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Three New Inductees Into Steuben County Hall of Fame


A civil rights advocate, a pioneer photographer, and a county historian are the newest members of the Steuben County Hall Of Fame.

Georgia Verdier, of Corning, is a noted public servant and leader in the civil rights movement. While most recently an active resource in 2020 in the county’s police reform efforts, Verdi holds masters degrees in Education/Psychology and Public Service Administration. A retired New York State Department of Mental Health Health Care Manager and President of the local NAACP Verdier helps lead the association’s annual programming covering health care, criminal justice, education, civic engagement, and economic development. She has served on numerous community boards including Economic Opportunity Program Inc., the Guthrie Health Women’s Advisory Group, and the Corning Poverty Collaborative. A worldwide advocate for human rights, Verdier also was a member of the late U.S. Rep. Amory Houghton’s South African tour. In 2018, Verdier received the New York NAACP President’s Award, issued in recognition of her “devotion to the NAACP mission, contribution to the NAACP goals and immutable commitment to the ideals of equality and justice.”

Richard Sherer was a dedicated preserver of Steuben County’s long history, perhaps best widely known for his work during the county’s Bicentennial in 1996. A longtime Hammondsport/Urbana Historian and Steuben’s Historian for 14 years, he was active in promoting the Ark of Steuben/Joel Pratt and navigated the ark down the Chemung and Susquehanna rivers, starting on the Conhocton River. Sherer wrote Keuka Lake and The Grape, edited and compiled Steuben County: The First 200 Years, and helped in compiling the Jim Drake Stories. His efforts are considered responsible for providing a strong foundation for deepening Steuben’s understanding of its history.

Henry Marcus “Harry” Benner was a pioneer in his field of photography, becoming a semiofficial Glenn H. Curtiss photographer during Curtiss’ pre-World War I career, capturing some of the most famous images of Curtiss’ ground-breaking new aircraft and other aerial milestones, such as the flight of the White Wing in 1908. In what may be considered participation in early photojournalism, Benner’s immensely popular photographic postcards connected the public with Curtiss’ work and the rapid developments in aviation technology. Benner was a supporter and witness for Curtiss during the Wright patent infringement lawsuit and a member of the World War I Aerial Service. His photos are included in the Alexander Graham Bell Family Collection, and Smithsonian Institute’s “National Collection.”

The Steuben County Hall of Fame was established in 1976 and more than 130 people have been inducted. Their photos adorn the Hallway on the Top Floor of the Steuben County Office Building in Bath.

(portions of this article were submitted by the Steuben County Historian)

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