Three long-time volunteers have excelled in their efforts to assist the village and have become lead volunteers and good friends. From left are Deborah Carter of Clearwater, Mary Chernesky of Madeira Beach and Connie Allen of Indian Rocks Beach.
LARGO – There are more than 28 historic structures situated on 21 acres at Pinellas County’s Heritage Village in Largo, in addition to a museum, gift shop and library. A wide variety of events also are held at the village throughout the year.
To maintain all of this and keep things running smoothly, the village has come to rely heavily on volunteers.
Three long-time volunteers have excelled in their efforts to assist the village and have become lead volunteers and good friends.
Mary Chernesky was a director of the University of Florida Cooperative Extension in Hillsborough County before retiring. Chernesky says she always liked antiques and was looking for something to do when she first came to the village and talked to volunteer coordinator Paige Noel.
Noel told her they really needed someone to help out with their gardens. After seven years her role at the village has expanded greatly beyond the gardens.
A Madeira Beach resident, Chernesky co-chairs the annual County Jubilee Flea Market. Just recently she chaired the cleaning and packing up of the Turner Bungalow, a “new” historic house circa 1915 moved to the village from Clearwater. She calls the house a real prize and a neat addition once its restoration work is completed. Chernesky is also a member of the Pinellas County Historical Society, serving as recording secretary and hospitality chairperson. Next door, at Pinellas County Extension, she is a master gardener.
Deborah Carter of Clearwater is also a lead volunteer. A graduate in history at Florida State University, she worked for the Pinellas County school system for a number of years. Carter, along with fellow lead volunteer Connie Allen and others, is heavily involved in the Trees and Traditions program, part of the village’s annual old fashioned Christmas celebration.
Like Chernesky, Carter is also a member of the Historical Society. She is involved with the village gardens and co-chairs the annual flea market. Carter is very passionate and proud of the flea market and notes that all of the money raised goes back to the village assisting many restoration projects.
The third lead volunteer, Connie Allen, has a fondness for history. From Indian Rocks Beach, she has been a regular volunteer since 2006. In addition to being a Historical Society member, she too co-chairs the annual flea market. Like Chernesky and Carter, Allen also is involved with the village in other ways. In addition to being a docent along with her husband, she is also part of the conservation committee. This involves assisting in putting together the various exhibits the committee displays throughout the year.
Like Chernesky and Carter, Allen also enjoys the fun and friendship that comes with being a volunteer at Heritage Village. All three enjoy not only working with each other and the other volunteers but also the opportunity of meeting the many people who visit Heritage Village.
Chernesky believes that, volunteering has benefits. She believes volunteers tend to be healthier into their old age, are more involved and do not think of themselves so much but think of others. Each of these lead volunteers encourages others to discover the interesting and fun things that volunteering can bring, in addition to being able to help the community.
Noel believes the trio is a great asset to the village. She has always been a firm believer in volunteers, noting “they are the heart of Heritage Village” and what keeps history alive and a fun place to volunteer. She encourages all who may be thinking of volunteering to come out to the village and see for themselves the many varied and different opportunities that exist.
Heritage Village is located at 11909 125th St. N. in Largo. This living history museum brings more than 150 years of local history to life. Visitors can visit 28 authentic buildings and structures, and experience historical Pinellas County through hands-on exploration. Heritage Village has WI-FI availability.
Heritage Village is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. It is closed all Pinellas County holidays.