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Stephen L. Collins, of Shelbyville, was honored with the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Award during the 35th annual presentation of the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Historic Preservation Awards. The memorial award is the highest honor the foundation bestows each year during the ceremony, which took place Thursday, May 23, at the Governor’s Mansion.
The awards are presented in partnership with the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office. Collins is vice chairman of the council, chairman of the Kentucky Historic Properties Advisory Commission and longtime chairman of the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation. His fellow foundation board members chose to honor him this year for his lifetime of service to preservation.
Collins was presented the silver memorial cup by Marcheta Sparrow, secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
“Steve has many accomplishments to his credit, and his influence and service to history and preservation in the Commonwealth extends to every corner of the state,” Secretary Sparrow said. “He has served the preservation community since he was a teenager – giving his time, money and leadership to the field – and Kentucky is the better for it.”
The awards are presented each May, which is National Historic Preservation Month. They recognize those who have demonstrated an understanding of and appreciation for the value of preserving and reusing Kentucky’s historic resources, whether through the rehabilitation of an important structure or community resource, or lifetime commitment to encouraging and promoting historic preservation. The awards are named for the late Ida Lee Willis, a former Kentucky first lady who was appointed first executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Commission (now the Kentucky Heritage Council) in 1966. The foundation was chartered in 1979 to honor her efforts in helping preserve Kentucky’s historic and archaeological resources. Her daughter, Sally Willis Meigs, continues her mother’s legacy with her service on the foundation board.
Nominations for annual Ida Lee Willis Awards are announced each spring. For event and project photos or more information, visit the Kentucky Heritage Council website, www.heritage.ky.gov.