By Carrie Dillard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
London Downtown is again seeking nominations for its Living Treasures project.
In its third year, London’s Living Treasures records the life stories of four elders of the community who have a life history of being a good citizen and inspiring others around them.
London’s Living Treasures grew out of the local America In Bloom committee, as a way to preserve the history of London and Laurel County. Since that first year, London Downtown and the Laurel County Public Library have teamed up to continue this project as an annual tradition.
“When you honor the elders in your community, everyone is uplifted,” said Dianna Milam, London Downtown member. “What we get out of it is an enormous sense of pride of who we are as a community, but we are also introduced to what we can aspire to be when we become that age.”
A Living Treasure is a person who is 70 years of age or older, is respected and exudes strong character and morals.
Four individuals will be chosen by an advisory council of well-connected Laurel Countians and they will announce the 2013 Living Treasures on March 27.
Once chosen, the four participants will be asked to record their stories, which will then be sent to the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress to be preserved. Each of the stories will also be transcribed and published in The Sentinel-Echo starting on April 10.
To nominate individuals for the Living Treasures project, submit a letter of recommendation to London Downtown, 501 S. Main St., London, Ky. 40741.
“Everyone over the age of 70 who you admire is eligible,” Milam said. “They can be the church leader or a homemaker. Alice Helton (2012 nominee) was not a business owner, never held a public office; but she was a mother who was beloved by dozens of people who stepped up to say she was the center of that family, that community.”
In your letter, please include your relationship with the person nominated; examples of the person’s personal challenges or inspiring acts; and encourage others who can attest to this person’s outstanding character to write a nomination letter, too.
“This is not just another civic award; it’s very personal,” Milam continued. “The most effective nominations have come out of heartfelt letters with specific examples of how this person has influenced their life.”
There is no form or template. Letters can be handwritten or type-written.
Nominations will be accepted until February 22.
The 2011 Living Treasures were Clyde Brock, Elaine Hays, Opal Overbey and Dr. Paul Smith.
The 2012 Living Treasures were Glenn “Buddy” Westbrook, Leonard Gilliam, Alice Helton and Toni Ryser.
For more information about the Living Treasures project, call Dianna Milam at 606-416-1898.