Certificate of Merit
A Page from the Past

Staff Writer
Pulaski Citizen

Published in CITIZEN June 22, 2004

Newspaper Wins Certificate of Merit Award for Historic Preservation Efforts
By Claudia Johnson
Staff Writer

Pulaski Publishing has been recognized for its preservation of Tennessee’s
cultural heritage with a Certificate of Merit Award from the Tennessee
Historical Commission.
“We are interested in recognizing activities in the areas of publication,
commemoration, education and any other efforts to preserve our history and
heritage,” said Herbert L. Harper, executive director of the Tennessee
Historical Commission, who presented the award as part of the National
Trust’s “Communities at a Crossroads” 2005 preservation month.
“Pulaski Publishing has owned and operated the PULASKI CITIZEN, one of the
10 oldest newspapers remaining in operation in Tennessee, and the Giles
Free Press for more than 20 years,” according to the nomination, which was
reviewed by a panel of historical commission authorities from across the
state. “Company President Hershel Lake and newspaper publisher Steve Lake
have consistently supported historic preservation.
Though the nomination focused on the 2004 CITIZEN sesquicentennial a page
from the past.. project, it was also noted that the company owns the rights
to and continues to print several local books about Sam Davis, the early
history of Giles County, two histories of Pulaski and the history of the Ku
Klux Klan. Included in the nomination were 15 letters of support from
individuals, organizations, readers and business and government officials.
“In 2004 our local newspaper completed a really tremendous feature that is
definitely praiseworthy,” newspaper reader Pamela Sue Keller noted in her
letter. “Pulaski Publishing spent a great deal of time and money on the a
page from the past.. project. People were genuinely excited about the
history of our community as it was revealed weekly in the articles.”
“I am pleased to nominate Pulaski Publishing for the certificate of merit,”
wrote Fourth District Congressman Lincoln Davis. “The dedication to the [a
page from the past..] project is unmatched and deserves proper recognition
and honor.”
“As one who has been involved in genealogical research in Giles County, I
found the articles in the Pulaski Citizen, a page from the past ..., a
treasure of information,” stated Anna O. Jackson of Kentucky, a former 
administrator of Giles County’s internet genealogy website, where some of
the articles from a page from the past ... are reprinted with permission.
“Preserving our heritage through the printed page has made it possible for
us to remember our ancestors, how they lived, loved and managed their
“In 2004 everyone was talking about what a wonderful time it was to read
what happened and actually see the pictures of our forefathers in this
beautiful little place of hills and valleys by the name of Giles County,”
wrote Rita Birdsong, an Alabamian who volunteers weekly at the Giles County
Historical Society’s research room. “The 48-page booklet published by the
Citizen on the date of their anniversary, Dec. 16, 2004, and given free to
all subscribers, is something that can be proudly handed down for
generations to come.”
Former Giles County Historical Society President A. F. Tate Jr’s letter
commented on the value of the weekly series being compiled into book form
and made readily available to the public for a nominal charge.  “The Citizen
spent a great deal of time and money to publish a page from
the past ...,” observed Ron Randolph, a Giles County native subscribing from
Lawrenceburg. “The articles from the pages of history were both informative
and thought provoking. The dedication to journalism shown by the Citizen is
exemplary by anyone’s standards.”
Former Giles County Historical Society President A. F. Tate Jr’s letter
commented on the value of the weekly series being compiled into book form
and made readily available to the public for a nominal charge.
“The Lake family should be congratulated for their foresight in encouraging
greater historical awareness throughout our community, and Claudia Johnson
should be recognized for all the imagination and hard work required to
produce such a wonderful outcome,” Martin College President Ted Brown
stated in his nomination letter.
Elkton Historical Society President Carolyn Thompson commented that a page
from the past.. did more than commemorate the newspaper’s birthday.
“In reality it documented and brought to like the everyday lives of the
ancestors of all our citizens,” Thompson said, adding that the project can
be used as a planning tool.  “All leaders know the tremendous value in
knowing where you’ve been in order to plan for the future.”
“I know that I am not the only historian that the Lake family has helped,
as the company has published numerous books for Johnny Phelps and financed
Claudia Johnson’s yearlong efforts for her a page from the past ... newspaper
articles and book,” wrote Bob Wamble, author of Our Town, a book on
Pulaski’s history published by Pulaski Publishing. “They gave up
advertising space for Claudia’s project and provided the financial backing
for her book. The Lake family has a true love for preserving history and
deserve every award available to them.”
“Such a project doesn’t come without sacrifices and cost to the publishing
company,” noted Beverly Nelson, a Mt. Juliet reader whose grandfather was
Giles County’s sheriff during the 1926 police murders to which eight pages
of Johnson’s book are dedicated. “However, what all this brings to the
 community and those who have ties there is truly priceless.”
“My family and I are so proud to be a part of the Giles County family and
appreciate the tremendous effort put forward in the publication of a page
from the past..,” said Gina Ann Thompson, a reader from Decatur, Ala. “They
have shown us history in its truest form.”
“Pulaski Publishing plays a vital role in the community, not only in
historical preservation but also in monumental contributions to present and
future generations,” wrote subscribers James and Barbara Puryear. “The
information is timely and accurate and stands alone in quality and
presentation when compared to newspapers in similar-sized towns.”
Former Chamber of Commerce Director Anne Story sent an endorsement to the
historical commission on behalf of the local Trail of Tears Committee, the
chamber and the tourism foundation based on Pulaski Publishing’s “strong
financial support and volunteer service to preserve the local heritage of
the Trail of Tears.”
“I believe that Pulaski Publishing wishes to preserve Giles County history
as well as Southern history,” stated Cathy Gordon Wood, a leader in local
historic activities who recalled the paper’s coverage of numerous historic
issues and events over the years. “I am sure there will be other historic
events in the future, and they will be reported by the CITIZEN.”

Editor’s note: Claudia Johnson’s book, a page from the past ..., is available for purchase at the Citizen/Press office. Call 931 424-3544 for more information.