Les Stees and his brother, Gene Stees, were honored recently for their community service.
They were presented with the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) Community Service Award for their contribution of more than 1,000 hours to the Geneseo Historical Museum project of adding an education wing to the museum.
Cheryl Chamberlain, chairman of the Geneseo Chapter, NSDAR Community Service Award Committee, presented the two men with certificates recognizing their volunteer service.
Chamberlain said, “The purpose of the Community Service Award is to recognize worthy local people from a variety of walks of life for outstanding achievements in educational, humanitarian, patriotic, historical or citizenship endeavors.”
The recipient is expected to have contributed to his or her community in an outstanding voluntary heroic, civic or benevolent manner or participated in or organized community activities.
Chamberlain said the Community Service Award is a NSDAR National Level Award.
“On the state level, the state chairman selects a first-, second- and third-place winner for the state, and Les and Gene Stees were awarded third place at the state level,” she explained.
Mary Gustafson, regent, Geneseo Chapter NSDAR, said the cost of the project at the museum was estimated at $120,000 to $150,000.
“With the bad economy there was little hope of being able to undertake such a huge project,” she said. “The two brothers, Les and Gene, stepped forward and spearheaded the project by donating more than 1,000 hours of their time, and because of their contribution, the project was completed for less than $100,000.”
The Stees brothers were recommended for the award by Angie Snook, curator of the Geneseo Museum, who, in a letter, wrote, “These men had the vision for the new ‘Stees and Keppy Education Addition’ to the museum for our children and adult educational programs.
“They had the foresight to look toward the future for the museum’s educational and genealogical needs. Les donated more than 1,200 hours to the project and Gene gave nearly 800 hours. They also initiated others to join them in sharing their time and talents to make this dream a reality for the museum and for the community,” Snook said.
“Les accomplished this while going through 35 cancer radiation treatments. Over the past 12 years at the museum, Les has designed and helped build the brick wall that displays the old bricks and medallions from the old Geneseo High School and the Geneseo Armory with the help of his brother, Gene, and others,” she said.
Les also refinished the south open staircase and large walnut library cupboard, poured numerous sidewalks, helped care for the gardens, and supervised so many other needed projects at the museum.”
“The Stees brothers always find time to help others,” Snook said.