Today we celebrate a half-century of life. It is a time to remember, appreciate and warmly thank our many friends, public and private, for their unstinting interest and participation in what our American President has called the responsibility of history.
Our Society was founded 50 years ago upon the scheme of a volunteer venture to be managed and operated by willing-hearted people who recognized the importance of preserving the memory of this county's historic past. That idea still successfully gives the Society its kinetic energy to collect, catalogue, preserve and publish remembrances of Contra Costa which over the years may well have been lost or forgotten.
Prior to my term of office, the Society has thrived under the dedicated leadership of 11 presidents, virtually all of whom not only left their mark of ascendant interest but maintained their participation as a regular volunteer after stepping down from the highest office. We owe them an undying debt.
Similarly, we have enjoyed the continuing friendly attention of county officials who over the years have designated our Society the official history-recording agency of Contra Costa County, and have appointed our facility the protector of numerous official court records.
Over the five decades of our life many of our members have contributed untold hours of their time to organizing and cataloging the voluminous collections of historical records and making these materials available to researchers for reference. They have spent thousands of hours at the computer recording valuable data for future use. While others have painstakingly inspected, recorded and filed a rich bank of photographs that depict Contra Costa life from its earliest days. To all of the dedicated volunteers I express the Society's heartfelt thanks.
This Society has become the treasure house of Contra Costa County. I am proud to be a member in fulfilling its promise.