The public is welcome to join members and guests in attending to 2017 annual banquet of the Finney County Historical Society in Garden City, when two families with deep local roots will be recognized with the Finney County Pioneer Award. Set on Sydney’s foreshore with views across the city like no other, this would have to be one of the most picturesque Sydney picnic spots to be found.
The annual banquet and meeting are set for 7 p.m. April 22 in the fellowship hall of the Church of the Nazarene, 2720 N. Campus Drive. Those being honored with the 43rd Annual Pioneer Awards include the George W. and Helen Meeker family and the Ralph M. and Mary Jameson family.
Reservations are necessary before April 14. Dinner is $18 per person and the number to call is 620-272-3664. Reservations may be made in person by visiting the Finney County Historical Museum at 403 S. Fourth, where exhibit hours are 1-5 p.m. seven days weekly and office hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.
The event is sponsored by Fry Eye Associates and Homestead Assisted Living, both of Garden City.
The FCHS has been honoring local pioneers annually since 1974. Over the past four decades, more than 120 families, couples and individuals have received the award, which is based on long-term presence in Finney County and significant contributions to community history. Selections are made by the Pioneer Committee of the FCHS Board of Directors.
Recipients in 2016 included the Albert and Cecil Algrim family and the Gilbert and Eliza Jane Holmes family.
The Jameson family traces its Finney County roots back 87 years to the days of Dust Bowl in 1930. Ralph Jameson devoted his career to agriculture and became an accomplished farmer and stockman, taking an active role many years in the Garden City Co-Op. He and Mary Baldwin were married and belonged to the First Methodist Church, now the First United Methodist Church. Their sons Mack and Bill Jameson followed in the footsteps of their father, after one served in the U.S. Navy and the other in the U.S. Army. The grandchildren of the Jamesons are still contributing members of the community.
The Meekers also arrived in Garden City in 1930. George Meeker graduated from Kansas State University in 1943, became an air cadet and served during World War II in the Pacific. He and Helen Sorensen Meeker raised a family, some also still connected to the community, and took leadership roles in the Sunrise School District, Republican Party, Elks Lodge, Grange, American Legion, Chamber of Commerce and additional organizations. Meeker also served in the Kansas House of Representatives and ran for Congress.
In addition to the Pioneer Awards, the evening’s agenda includes election of FCHS board members and a fund-raising silent auction. Those attending will receive printed reports highlighting the society’s accomplishments during 2016, and those who belong to the FCHS may vote in the board election. The auction, taking place over the course of the evening, will include a variety of gift baskets, artwork, a mystery treasure chest and other donated items, with proceeds going to support the society’s mission of preserving the past to enlighten the future.