Known as the “newest expert on Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground”, Eric Bigham was selected as the BHA’s Volunteer of the Year. First presented in 1986, this award was established by the Piver children to honor their parents, Edward and Frances Piver. Over the years this award has come to represent the epitome of volunteerism. It is given to the volunteer who always gives 110% for the BHA.Bigham, a part time resident of Beaufort and Chapel Hill, has been involved with the BHA since 2006, winning the Newcomer of the Year in 2011. He started serving on the Old Burying Ground Committee and giving tours of the historic cemetery. He has diligently photographed and recorded the history of every gravesite in the town’s Old Burying Ground. For the last 5 years, Eric has quickly become involved with more than just the Old Burying Ground. He is now an invaluable member of the BHA’s Board of Governors and assists with all of our major educational programs and tours.
Another volunteer recognized was Tricia Phillips for the Longevity Award. Her parents, Gilbert & Pat Potter, spent many hours getting the Association started in the 1960’s and were among the first dedicated volunteers. Tricia has served on most of the BHA committees and was President of the Board of Governors in 1999 and 2000. Then last year, after retiring, she decided to return as a weekly volunteer to this organization that has always been a part of her family. Now, she volunteers as one of the hosts welcoming visitors and fielding the many phone calls in the Visitors Center. She also gives tours and helps with educational programs. It’s wonderful to see the dedication that Tricia Phillips continues to show to this organization that her parents helped found and grow.The Newcomer Award was presented to Sandy Treadway who has been involved less than a year starting with the Volunteer Training last March. After a career as a teacher and guidance counselor she jumped in to BHA activities with both feet from being a Welcome Center volunteer to leading tours to spending hours helping with Harvest Time and Kindergarten Thanksgiving and on to becoming a video star for one of the newest BHA projects. The Fundraiser Award was given to a group this year rather than an individual. The Old Home Tour Committee was recognized for keeping an event new and fresh even after 55 years. Their new idea for 2014 was “The Men Who Cook” cookbook and kickoff event showcasing special recipes by the men of Beaufort. It’s the Old Homes Tour and Antiques Show Weekend, in addition to having the most net revenue of any event at the BHA, that continues to bring many visitors and shares what is special about Beaufort. It’s also the one event that brings national recognition year after year as the South East Tourism Society recognizes this weekend as one of the TOP 20 events in the South East for the month of June.
The BHA is operated with the help of a corps of over 300 volunteers. When museum professionals and tourists visit the Historic Site, the dedication of this many volunteers leaves a strong impression. Beaufort can be proud to have so many residents and part time residents who take such an interest in preserving the heritage of this town. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, please call 252.728.5225 to reserve your spot in the Volunteer Training session on March 12 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.