CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Culture and History recognized five state legislators today for their contributions to West Virginia history programs. The presentations of the division’s new History Advocate award were made by Senator Joe Manchin at the annual History Heroes awards program this morning at the Culture Center.

The legislative leadership awards were presented to Sen. William R. Laird (D-Fayette), Sen. Dave Sypolt (R-Preston), Del. Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha), Del. Michael Ferro (D-Marshall) and Del. Ruth Rowan (R-Hampshire).

“Each of these legislators makes contributions to our state with their advocacy for the importance of West Virginia history,” said Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. “They support programs in their communities that place value on historic resources and activities that encourage students and life-long learners to learn more about our state’s history.”

During their government careers, each of the awardees has been active in historic preservation and education programs that ensure their communities will showcase the state’s rich history for residents and visitors alike. 

“We appreciate the efforts of our legislators to understand the processes involved in historic preservation, preservation of historic county records and educational programs such as the West Virginia State History Bowl,” said Reid-Smith. “Balancing an appreciation of the past with the challenges of present and future initiatives takes thoughtful consideration. We believe these legislators strive for that balance.”

Authorized by the Legislature, West Virginia History Day commemorates local groups’ efforts to preserve, protect and promote the study of the Mountain State’s past. The West Virginia Division of Culture and History joins the Archives and History Commission, West Virginia Historical Society, West Virginia Humanities Council, Friends of West Virginia Culture and History, Mining Your History Foundation, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, Inc. and West Virginia Association of Museums as organizers of the event.

For more information, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner of the division, at (304) 558-0220.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.