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Joel Barter

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Joel Barter

2023 Phelps Award winner Joel Barter has been a director of the Bury Historical and Heritage Society for about ten years, and is one of the organization’s archivists. Among other projects, he has been involved in the promotion of Bury’s military history through a series of banners and an exhibition at the local Armoury. Joel has served as a Quebec representative in the Home Children of Canada organization. His efforts include inaugurating Quebec’s first annual wreath-laying ceremony in memory of the British Home Children, the first of which took place in Bury. Joel is best known for his moderation of “Eastern Townships Roots,” a public group on Facebook which now numbers some 27,000 members.

Joel’s nominators are struck by his commitment. Tom Axtell, a contributor to Eastern Townships Roots, writes that “Joel’s daily presence [through the Facebook page] became a lifeline for elders during the pandemic.” This, he says, “is reason enough for why I feel he deserves the Marion Phelps Award.” Kathy Curtis of the Colby-Curtis Museum writes that, “No one takes on such a task without a deep devotion to the subject.” And “I cannot think of a better person to give this award to.” Lori Oschefski of Home Children Canada writes that Joel is “has made a meaningful contribution to preserving local history.”