Breckenridge Texan

Lee’s Legion Chapter of DAR honors Billie O’Neal with 2023 Historical Preservation Award

Lee’s Legion Chapter of DAR honors Billie O’Neal with 2023 Historical Preservation Award
November 18
07:34 2023

In a ceremony during their November meeting in Cisco, the Lee’s Legion Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) presented the 2023 Historical Preservation Award to Billie Walker O’Neal of Breckenridge.

The award recognizes O’Neal’s dedication to preserving history and her significant contributions to connecting individuals with their ancestral roots.

“Throughout the history of DAR, historic preservation has always been a primary focus as it is crucial to safeguarding history for future generations. Today, we want to honor an extraordinary woman who has devoted her life to protecting history and has served with unwavering commitment as both the DAR and DRT registrar. Billie O’Neal embodies the values of heritage, preservation, and patriotism,” Ashley Wright Thompson said in introducing O’Neal. “Throughout her life, she tirelessly supported the preservation of our rich history and heritage. Her passion for history is not just a hobby but also a lifelong mission. She understands the importance of preserving the past so that upcoming generations can learn from it and appreciate the sacrifices and achievements of those who came before us.”

Ashley Wright Thompson, right, presented Billie O’Neal with the 2023 Historical Preservation award from the Lee’s Legion Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. (Courtesy Photo)

As both the DAR and Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) registrar, O’Neal has played a pivotal role in assisting others with researching and documenting their lineages, ensuring that their connections to the American Revolution and the Republic of Texas are acknowledged and celebrated.

“However, her contributions extend far beyond the paperwork and documentation,” Thompson said. “She has been a mentor and a source of inspiration for many who share her passion for history. She has encouraged others to become active participants in preserving our heritage, instilling in them a sense of pride in their ancestry and the history of their nation and state.”

Additionally, O’Neal served as the director of the Swenson Museum for a year, volunteering numerous hours. She has been a driving force behind various historical preservation projects, including compiling a book on local cemeteries and organizing events and workshops to raise awareness about the importance of historical heritage. Currently, she serves as president of the Breckenridge Genealogical Society.

“Through her efforts, she has not only preserved history but also imparted its significance to younger generations,” Thompson said. “In a world where change seems to accelerate with each passing day, Billie reminds us of the importance of our roots and the lessons to be learned from history. She has dedicated her life to ensuring that the stories of her ancestors are not forgotten, that their sacrifices are remembered, and that their legacy lives on.”

As the third recipient of the Historical Preservation Award, O’Neal’s name will be added to the plaque on displayed at the Swenson Memorial Museum featuring the name of each year’s recipient. In 2021, Jean Hayworth of Breckenridge was the inaugural honoree of the award, and last year, Dr. Duane Hale of Cisco received the award.

The Lee’s Legion Chapter of the DAR includes members from the surrounding area, including Breckenridge, Albany, Moran and Cisco.

“As we honor Billie O’Neal, let us also contemplate the importance of preserving history and the role each of us can play in safeguarding our heritage,” Thompson said. “Through her example, she has shown us that the preservation of history is not merely a duty; it is a labor of love that can inspire and unite us all. In conclusion, let us not forget the life lesson we can learn from Billie…a smile, a positive attitude, and a lot of Texas grit go a long way!”


(Information and photo provided by the Lee’s Legion Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.)


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