Sheriff David Walker and Messenger photographer Joe Duty were honored Monday at the annual appreciation luncheon of the Wise County Historical Society.
Kerry Clower of Alvord, president of the historical society, cited Walker for allowing the inmate work crews to maintain 45 historic cemeteries and other historic sites in the county.
Clower also applauded the sheriff for his work during the recent police chase and shooting that drew national media attention to Wise County. Walker handled media relations during the event.
“He was the face of our county and did very well and didn’t sound like a hick sheriff from a hick Texas county,” Clower said.
Duty was honored for his photography, something historians will look at and appreciate many years in the future.
“He does a wonderful job of recording Wise County history as it happens,” Clower said. Duty’s first picture was published in the Messenger in December 2001, and he became a full time staff member in 2002.
Duty’s work has earned awards from the National Newspaper Association, the Texas Press Association and other newspaper and professional photography organizations. “He can turn the mundane into something magical,” said Clower.
In expressing his appreciation, Duty said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity that the Messenger has given me, and I’m proud to call this place home.”
Rosalie Gregg, executive director of the historical society, mentioned the value of the Messenger archives dating back to 1880 that are housed at the historical museum.
“You would be surprised how many people, some of them from out of state, who use the newspaper archives,” Gregg said.
Clower praised Gregg for her work and understanding of the “system” to get state historical markers for Wise County. “Last year, because of state budget cuts, only 225 historical markers were awarded for the entire state and Wise County got three of them,” he said.
Gregg has spent more than 47 years working with the Wise County Historical Commission and the Wise County Historical Society. In 2011, she was honored for her work by the National Association of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
This year, the organization honored Sallie Andrews for her work in historical preservation in Wise County and the City of Grapevine, where she lives. She was also cited for her 24 years research into the history of the Wyandotte Indian Commission.