Walt Schrader


Stephen R. McCrae, Sr

Steve McCrae was a rare being, an artist who produced works that fill our homes and offices with their color and beauty, and an artist who also nurtured his fellow artists and taught them to market the value of their work to our communities. Through his work to organize artists, as well as art patrons, he made such an important contribution to the arts that he could be called the “godfather" of York County visual arts.

Louise Pettus

Wayne Tyler Patrick

Wayne Patrick believed that our culture and heritage institutions add greatly to our quality of life. He knew that we provide educational opportunities that foster the development of "whole citizens" who understand and value cultural and biological diversity and are inspired by the world around them. He also was a patron extraordinaire who demonstrated his belief through generous financial contributions and, more importantly, by donating his precious time and wisdom for many, many cultural and heritage endeavors.


Harry & Becca Dalton

Harry Dalton has served on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, Keystone, Museum of York County, Nation Ford Land Trust, York County Community Foundation and St. John's United Methodist Church and has been president of the Sierra Club Foundation and Palmetto Conservation Foundation. 'Becca Dalton was instrumental in starting the library at Richmond Drive Elementary School, volunteered with the York County American Red Cross, the Museum of York County and was a leader of women's organizations at St. John's. Together, the Daltons funded a chair for Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies at Winthrop University, as well as shown a commitment to downtown with the Rock Hill Arts Council's Dalton Gallery.

Bobby Moss

Bobby Moss is the founder of the Cherokee County Historical and Preservation Society. He once served as historian for the Broad River Baptist Association where he produced a 200-year history for the association. He was an active member of the Rotary Club, and is also a member of Crust Breakers. He has received many awards and honors including an Honorary Doctorate from Limestone College, and an award from Colonial Dames of America for research and preserving military and family records. He also has received an award from the Daughters of the American Revolution for his research. Mr. Moss is a former Baptist minister.

Dori Sanders


Harriet Goode

Harriet Goode is the founder of the Palmetto Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild. She is also the founder of the Piedmont Artist, past president of the Rock Hill Junior Welfare League and the S.C. Watercolor Society. She has served on boards for the Rock Hill Junior Welfare League, YMCA, Rock Hill Debutante Club, Rock Hill Fine Arts Association and the Rock Hill Arts Council. Goode is the owner of Gallery 5/Studio 5, and is an art instructor, painter, jurist, speaker and consultant. She is the former assistant director at Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston.

Jerry West


Nikki Musial Barnes

Collectors prize her brilliantly colored glass plates. Artists seek and receive from her encouragement and wisdom. Non-profits have reaped benefits from her involvement. As Arts Council Director Debra Heintz notes, "Nikki is a true gem. She shines in so many different facets." This talented artist works in many mediums. She paints, sculpts, welds, makes jewelry and is a master of working with glass and clay. Her quick mind is ever searching for new projects to try. Nikki Barnes trained to be an architect at Georgia Institute of Technology and this is evident in much of her award winning work. Springs Industries, the Mint Museum of Art, the Tokyo Ceramics Museum, Universal Studios and the High Museum of Art are just a few places that have her work in their collections. In the past she has served as Gallery Manager of the Dalton Gallery, a planner for Jubilee for the Arts and as a member of the small grants committee for the S.C. Arts Commission. Nikki is one of the original designers featured in the Ripple-effect Website and Gallery at the Center for the Arts in Rock Hill.

Dick Houk

William Calvin Kimbrell

If any major money was raised in York County, you could have been sure that Bill Kimbrell was involved. "You have to believe in the project and be committed to it," he told younger volunteers, "or you can't get other people to believe in it...and it helps if you have the right person talking to those other people." Bill Kimbrell was the right person. He had a knack for getting folks to open their pocketbooks. When the Museum of York County began fundraising for an endowment, Bill, as Chairman of the campaign, guided the staff and cheered on a team of enthusiastic volunteers to exceed the goal by $150,000. Kimbrell could not be honored without mentioning his dedication to the Boy Scouts. He raised millions for them. York Tech, Unity Presbyterian Church, Winthrop University, and the YMCA...all benefited from his leadership. His honors are too numerous to list, but to name a few: Order of Palmetto, the S.C. American Legion Distinguished Public Service Award and the York County Regional Chamber Lifetime Business Achievement for his work in merging the Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Tega Cay Chambers.


