By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
Ohio school teacher, Sue Pinero, relocated to Picayune 23 years ago and has made a difference in the community ever since.
“I wanted to move closer to what remained of my family. I had a daughter who was teaching in Jefferson Parish, La. I also had cousins who lived here, in Picayune. I came here and applied to teach; I was immediately hired at Westside Elementary. I worked there from 1989 to 2000, when I retired. I continued to substitute teach for many years after I retired,” said Pinero.
Throughout the years, Pinero has been active in the community through the Trinity Methodist Church, Civic Woman’s Club of Picayune and working at the family antique store, Pinero’s Antique Store, on West Canal.
“It kept us very busy for many years, before we closed it to retire,” said the mother to four and grandmother of five.
“We also traveled a lot and have really enjoyed our retirement. But a year ago when a friend invited me to come and volunteer at the Hilda Hoffman Memorial Archives, I couldn’t say no.”
That invitation ignited a passion in Pinero.
“I just came to help and was such a beginner but my friend is an experienced, long-time genealogist and she showed me the ropes.”
Today, just one year later, Pinero is the chairman of the non-profit organization. Her biggest delight is seeing the progress the location has made in just one year through the work of its volunteers. The interior which was being remodeled when it first opened has been completed. It now boasts a research room where records have been sorted chronologically, by name. These are records waiting to be put in binders and put in the binder room where binders are filed by bound family books that have been donated. Discoveries made in these books can be cross-referenced with cemetery books, located in the main portion of the archives.
“People find it so comforting to actually visit the location of their ancestors’ resting place,” said Pinero.
Another step forward for the Archives is cross-referencing Hoffman’s large collection of donated genealogy records with the vast resources available at the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library.
“We have made arrangements to give a catalog of our resources here to be prominently displayed at the library and they are doing the same for us. This way if someone hits a dead end at either place, they can see information the other place has. Many people come from all over to use the resources at the library and we are excited to that we both have basically doubled what we offer researchers through our collaboration.”
Pinero feels that her board members and volunteers make all of the difference in someone’s experience when they visit the archives.
“Most of our volunteers are scheduled to work a five hour shift, one day a week. But they fill in if another volunteer can’t make their shift and then sometimes they take on additional fund raising activities. Our board works very hard to make the right decisions and fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities. This is a team.”
Board members for the Hilda Hoffman Memorial Archives are: Chairman— Sue Pinero; Vice chairman— Elizabeth Dunpfey; Secretary— Gloria Penton; Treasurer— Lorraine Harper and Volunteer Coordinator— Marilyn Weston. Other members are Helen Clunie (who donated the building where the archives are housed), Wade Stewart, Carole Pharis, Sara Sheldon, Don Wicks and Judy Burge.
For more information on either the Hilda Hoffman Memorial Archives or genealogy, contact Sue Pinero at 601-799-5671.