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History Center lauds volunteer of year

Posted 1/17/23

The Oneida County History Center, 1608 Genesee St., has named Dennis Dewey as the organization’s Volunteer of the Year during its recent annual meeting.

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History Center lauds volunteer of year

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UTICA — The Oneida County History Center, 1608 Genesee St., has named Dennis Dewey as the organization’s Volunteer of the Year during its recent annual meeting.

Dewey was chosen for his creativity and dedication to the History Center by his co-volunteers, staff, and board of directors, the announcement said, adding that volunteers are essential to the daily operation and long-term care of the organization and are an invaluable asset to the community.

While Dewey has been a History Center volunteer for only two years, he has already made a tremendous impact bringing new skills and ideas to the organization, according to agency officials. In 2022 he assisted at outreach tables, led a Utica Shoe District walking tour, recorded and edited countless hours of History Center public programs that are available on the History Center YouTube channel, established an outreach program at Preswick Glen, and created and produced a documentary about the 2021 Westernville Tornado.

Dewey’s work has helped the History Center to expand its reach and share Oneida County history with new audiences, the announcement said. 

Dewey volunteers because he has always been a history buff, and retirement affords him the time. He enjoys learning about local history, meeting people, and creative activities. He said, “history is about telling stories, and stories engage.” Formerly a professional storyteller, Dewey found the History Center a good fit. “It’s how we understand the past and share our experiences.”

Aside from his obvious enjoyment of history, Dewey enjoys kayaking, music (listening, singing, and composing), reading, playing with his grandsons, and cooking. He has also volunteered for Olmsted City, Celeste Friend’s campaigns, and the United Way tax preparation program for low-income households. 

Upcoming projects for Dewey at the History Center include a continuation of his outreach and videography efforts, a dive into agricultural history in collaboration with local historian Janice Reilly, and a new documentary about famous 19th-century English author Charles Dickens and his unexpected visit to Utica in March 1868, the announcement added.

Dewey is one of the more than two dozen volunteers who help our local history thrive, History Center officials said, adding “We are grateful for enduring, enthusiastic volunteers and community members like Dennis.”

The Oneida County History Center is a private, not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to preserving the history, heritage, and culture of the Greater Mohawk Valley for present and future generations.

For information on the History Center call 315-735-3642 or visit www.oneidacountyhistory.org.

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