Jeanne Ferguson

The First Duchess of York is a fitting title for Jeanne Myers Ferguson, but not idle royalty is she. Honored twice by the Charlotte Observer as one of its annual "Ten Who Care," she has proven her mettle as a conservationist and historic preservationist. She has restored eight historical structures in York and constantly works to promote the city she loves. Ferguson has served on the boards of the Nation Ford Land Trust, the McCelvey Advisory Committee, the York Downtown Business Association, the York County Community Foundation and York County Forever, as well as working tirelessly for her church, the Church of the Good Shepherd. She was honored as "Citizen of the Year" by the Greater York Chamber of Commerce. Ferguson is married to Tracy Ferguson and they have three children. They live and raise beef cattle on Ferguson Farm. Jeanne helps out in the family business, Ferguson Real Estate and Ferguson & Youngblood Hardware, a staple in York.

Carl Gullick

It is rare to find someone who is as interested in protecting environment as he is in development and growth, but Carl Gullick is that man. From eight years as chair of the York County Council during a time of unprecedented growth to Executive Director of Voices and Choices, a regional organization that promotes economic and environmental sustainability, he has been true to what he believes. "I've never experienced a more born leader than Carl Gullick," Councilman Curwood Chappell said at a party honoring Gullick's leadership on County Council. "He is a strategist, planner, thinker and visionary." Some of the accomplishments achieved during those eight years are the eight-lane I-77 Interstate, a new Fort Mill Library, the county's land preservation program, a refinanced Moss Justice Center and the commitment of Council to provide $8 million to the CHM for the restoration at Historic Brattonsville, improvements to the McCelvey Center and planned Museum of Life and Environment. Gullick is married to Dr. Lois Veronen, and they have two children.

Earl & Viola Robbins

From the time they were children on the reservation in the thirties, Earl and Viola Robbins made Catawba Pottery, learning and using the old traditions passed down from their mothers and other members of the tribe. Through the years Viola kept the tradition alive, continuing to sell the pottery she made using smoothing stones inherited from her mother. For many years Earl's only connection to the pottery was the clay he dug from secret places along the Catawba River for his wife. It was only after his retirement as a cabinetmaker that Earl returned to the ancient craft. When Earl began working again, he found that the very large vessels were most pleasing to him. His talented hands seem to remember the old shapes and designs in a spiritual way, and his work is heralded by his colleagues and collectors alike. Together, the Robbins and their daughter Margaret were part of a group of Catawba Indians who brought recognition and honor to the beautiful tradition of Catawba pottery. In honoring them, we honor all of the Catawba potters.


The Vernon Grant Family

Vernon Grant, nationally acclaimed illustrator and cartoonist, moved to Rock Hill in 1947, bringing many progressive ideas with him. During his eighty-eight years, he witnessed the transformation of a nation, from the perspectives of South Dakota homesteader, a New York City artist, a cattle farmer in York County and finally from desks at the Chamber of Commerce and City Hall in Rock Hill. He is best remembered as the creator of the Snap! ® Crackle! ® and Pop! ® characters that helped transform the Kellogg Company into an industry giant and Rice Krispies® into one of the ten best-selling cereals for all time. His whimsical illustrations graced the covers of national magazines and advertising products for over half of a century. For Vernon Grant, there was never room for anything less than bright colors and bright ideas. Before there was "Empowering the Vision," there was Vernon Grant. He launched a host of projects during his 43 years in Rock Hill focused on building a strong economic base. Joe Lanford, former manager of the City of Rock Hill said, "He was one of the first people in city government here who came from some place outside of this area so he had a perspective and optimism that really served him well and was much needed." On issues from desegregation to public housing, Vernon Grant left an indelible mark on Rock Hill and the region. With Icky Albright and Johnny Gill, Vernon founded Rock Hill's annual Come See Me Festival creating the festival's mascot, Glen the Frog®. Grant also helped lay the ground work for York Technical College. When he died in 1990, Mayor Betty Jo Rhea commented that Grant's insights are a visible part of Rock Hill today. "He had such an enthusiasm and vision about him, and he knew how to motivate people to have that vision..." Since 1979 the Museum of York County has cared for, exhibited, and programmed around the art of Vernon Grant. He and his late wife, Lib, fostered the Museum's fledgling art program. Their children, Chip Grant and Kay Grant Martin, have enabled the CHM to continue to benefit from this rich artistic legacy. The Vernon Grant Family members are exemplary Keepers of the Culture, known for embracing, enhancing and enriching their community.

