GREENVILLE — A member and volunteer reception took place at Bear’s Mill recently.
People shopped at a discount and enjoyed special holiday refreshments. According to Bear’s Mill Executive Director Marti Goetz, community support is vital.
“This evening is about appreciating our volunteers and members who support the mill,” Goetz said. “With so few staff members, the volunteers are crucial to the mill’s operation.”
Bear’s Mill Board Secretary Sally Rudy said approximately 25 volunteers work at the mill. Rudy, of Covington, is a three — year volunteer. Some of her duties are retail manager, bookkeeping, purchasing and accounts payable. When she retired as a Registered Nurse, she wanted to do something different from the medical field.
“When I first came out here, I really fell in love with this place,” she said. “It’s so fun volunteering here. I meet interesting people from all over. I even met someone from England.”
Board Member Lin Roberts, of Greenville, is a four — year volunteer. One of her duties is serving on the finance committee.
“It’s about preserving the history,” she said. “There were about 14 mills in the county and this is the only existing one. Our job is to preserve it, not only as volunteers, but as citizens .”
As the year winds down, Goetz is reflective. She collected some of her thoughts and shared them in a letter to the Friends of Bear’s Mill.
“Throughout this past year, many interesting people toured the mill and were fascinated by the grinding demonstration, browsed the mill store and marveled at the talents of local potters. Art exhibitions opened with parties, couples were married at the gazebo and tour groups gathered at the mill.”
A very big event took place in October, when the Friends of Bear’s Mill hosted the Society for Preservation of Old Mills National Conference. According to Goetz, more than 100 mill operators and supporters came, nation -wide, to see Bear’s Mill and other local mills and historic sites.
“It is no wonder that this year, Bear’s Mill was on the cover of the national publication of Old Mill News, as well as the Ohio History Connection’s magazine, Echoes. And recently announced: Bear’s Mill was voted ‘Best Historic Site in Ohio’ by Ohio Magazine for 2016 (See the January 2017 issue.),” she said.
“The Friends of Bear’s Mill is pleased and proud to have these recognitions, but cannot continue to share this special piece of history on volunteer efforts alone. You know how special it is to have an historic mill in Darke County, Ohio. If you are like me, you want to do all you can to preserve the mill to share with visitors for many more years. You can help make that happen by continuing to support the efforts of the Friends of Bear’s Mill by making a tax deductible donations. Our board, volunteers and staff are extremely appreciative of your generous support. Best wishes for very happy holidays,” Goetz said.
Send donations to Friends of Bear’s Mill, 6450 Arcanum-Bear’s Mill Road, Greenville, Ohio 45331. For more information visit bearsmill.com.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.