Linda Thomas was chosen because she has been an "amazingly versatile volunteer," according to her nomination, which went on to say:
"Devoting almost 400 hours of her time in 2014, Linda has done everything from working the front desk to baking bread in our outdoor bread oven and teaching wood fired bread baking classes to groups through our local community college, and donating her stipend back to the site.
She frequently combines her love of food preparation and historic knowledge with her volunteer time here. Linda has provided homemade food stuffs as favors for our bus tour groups as well as researched Harmonist recipes to come up with ideas to serve at our many festivals. Donning her Harmonist garb and up to ears in soot from the oven Linda frequently serves up tasty treats to our visitors during Living History weekends.
Always willing to learn something new, her latest endeavor has her demonstrating the art of Silk Reeling. Linda interprets many aspects of the Harmonists’ lifestyle. Whether it’s baking pies, stirring up Harmonist Stew or researching how to clean our cast iron cauldrons, we can count on Linda. If another volunteer can’t make it for their assigned work hours Linda has been known to show up to fill the void. She often calls just to see if we need her help. The answer is YES!
In addition to her volunteer time at Old Economy Village, Linda is on the Board of The Ladle, our local soup kitchen where she does the shopping and cooking for the Monday night meals. She is also a member and past president of the Ambridge Rotary Club, where she heads up many of their fundraising efforts by making and selling funnel cakes.
A devoted wife, mother and daughter she is the 'rock' of her family. She is our 'rock,' too. That is why Linda Thomas is The Friends of Old Economy Village 2014 Volunteer of the Year."
Volunteers dedicate more than 100,000 hours of service each year to help PHMC provide much-needed programs and services. Each spring for nearly 40 years, volunteers and commission leadership gather to say "thank you" and honor exceptional volunteer service.
In addition to volunteers, two honorees, Robert F. Miller from the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Galeton, Potter County, and Kelly Ruoff from Bushy Run Battlefield in Jeannette, Westmoreland County, received Outstanding Service Awards for long-term volunteer participation and exceptional dedication.
Each of the historic sites and museums on the Pennsylvania Trails of History are invited to designate a Volunteer of the Year based on service in the preceding calendar year.