Betty Jo Rhea

For over 20 years, throughout her service as a Rock Hill Parks and Recreation Commissioner in the early 1970s, City Councilman in 1978 and 1982, Mayor Pro Tem from 1984 to 1985 and Mayor from 1986 to 1998, as well as through her current role as host of CN2's daily broadcast, "City Minute", Betty Jo Rhea has worked tirelessly on behalf of Rock Hill, York County and our region. She has dedicated herself to preserving our cultural and historical heritage. "Her main objective during her public service was to improve the City's economy while emphasizing arts and culture as well as beautification and historic preservation. During her term as mayor... the City adopted a long-term strategic plan, Empowering the Vision, which brought together hundreds of citizens representing government, business and education to plan goals for the years 1990-2000. Included in this plan, among others, were the areas of art, culture and historic preservation," said Commissioner Fred Faircloth. "Betty Jo worked to establish the Rock Hill Board of Historic Review in 1989 in order to preserve and protect Rock Hill's historic neighborhoods and structures. She also worked to revitalize downtown Rock Hill in order to restore the City's historic core," said Faircloth. Her work resulted in numerous awards for the City, including the 1988 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award for Excellence in Government Support of the Arts and the 1995 National Endowment for the Arts and U S Department of Transportation design award for the Gateway and Civitas. Betty Jo's husband, Jimmy, and her children - Toy Rhea, John Rhea and Catherine Rhea Darby - have supported Betty Jo in all of her endeavors. Betty Jo exemplifies what it means to be a Keeper of the Culture, serving constantly as a spokesperson for our regional heritage and a model of cultural awareness and activism with great savvy, vision and Southern charm.


Wade B. Fairey

Turning an advocation into a vocation, Wade B. Fairey has spent more than a quarter century in historic preservation. His love for the past and desire to see it survive into the future has focused his professional development for many years. Fairey is perhaps best known for his time as the executive director of Historic Brattonsville and the York County Historical Commission (1979 &emdash; 1998). In the early years, he worked with a corps of dedicated volunteers to restore the buildings at the site and recruited donations of additional ones which made Historic Brattonsville the kind of place visitors would enjoy. Through innovative programs such as the annual Christmas Candlelight Tours and building a strong volunteer support base, Wade developed an interpretive direction that insured the future of the site. Later, he was instrumental in the acquisition of the Hightower Hall property for inclusion in the Historic Brattonsville property. Over the years, Wade's influence could be felt across the state. He founded the archives at the Historical Center in York and recruited some of the early important genealogy collections that, today, form the core of that resource. Understanding the importance of educating the county residents on the history of this place, he also continued the "Historical Marker" program. The town markers for Clover, Sharon and York among many others were an important part of this effort as was building the decorative arts collections for the Historical Commission and subsequently the Cultural and Heritage Commission. Fairey has been a member of numerous state and regional historical organizations, has been a preservation consultant and has received the Governor's Award for Historic Preservation.

