"History Hero" awards are presented on History Day, an annual event at the West Virginia Division of Culture and History in Charleston. The recipients of the award are individuals who have made significant contributions to the preservation of local or regional history.
The team of James Edward Dague and Karen Dennison Hucko spent many months recording tombstone inscriptions at Mt. View Cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries in Marshall County. Because James was born with cerebral palsy, it was a physical challenge for him to navigate the uneven terrain of the cemetery. But he persevered because his revered ancestors are buried there. With many deteriorating gravestones and no comprehensive list of the burials, it was very important to him that he compile the list before the stones eroded further, and while he can still walk. - It was a logistical challenge for Karen because she lives in Lisbon, Columbiana County, Ohio. - However, after many more months of research to supplement the readings, Karen and James completed their list of nearly 2000 graves.
James has also researched the Dague and associated families, spent countless hours doing courthouse and library research, and collected many obituaries that he shares on the Internet.
READ THE LETTER that James wrote after he was notified of his History Hero nomination.
Karen has helped record tombstone inscriptions for numerous Marshall County cemeteries. She has also read tombstones in Wetzel County, West Virginia and in Washington County, Pennsylvania. She has transcribed Marshall County census records for presentation on the Internet. She is the author of books about the Richmond, Fletcher and Dennison families, and she compiled a book of Richmond family obituaries. Additionally, Karen has researched, ordered and set government-issued headstones for eleven Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers in Marshall County.
Karen's work is ongoing but READ ABOUT some of her achievements.
At the time of the History Hero event, James was staying in Charleston for a few months, working for the State Legislature. Karen Hucko drove down from Ohio for the event and Linda Fluharty flew up from Louisiana.
Due to an oversight, Orphy Klempa, Delegate of the Third District, did not recognize his Wheeling area History Heroes from the House Floor on History Day. However, he issued a public apology via the Wheeling Intelligencer & News Register. Additionally, since James was residing in Charleston, Mr. Klempa recognized James from the floor of the House of Delegates and then gave James a special citation in the House Chambers.
Governor Joe Manchin was not present at the History Hero event but James had his photo taken with governor on 10 March 2008.