Where Past Meets Present

History Makers

Rock County Historical Society’s History Makers Event to Honor Local Achievers

The Rock County Historical Society is hosting the USO-themed History Makers on April 29, 2017 at The Armory, 10 S. High St., Janesville. The event is the Society’s largest fundraiser, while focusing on honoring community members who’ve made a difference. Food stations, a live auction and dancing to swing music will round out the evening.

“This year’s History Makers will be a new experience, bringing attendees back to the 1940’s – from the décor to the big band sounds,” said RCHS Executive Director Mike Reuter. “We are excited to be honoring local achievers throughout the evening.”

Bob Kimball is receiving the Generations Award. Kimball recently relocated the Frances Willard Schoolhouse to the Rock County Historical Society campus. He also donated the building that is now known as the Kimball Education Center.

Chris Rabuck will be posthumously honored with the Community Pride award. His popular social page called Growing Up in Janesville used the power of social media to engage present and past community members in sharing stories.

Jane and Mick Gilbertson will receive the Phoenix award. The couple has revived both the Janesville Performing Arts Center and the Armory, providing two now vibrant buildings for the community.

Sherry Thurner will be honored with the Scholar award. Thurner has dedicated her love of storytelling to sharing accounts of the permanent residents of Oak Hill Cemetery. She has given tours to hundreds of visitors, keeping the cemetery and those who rest there in the public consciousness.

Charles and Rebecca Cooner will receive the Good Neighbor award. Restoring their historic home, the Lovejoy Manor, was a labor of love for this couple. Like good neighbors, they continue to preserve the character of a cornerstone neighborhood in Janesville.

Gabriel Britt & Kyira Romero, students at Rock University High School, will receive the Young Historian Award. The two created and presented Atoms For Peace, examining the challenges of nuclear disarmament. These students are opening dialogues on global peace with world leaders and citizens.

A percentage of the event’s proceeds will go to support the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to honoring service to men and women of have served in our armed forces by creating and presenting a unique quilt to each. QOV will have a table at the event to connect its mission with event guests.

History Makers will be complete with a live and silent auction, along with a 50/50 raffle with the proceeds going to support the funding of internship programs for our Frances Willard School site each spring. History Makers runs from 6 – 9:30 p.m., with a VIP cocktail hour for RCHS members from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.rchs.us/historymakers or call RCHS at 608-756-4509.

Our Mission

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The Rock County Historical Society enriches and engages the communities in Rock County, Wisconsin through preservation and dissemination of the unique history and heritage of our area.


Gathering here today in the Rock River Valley, the Rock County Historical Society (RCHS) acknowledges the Indigenous People whose ancestors thrived for thousands of years in this region. RCHS welcomes all the First Nations as the nations pass along their native language and traditions to younger generations.

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