Vicki Huggins Cook

For 15 years, Vicki Huggins Cook worked tirelessly in this community to focus attention on the arts and culture, and the roles they could play in improving the quality of life here. In 1985, Cook was hired as the executive director of the Rock Hill Arts Council (RHAC). Two years later, the RHAC moved from an office in the York County Library building to the Federal Building. Space in the building was then made available for meetings, receptions, concerts and dramatic performances... and the Arts Council grew. Under the City's "Empowering the Vision" program, the RHAC became the lead agency in carrying out the recommendations for increasing cultural opportunities and awareness of the arts in Rock Hill. Cook was one of the leaders who gave voice to the future of the arts and launched the "arts" phase of this important community program. Next she turned her energies to finding a permanent home for the RHAC and establishing a presence for the arts in the "revitalizing" downtown. With the participation of the National Endowment for the Arts, the South Carolina Commission, the City of Rock Hill and numerous area arts enthusiasts the Center for the Arts became a reality... and the Arts Council thrived. Through national teleconferences, founding arts festivals and many other creative "arts collaborations," Vicki Huggins Cook has made her mark on the Rock Hill arts scene and has insured its survival for the future. She retired in 2000 but continues to advocate and advise on behalf of the arts.

Murray B. White

Selfless service are two words that describe Murray B. White and his life. A Fort Mill native, White served his country in both the U. S. Army and the South Carolina Army National Guard. He has been a member of the Fort Mill Jaycees, the Fort Mill Chamber of Commerce and the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce. Each of those organizations has benefited from White's leadership as an officer and Board member. However, it is for his involvement in conservation and preservation that he was recognized as a Keeper of the Culture. He served a total of 12 years on the York County Council including two terms as Chairman. In that role, White was always mindful of the need for development and change but careful that it come in the most environmentally conscious manner possible. Murray B. White is recognized by many as a champion for the environment and a visionary for the future. He has committed many years to organizations such as the York County Forever Commission, Nation Ford Land Trust and the Catawba River Task Force. Through these organizations White has insured the preservation of green spaces, the protection of important land resources and the protection of the Catawba River and its environs. Preserving these resources for future generations while ensuring their care for today has been one of White's many contributions to this county. He has supported the Culture & Heritage Museums (CHM) and its environmental educational efforts for many years and has over the years become a true "Keeper" of our natural heritage.


Robert C. Doster

Bob Doster has been an influential artist in both the educational and commercial fields for more than 30 years. His monumental sculptures and functional artwork can be seen in galleries, museums, private collections and public displays from the corporate collections of Saks Fifth Avenue and Founders Federal Credit Union to the State Art Collection of the South Carolina Arts Commission. A South Carolina native, Doster has owned and operated his studio and gallery, Backstreet Studios, in Lancaster since 1975. Doster's unique style of metal design ranges from the whimsical feel of free floating steel in multicolored tables and accent pieces to the distinction of monumental sculpture. Perfect for the private collector's home or offices, as well as for public display, a Doster design reflects the bold individualism and impeccable taste of the owner. Doster has been commissioned to create works of art for cities, universities and organizations throughout the U.S. With the benefit of Doster's instruction, student creations can also be seen on the grounds of schools (grades preK-12) across South Carolina. As a resident artist, he has contributed to the enhancement of over 100,000 students' educations. When tight budgets made artist residencies unattainable, he welcomed students to his studio, gallery and garden to ensure their accessibility to the arts. Doster has received numerous awards for artistic achievement and is actively involved in numerous cultural organizations. He was most recently awarded the 2006 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts for Individual Artist --- South Carolina's highest award for the arts.

Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, Ph.D

Dr. Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, Co-Founder of the Afro-American Cultural Center in Charlotte, incorporated the wisdom of the following Chinese proverb in her teaching style to engage her audiences: "Tell me, I forget. Show me, I may remember. Involve me, and I'll understand." As she blazed new trails wherever she went, Maxwell-Roddey never failed to call upon the insights of the past to guide her. As she quotes philosopher Santayana, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It is that "historic memory" of strength and wisdom of the ancestors that she so generously gives in interactive lectures and workshops that enlighten and empower audiences everywhere. In the 60's, as an elementary school principal, she led the desegregation efforts in the Charlotte-Mecklenberg School System. As founding Chairperson of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's Department of Afro-American and African Studies, upon her retirement, she was named Frank Porter Graham Professor Emeritus. In 1977, Dr. Maxwell-Roddey founded the National Council for Black Studies, an organization dedicated to the research and study of African American life and culture. Twenty years later, the organization bestowed upon her its first Queen Mother's Award. As the 20th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Dr. Maxwell-Roddey established a ground-breaking partnership with Habitat for Humanity resulting in the construction of over 25 homes for low income families in the United States and Ghana.

