The Huntington County Historical Society is now free of debt, thanks to a gift from a "dedicated" member of the organization.
William "Bill" Shaneyfelt, of Huntington, presented a $10,000 donation to the historical society on Wednesday, Sept. 18 - enough to pay off the mortgage on the museum's addition, with enough left over to buy a projector, speaker and sound system to be used during museum programs.
"I always dreamed I could do something like this," Shaneyfelt said in presenting the gift.
In return, the historical society gave Shaneyfelt a lifetime membership.
Historical society member Gib Young said the seed for the gift was planted almost as a joke. Young, who had been trying to figure out a way the society could pay off its mortgage, ran into Shaneyfelt and a friend at a local restaurant and sat down with them. The talk turned to the museum mortgage and Young suggested to the friend that he should just write a check. It was Shaneyfelt, though, who took Young's words to heart.
"He felt called upon to do something for his community," Young says. "The more we talked, the more serious he got."
Shaneyfelt turned to his attorney son for advice, and came to the conclusion that he was in a position to help the historical society.
"I want to pay off your mortgage," Shaneyfelt told the membership during the presentation. "I want you to have a Power Point."
Shaneyfelt has been a "dedicated" member of the Huntington County Historical Society, museum director Sarah Schmidt says.
The gift, Shaneyfelt says, is "in honor of all the past people who have ever given anything to the historical society."