2024-02 Volunteer Appreciation Award – Sam Hillman

Home » 2024-02 Volunteer Appreciation Award – Sam Hillman

February 2024 VAA Winner

Our February Volunteer Appreciation Award goes to Sam Hillman, our “book doctor”. You might have had to have “accessioner” defined for you, but I’ll bet you all understand what this volunteer does – he repairs our books. He reattaches the loose pages, tightens the gap between the pages and the spine, repairs broken hinges, and fixes covers that have come off. But I’ll bet you don’t know who our book doctor is.

He grew up in Southern Illinois and spent his career as a Planning Engineer working for Caterpillar – the company, he says, “makes the little yellow earth moving equipment.” He and his wife moved to Arizona in 2000 when he retired.

Sam got really serious about his genealogy a couple of years ago and first found his mother’s foster parents and then, with the help of DNA, her biological parents. Or that his great-great-grandfather was born in Germany, relocated to England, was in the British army for two years, and then came to this country and enlisted in the 99th Illinois Infantry Volunteers to fight in our Civil War. He says, “finding these details makes me want to discover more about him. That is the same feeling I have about every one of my ancestors I have found”.

He joined WVGS in 2016 and, unlike many of the volunteers we’ve honored, has only four mentions in Tidbits, the first as a new member and the rest for donations. He briefly volunteered for the CDC but found his calling in repairing books. “My mother and grade school teachers instilled a deep respect for books and what was inside them. My education, income and I guess my entire way of life is due to the many books that are, and have been in my life. So, when I saw an article in WVGS news seeking a volunteer to repair books, I knew I needed to do that.” Then he went to YouTube and figured out how to repair books – something he had never done before.

It’s unlikely most of you have ever met him or even seen him, including here today. He agreed to let us give him the Award, but wouldn’t come to get it. Chris will give it to him and take a picture the next time he comes by to pick up more books that need doctoring. Thank you, Sam.

West Valley Genealogical Society