active with the Society for more than 30 years and served as a volunteer, board member and officer including president,” according to the release.

Haussmann, “received his award in 2001 just prior to his passing after being involved with the Society for nearly 30 years, serving on the board and served as both treasurer and president,” the release said.

Aurora Historical Society Executive Director John Jaros said board members immediately began discussing giving Ormond the award once she stepped down from the board in August after 13 years.

“We talked amongst ourselves during our monthly meetings, and we decided to look at this as it was something really important we needed to do,” Jaros said. “Mary did so much for our organization, and we thought this was an appropriate kind of recognition to give a lifetime award. It’s something we don’t do very often,”

Jaros said Ormond came on board in 2010 and called her time with the Aurora Historical Society “an era in itself.”

“From the time she came on board, she was always a leader,” he said. “Her second year, she became the vice president of the board and by 2012 she was president.”

Jaros described Ormond as always being upbeat and someone “with a lot of good ideas and an imagination.”

“The thing about Mary was that she had these great ideas, but she also knew how to implement them,” he said. “When she said, ‘Let’s do this,’ it meant let us do this together.”

Jaros also praised Ormond’s marketing skills, noting that the former board member “made sure news about what the Historical Society was doing got out.”

“She was such a great worker and a lot of the time if something was going on she wasn’t afraid to put her own hours of toil plus her own money to make sure things were done. She’d say, ‘I’ll buy the refreshments’ and made sure things were done right,” Jaros said.

Ormond was modest when asked about the award.

“I realize how special this is as the award has only been given three times,” she said. “Looking back on my time (on the Historical Society board), it was a very significant portion of my life.”

Ormond said she found herself “very devoted” to working for the Aurora Historical Society and that it basically became a full-time job.

“I worked at every aspect from fundraising to fixing the toilet downstairs,” she laughed. “It went from the ridiculous to the sublime and after 13 years, I’m not sorry I’m over it now. I retired in August and I’m enjoying traveling and reading and being with my grandchild. I’m finding that not having deadlines or someone to report to is a good thing.”

Ormond said she believes she has left the society in good hands, saying the group has a lot of good volunteers.

“I don’t feel like I’ve left them in the lurch in any way,” she said. “There is a lot of talent there and they’re going to move on without me.”

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News

David Sharos , 2024-02-04 16:57:57

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