The New Albany Founders Day committee recently named longtime resident Marge Bevelhymer grand marshal of the 2011 parade and announced New Albany Special Connections as the recipient of the Founders Day Community Connection award.

The New Albany Founders Day committee recently named longtime resident Marge Bevelhymer grand marshal of the 2011 parade and announced New Albany Special Connections as the recipient of the Founders Day Community Connection award.

"For both awards, we are looking for people and organizations who make a difference in New Albany," said Stacy Adkins, a Founders Day committee member. "We are looking for active members of the community who go above and beyond to make New Albany a better place."

The Founders Day celebration is Saturday, May 21.

When told by the Founders Day committee that she had been chosen as grand marshal, Bevelhymer responded: "You mean I'm going to be the grand marshal the first year New Albany's going to be a city?"

While growing up on a farm on Central College Road, Bevelhymer never imagined New Albany would grow to have so many residents. The results of the 2010 census certified New Albany's population at 7,724 - well beyond the benchmark of 5,000 needed for city status.

"I was born in this same field," she said, jokingly referring to the land just down the street.

Bevelhymer, born Marge Foulk, still lives on part of the family farm, in a house built on 1 acre her parents gave to her and her husband, Ed Bevelhymer, to whom she was married 48 years before he passed away in 1997.

Bevelhymer has a special connection to the area and a special connection to Founders Day: Her daughter and granddaughter have organized the celebration for many years. Bevelhymer said she asked why her daughter, Linda Honaker, and her granddaughter, Adkins, would have nominated her. Adkins told her they didn't.

"The committee accepts nominations from the community for the grand marshal each year," Adkins said. "Some years we have quite a few including letters and pictures explaining why each person should be honored. This year we had five nominations for the grand marshal."

The Founders Day committee chooses the grand marshal from the nominees, Adkins said.

"I think it's great because it's an honor to be here this long," Bevelhymer said.

Bevelhymer said has spent all her life in New Albany and has no plans to leave.

"It's nice out here," she said. "I really like New Albany. I think it's a great community."

Bevelhymer graduated from New Albany High School in 1943 and still has lunch once a month with four of her high school girlfriends. She started her career as a telephone operator at Ohio Bell and continued to do the same type of work, eventually retiring from ABB in Columbus. She is a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church and has been part of several local singing groups, also working annually during the Founders Day celebration. She said she likes to golf, tap dance and line dance.

As for the Founders Day Community Connection award, which was established in 2008, Adkins said it recognizes a group that has "impacted the community in a positive way."

"For the Community Connection award, the Founders Day committee brainstorms organizations that have impacted the community in a positive way," Adkins said. "We had three excellent groups to choose from this year."

New Albany Special Connections, a nonprofit organization formed in 2002 "dedicated to serving the population of children with special education needs from preschool through high school and their families," according to its website, is the 2011 recipient of the award.

"It is rewarding to have the community recognize our efforts," said Carol Balchick, president of New Albany Special Connections.