COLUMBUS — Heritage Ohio in partnership with Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area hosted the 7th annual Appalachia Heritage Luncheon on Dec. 12 in the atrium of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

Eight organizations — businesses and people from the Appalachia region — including Zoar Historic Village were honored at the luncheon for their outstanding work in the Appalachia region for community development and historic preservation.

In attendance were senators and representatives of the Appalachia region that represent the districts of each honoree. Each senator or representative introduced their honoree who gave a brief "3-Minute Success Story" highlighting the rich culture and heritage behind their organization or business.

The honorees in addition to Zoar Village included: Adena Health Systems; Appalachia Ohio Alliance; Madog Center for Welsh Studies; New Straitsville History Group; Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad; Mary Crosset, founder of Murphin Ridge Inn; and John Maddox of the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing.

New this year was the Sam Jones Model Citizenship Award named after its first winner, Sam Jones, for his work in the Glouster community at "Sam’s Gym". Sam has helped mold young people for generations, helping to form character and encouraging reading through his successful book drives.

Heritage Ohio’s mission is helping people to: save the places that matter, build community, and live better. Heritage Ohio is the leading statewide, non-profit preservation organization, dedicated to encouraging and assisting people and organizations to protect and preserve Ohio’s heritage and cultural resources.

Formed in 1989, Heritage Ohio is supported by members ranging from individuals and businesses to organizations and local governments.

In addition, Heritage Ohio has been the designated coordinating agency by The National Main Street Center since 1997. Learn more by visiting

Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area is a non-profit, membership organization encompassing Appalachian Ohio’s 32 counties and representing the largest state- designated heritage area in Ohio. The goal is to promote heritage activities throughout the region and provide networking opportunities for individuals, organizations, and communities interested in the preservation and appropriate development of the historical, cultural, recreational, and economic resources of the region.