Stephen R. McCrae, Jr

Steve McCrae, Jr. is a partner with K&L Gates in the real estate department and serves as partner-in-charge of the Rock Hill office. He focuses his practice on commercial real estate development, land use and zoning and governmental relations. He has received numerous awards related to his legal work such as "Community Service Award" by York County Attorneys Association along with the "Best Commitment Award" by the South Carolina Law Review. His belief in the value of historic preservation and the arts to our communities coupled with his legal expertise has made him an ardent and effective advocate for promoting culture and heritage. He was instrumental in advancing the City of York's historic preservation efforts and York now has one the largest historic districts in South Carolina. Among his historic preservation initiatives, McCrae helped lead a process to collaborate with the York School District and community members to "save" the McCelvey School from being razed in the 1980s when it became excess property. He went on to become a founding member of the board of directors for McCelvey Arts Center and helped secure funds for improvements including the renovation of its theater that led to its establishment as a leading performing arts venue in the region. He has served in numerous leadership capacities with organizations such as the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, Rock Hill Arts Council, South Carolina Governor's Task Force for Historic Preservation, and the Culture and Heritage Commission of York County, among others.


Strauss Moore Shiple

A descendent from the Brattonsville Plantation, Strauss Moore Shiple is the epitome of how an individual can keep the culture in her daily life. In search of her roots in the broadest sense, Moore Shiple expresses her search in all that she is and does. As a pastor with a ministry of spiritual development drawn from her ancestors' religious and work orientation, her ministry promotes spiritual development and healing, helping people to adopt values to fulfill their emotional, physical, social and intellectual needs. As her Keeper's nominator Dr. Bertha Maxwell-Roddey noted, "She has been created and transformed through the culture of her people's values and behavioral preferences that made up their lifestyle from the traditional African culture, the slave period, the rural period and into the urban period." Moore Shiple embodies her roots in her personae as a living history interpreter at Historic Brattonsville and other sites, bringing to life the sum of her and her ancestors' experiences to share with others. "The experience of her ancestors did not make her bitter but made her better." Moore Shiple also plays a role in keeping the culture of York County and other South Carolina communities in her work life. As a team member of the Olde English District, she promotes tourism of the region's cultural, historical support to help these cultural resources thrive rather than just survive.

Ann A. Spencer

Ann Spencer has been devoted to improving the quality of our lives through her museum career and service to her community. Beginning at the Museum of York County and spanning nearly three decades, she led the advancement of the Culture & Heritage Museums and promoted its benefits to the community. When the Museum of York County was transforming itself into a professional museum organization, and during the period of adjustment following its merger to create the Culture & Heritage Museums, she provided stable leadership for its staff while continuing to raise its profile. In doing so she laid the foundation for volunteer support based on community appreciation of the Museum's growth and expanded service. Spencer also played the key role to grow vital financial support necessary to protect York County's cultural resources. Her fundraising prowess was fueled by her personal passion. A former teacher, Spencer has been a special advocate for education programs for school groups and life-long learners. She engaged countless volunteers and their families in programs and serving children was always on her mind. She appreciated the noisy excitement of schoolchildren outside her office door as an affirmation of what she was working for rather than a distraction. Her tireless efforts to enhance quality of life expanded far beyond her experience within the Museum's walls. She is widely admired for contributing her time and talents to other organizations that make up our community fabric and she continues to do so today. Throughout her life Spencer has been a living example of the Culture & Heritage Museum's mission "to create an enlightened and engaged citizenry." She has made an enormous impact on generations of people to inspire them to keep the culture through the course of their own lives.

