Garden Club members Janice Kirchenbauer, Arlene Gamble, and Laurie Purmort collect this year's Isaac Van Wart group award presented by Theresa Mengerink. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Garden Club members Janice Kirchenbauer, Arlene Gamble, and Laurie Purmort collect this year's Isaac Van Wart group award presented by Theresa Mengerink. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – Train enthusiast Chuck White received this year’s Van Wert Historical Society individual Isaac Van Wart award while the Van Wert Garden Club was awarded with this year’s Isaac Van Wart group award at Thursday night’s monthly meeting.

Historical Society president Theresa Mengerink presented White with the award and lauded his work in bringing Van Wert’s railroad history back to life through organization of various area train shows as well as the train exhibit at the museum.

“He is really restoring the interest in our train history in this area,” said Mengerink, who noted that White’s hard work is even establishing train shows in surrounding counties. “It is an honor to present him with this award this year."

“This award is given to individuals who help make history important to our community,” continued Mengerink. “He has organized the Heritage Train Show, a lot of our train displays and the caboose on the grounds.”

“None of this would be possible if it wouldn’t be for the support I have from area train enthusiasts and all of this help and support I have received from the museum,” said White. “The entire museum staff is a great effort. “

“I happen to be in the center of it all,” continued White. “I that we are on track for having some wonderful train events round here.”

White said that he has already sold 107 tables for displays for this year’s train show, a large increase over other years, and there is still time for it to enlarge.

“We still have time for more people to get room for more train displays,” continued White. “We’ve been getting donations from other places and other sources.”

White said that many people don’t realize the prominence of train history in the Van Wert area.

“At one point the headquarters from the Cincinnati Northern Railroad was in Van Wert,” said White. “We have a lot of people in this community with a good knowledge of the railroad. These shows are bringing a lot of money to the community.”

Mengerink also lauded the work of the Garden Club for its work on the Historical Society grounds, especially by the side of the log cabin.

“They have shared a lot of research of historical flowers that have been of a real benefit to the society,” said Mengerink. “We deeply appreciate all of our work around the community.”