CHARLESTON -- On Nov. 9, Secretary of State Betty Ireland awarded the prestigious NASS Medallion Award to five outstanding West Virginians, recognizing their dedicated service to West Virginia in the areas of elections, civic education and service to state government.
"I have chosen this year, 2007, with the experience of a full election cycle and the demands of the federal Help America Vote Act, to express my gratitude to all five recipients, who have made such an outstanding difference, in the rich history, of how we vote in this country, and especially in this state." Secretary Ireland said.
The honorees include:
* John Denbigh, President and CEO of Casto & Harris, Inc., in Spencer, and along with his dedicated associates, supported all 55 counties in compliance with the Help America Vote Act during the 2006 election cycles.
* Ella Thompson Haddix: After West Virginia's own Senator Jennings Randolph finally got the 26th Amendment passed in 1971, which gave 18, 19 and 20 year olds the right to vote, Senator Randolph personally escorted Ella Thompson to the courthouse to be the first 18 year-old in the United States to register to vote. And, as a teacher for the past 33 years, at Tygart's Valley High School, in Mill Creek, Ella has continued to promote youth voter registration and participation.
* Dr. Hedda Haning is a Charleston physician, is a longtime citizen activist for elections, a member of WV Citizens for Election Integrity, and a true citizen expert for HAVA.
* Timothy R. Morris, Director of Corporate Development and Marketing for the Prestera Center for Mental Health Services, in Huntington. Tim helped spearhead a statewide campaign to help register more than 500 citizens with disabilities.
* Dr. Kat Williams is an associate professor of American History and Director of the Women's Studies program at Marshall University, and a newly appointed board member of the WV Women's Commission. Dr. Williams annually promotes Women's Equality Day at Marshall University. In 2005, along with Secretary Ireland, Dr. Williams organized an event to, in part, recognize the 85th Anniversary of Woman Suffrage, and celebrate the passage of the 19th
Amendment, giving women the right to vote. The Secretary of State's office continues to collaborate with Dr. Kat Williams in promoting equality in West Virginia.
Founded in 1904, NASS is the nation's oldest, non-partisan, professional organization for state officials. Secretary Ireland currently has the privilege of serving as the Secretary of this organization.
As recipients of the NASS Medallion Award, their efforts reflect the mission, purposes, and objectives of this very prestigious association, in the areas of elections, civic education and service to West Virginia.
"As West Virginia's Secretary of State, it is such a pleasure for me to present these awards, and recognize our five very distinguished and outstanding recipients." Ireland said.