Jim & Judy Udick

For decades, Jim and Judy Udick have made an enormous contribution to our community through their tireless hands-on volunteer work and support for myriad organizations. As patrons of the arts, preservationists, and avid outdoor people, the Udicks had a special affinity for organizations devoted to keeping cultural, historical and natural heritage. These included the Museum of York County, Historic Brattonsville, McCelvey Center, Yorkville Artist Guild and the Arts Council of York County, among others. They also were outstanding financial patrons and played key leadership roles on boards and committees for these groups; but that is but a part of what they have done to support organizations that keep the culture. Always in the forefront as volunteers, they pitched in and cook, clean up, set up, organize, entertain, decorate and generally do "whatever it takes" to produce successful fundraising events and other public programs for the organizations they have served over the years. The dictionary word "volunteers" could be redefined simply with the words "Jim and Judy." Their volunteer work extended far beyond the cultural arena as they led support for many other entities that, when woven together, constitute the "culture" of our larger community fabric. The Udicks are inspirers. Whether for cultural institutions or other community groups, they eagerly enlisted others to get involved in program activities, membership, participation in special events and donors; tasks made easier by their example. They did all of this without seeking thanks but there is no doubt that many organizations that keep the culture owe a great debt of gratitude to their work.


Dan Huntley

Over the course of his 25-year career as a journalist and author, Dan Huntley has written countless stories of people and place in our region. Huntley's love for the place that he calls home and its people inspires him to capture the many stories that, woven together, reveal the cultural fabric of York County and South Carolina. His body of work displays his commitment to authenticity, reporting the facts while capturing the subtle textures of life in the South. Readers are transported by his stories, observing alongside him the many nuances otherwise lost to history. Huntley has extended his art of storytelling into his passion for Southern food, sharing his vast knowledge through various media including regional and national magazines, radio and television. From interviews on National Public Radio's The Splendid Table to authoring Extreme Barbecue, an exploration of the diverse ways that people throughout the nation prepare barbecued foods, Huntley has established himself as a leading expert. His commitment to preserving and promoting historic and contemporary Southern traditions is evident through the many feasts prepared by his catering business. Guests not only enjoy barbecued pork, salt-and-pepper catfish, low-country shrimp boil, or some other regional delicacy, but the stories of these foods within the context of people and place. Through his craft, Dan Huntley plays a significant and invaluable role not only in keeping our cultural, historical and natural heritage, but in communicating it to generations to come.

Lindsay Pettus

For more than three decades, Lindsay Pettus has played a leading role in preserving the cultural, historical and natural heritage of the Catawba River Basin. In 1992, he founded the Katawba Valley Land Trust dedicated to protecting open space, waters, archaeological resources, and vistas of aesthetic value in the Catawba River valley and surrounding areas. Along the way, he has continued to pursue his lifelong interest in archaeology and history and has developed one of the most important collections of historic and contemporary Catawba Indian pottery. He also helped to establish the University of South Carolina at Lancaster as a major study center for Catawba Indian history and culture. Through Pettus's leadership and dedication, more than 7,550 acres in five South Carolina counties have been conserved in perpetuity for future generations, including property adjacent to the Landsford Canal and the environment for the Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies; the 1,540 Heritage Tract near Great Falls, one of the largest undeveloped tracts along the Catawba River; and Cotton Hills Farm in Lowrys, home place of his fellow Keepers honorees, the Jeff Wilson Family. Pettus has received numerous local, regional and national honors for his efforts including the Nature Conservancy's highest honor, the Oak Leaf Award, and the BMW Conservation Award by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, presented for lifetime achievement in the field of conservation.

The Jeff Wilson Family

Since 1882, a Wilson has farmed the land at Cotton Hills Farm in Lowrys, SC. From droughts to hard economic times, keeping a farm running has not been easy, forcing many farmers to quit and sell their businesses. Yet, generations of Wilson men and women have worked hard to keep their heritage alive and well. In a time of fast food, video games and iPods, life on a farm and the business of agriculture is foreign to many children in today's world. As a result, in 2000, Jeff and Carol Wilson seized the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of area schoolchildren by offering a quality school program that continues to this day. Children leave Cotton Hills Farm with a better understanding of where their food and clothing come from. Although much of the program focuses on acricultural methods, students are always taken on a trip back in time, when Native Americans first hunted the land and early Wilson farmers worked the land with nothing more than a couple of ornery mules. A focus on the future concludes each program, with a message on doing one's part to conserve and care for our environment. The Wilson Family's deep love, understanding and respect for their family farmland inpired their decision to protect it for future generations. In October 2007, the Wilson Family placed Cotton Hills Farm into a conservation easement. While they might have profited from selling the land to a developer, keeping the land as farmland was a much more valuable venture. Thanks to the Wilson Family, along with the hard work of conservation organizations such as the Katawba Valley Land Trust, the Nations Ford Land Trust, and York County Forever, Cotton Hills Farm will long stand as a fine example of American agriculture, giving all who visit a glimpse of our region's and state's proud past and promising future.


