ShareThis Page

Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau recognizes champions of tourism

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Ligonier Echo
Herbert Olga Herbert, Tourism Trailblazer of the Year recipient, at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner, held at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College in Unity Township on Thursday evening, October 17, 2013.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Ligonier Echo
Tourism Trailblazer of the Year recipient Olga Herbert and Ronald W. Virag, president/ CEO of Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, mingle at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner, held at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College in Unity Township. on Thursday evening, October 17, 2013.

When it comes to blazing a trail for tourism in the Laurel Highlands, Olga Herbert meets all the criteria.

Herbert, executive director of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor and the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum, was recognized, along with three other champions of tourism at the recent Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner held at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College in Unity.

“The selection committee felt Olga embraced what we are about, she embraced what a tourism trailblazer is all about,” said Julie Donovan, vice-president, public relations for the visitors bureau. “We want to recognize Olga for her efforts all year and for what she has done to increase awareness of the Lincoln Highway.”

Herbert was named Laurel Highlands Trailblazer of the Year for her efforts.

Other champions recognized at the dinner included Judy Pletcher, owner of Rockwood Mill Shoppes and Opera House — Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year; Linda McKenna Boxx, president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance — LHVB Special Recognition Award; and Louise Tilzey-Bates, Westmoreland Heritage Tourism Council — Tourism Employee of the Year.

“Olga's efforts to create a buzz about America's first coast-to-coast highway, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year has spurred community and economic development through tourism,” said Andrea Cuda a member of the board and chairwoman of the event. “She is credited with saving many of the Lincoln Highway's iconic landmarks and having them added to the Historic National Register. Olga epitomizes someone who thinks out-of-the-box. She is the queen of collaborators.”

Cuda said Herbert spearheaded many new initiatives which have attracted visitors to explore the region, including the creation of the 200-mile Roadside Museum, the Handmade along the Highway artisans' program and the Laurel Highlands Trout Trail project.

“If not for my great staff — office manager Kristin Poerschke, the board of directors and the many volunteers, I would not have been able to accomplish many of the projects to promote tourism in the Laurel Highlands,” said Herbert.

After renting in nine different locations, during the past 15 years, including several locations in Ligonier, Herbert has settled the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor's museum at its permanent home at the 200-year-old Johnston House located near Kingston Bridge, between Latrobe and Ligonier.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or dbrehun@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.