The O. Winston Link Museum and History Museum of Western Virginia could not operate without volunteers, and we are fortunate to have several long-term ones.
Lawanda Ely has been at the O. Winston Link Museum since 2003 before the museum officially opened! Before donating time to museum, she worked at a dynamite factory, a sales company and the Virginia Museum of Transportation, among other places. She lived in Idaho, Maryland, Delaware, Georgia and California before coming back home to Virginia several years ago. In her spare time, she is an active member of the National Railway Historical Society – Roanoke Chapter, loves to read and is a member of a book club. She also crochets and is active in her church.
Ellen Arnold can tell you anything you’d ever want to know about the railroad or Link photographs! She has volunteered at Link for 12 years, working in the gift shop and organizing negatives. Ellen’s first volunteer experience was as a room mother, but she later ventured to
Girl Scouts. 4-H Clubs, Sunday School and excursions with the Class J 611 from 1983-1994. She also worked in the gift shop at Virginia Museum of Transportation from 1983-2004.
Ellen and her husband, Bill, also a veteran volunteer, met O. Winston Link in 1987 and became his friend. Bill’s volunteer days began when he joined the Roanoke
Chapter, NRHS, primarily working in the Chapter Gift Shop at Virginia Museum of Transportation and working on 611/1218 excursions. He was the chapter representative on the VMT Board for 6 years and secured 457 applications to produce the J Class 611 Virginia automobile license plate. He has spent numerous hours in the Gift Shop on Thursdays and even served as an Interim Director. “I get great satisfaction being able to interact with visitors as they return to the Gift Shop after touring the museum,” Bill says.
John Bradshaw also has been with the Historical Society for years and years and a former president. He helped bring about the founding of the O. Winston Link Museum and spends much of his time in the museum as a tour guide. Groups always rave about how knowledgeable he is and how wonderful his tours are. Bradshaw graduated from MIT in 1954. He went on to work and retire from Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern Inc. in Roanoke. He and his wife Matilda have four grown daughters and many grandchildren that they enjoy spending time with. He recently returned to Massachusetts to watch one daughter compete in the Boston Marathon.
Volunteer Michael Shores beliveves the recent decision to combine the Link and History museums “has resulted in an exceptional well-educated staff to
promote these entities and educate Valley residents as well as regional school groups. The arts have been trimmed in the school systems at all levels due to budget considerations, and these museums and staff fill a void.” Having lived in the Roanoke Valley previously, he returned in 2007 to run a consulting business. His earlier business career included acquisition and manufacturing management in various U.S. operations as well as Spain, Germany, Mexico and Canada. He has volunteered at the Taubman Museum as a docent, for the Roanoke County Library and Roanoke Children’s Theatre. My interest was piqued by my wife’s strong support of the arts and museum visits while traveling. Two of our children have been involved in the arts.”
Before retiring from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2008 as a photography instructor, Art Sellers taught new Science and Technology employees how to use satellites and digital cameras to gather photos for the National Intelligence Archives. Art has continued to exercise his love of photography for the past eight years by working with the Roanoke Camera Club where he served as President for three years and was instrumental in coordinating the move of the Camera Club from the History Museum of Western Virginia in the Center in the Square to the O. Winston Link Museum in 2012. He has served on the Link Advisory Committee and has volunteered at exhibit openings and special occasions to take photos and videos to document and promote the activities of the museums. The Link Museum has been the perfect combination for Art to exercise his photographic talents. He has used this environment to help Boy Scouts obtain their Photography Merit Badges (as he did in March 1954), and he is currently organizing Historical Photo Classes to be offered to the community in June 2017.