Bernie Ackerman

Bernie Ackerman is the embodiment of "Servant Leadership."  Since his return to York County in 1977, he has generously given his time and talents to countless organizations that contribute to York County's culture and quality of life.  From the Culture & Heritage Museums to the Carolina Thread Trail and Nation Ford Land Trust to the York County Community Foundation and United Way of York County, the impact of his service and leadership is broad and deep.  In short, Ackerman has played a significant role in making York County a great place to live.

Ackerman's deep passion and commitment to preserving the natural landscapes and cultural heritage of the region is evident through his work in recent years with two key organizations.  As a board member for the Carolina Thread Trail and a founding board member of the Nation Ford Land Trust, Ackerman has been instrumental in helping the Carolina Thread Trail create a network of trails designed to connect conserved lands, cultural sites and educational opportunities and, thus, a platform to connect people to nature and their collective heritage.  He is committed to educating and inspiring others to be informed, to care for, and to take action to preserve our cultural, historical and natural heritage.

Bernie Ackerman's deep understanding of community, acute vision for the future and action-oriented leadership style catapult him to the top of a remarkable group of leaders - past, present and future - who have made a tremendous positive impact on York County.

Barre Mitchell

One cannot look at civic life in York County without seeing - front and center - Barre Mitchell.  Mitchell has served and held volunteer leadership roles with the Arts Council of York County, the American Red Cross, the Quality of Life Committee of the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation and the Culture & Heritage Museums, among others.

Well known among his peers and colleagues as a strategic thinker, Mitchell - a former engineer - put his skills to good use when he helped the Arts Council of York County achieve a long-time dream of a community performance venue in Rock Hill.  Thanks to Mitchell's patience, persistence and selfless leadership, the Arts Council of York County, in partnership with the City of Rock Hill and Comporium, opened the Community Performance Center in September 2009.  As a result, Mitchell was awarded the Ben Ardrey Volunteer Award by the Arts Council of York County at its annual meeting in June 2010.

Another organization that has greatly benefited from Mitchell's leadership, skills and expertise is the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation.  As Chairman of the Quality of Life Committee, Mitchell was instrumental in guiding the committee in creating a prioritized list of projects for action, which included the Community Performance Center, the new museum on the Catawba River, and support for the Carolina Thread Trail system in Rock Hill and York County.

Barre Mitchell's dedication to enriching our quality of life coupled with his passion for arts and culture will have a lasting effect on the children and adults of York County for generations to come.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams has demonstrated the highest level of commitment to keep, communicate and connect our local culture and heritage.  A prominent businessman, volunteer and philathropist, Williams has worked tirelessly to help ensure that the distinguished history of York County is preserved for many generations.

At the forefront of his efforts was the renovation of the Old Cotton Factory, which has been at the center of the revitalization of downtown Rock Hill.  Williams has a deep love and passion for history, which is obvious to all who visit the Williams & Fudge, Inc. offices at the Cotton Factory, suffused with history and culture in the form or artwork, including a commissioned piece of public art harkening back to days long gone, historic photographs, and artifacts from the quickly vanishing railroad and textile industries.

For Williams, keeping the culture is more than just history and preservation.  It is also about providing access and opportunity and improving the quality of life for all within York County's borders.  Williams and his wife Peggy, along with their children David and Alice, have made lifelong commitments to children in York County, making countless contributions of time, talents and resources to organizations that serve children, including the Children's Attention Home and Charter School.  Williams has served on the boards of the Rock Hill School District #3, York County Community Foundation, and Culture & Heritage Museums, to name a few, leveraging these relationships to foster partnerships that improve the lives of children.

Gary Williams' leadership, service and entrepeneurship have made an indelible mark on York County.