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Harry and Shirley Graves honored as Harford Living Treasures

Harry and Shirley Graves, pictured in the lower right along with Harford County Councilman Pat Vincenti, were honored as Harford Living Treasures for their volunteer efforts in Havre de Grace.
Harry and Shirley Graves, pictured in the lower right along with Harford County Councilman Pat Vincenti, were honored as Harford Living Treasures for their volunteer efforts in Havre de Grace.(Courtesy Harford County Government)

Harry and Shirley Graves were all smiles Tuesday night as they received a certificate honoring them as Harford County “Living Treasures” from the county council.

The two, who have been serving the Havre de Grace area for years, feeding the homeless through their church, accepted the award with pride and wry humor.

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“I thought it was just because we are so old and have been married so long,” Shirley joked in front of the council’s dais.

The seven-seat county council voted unanimously to accept the couple as a county treasure.

The two have been married 71 years. Councilman Curtis L. Beulah laughed — as did most of the room — at Shirley’s wisecrack, but said the honor was for more than their marriage’s longevity.

“No, it is not just because you’ve been married so long, just your contribution to the community,” Beulah said. “I am just honored to be a part of this.”

In addition to their efforts to feed the homeless at Havre de Grace United Methodist Church and the St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Graves also volunteer at the Susquehanna Museum at the Lockhouse.

Thanks and congratulations from council poured in until the microphone was passed to Shirley. Neither of the two had any idea they were to be commended by the council, they said after the hearing.

“You rascals,” she said with a smile. “We never expected it, it has been an honor to serve our community. We hope we have a few more years to do so and I am very grateful to have so many friends, dear friends.”

Anybody over 70-years-old who has lived in the county for 40 or more years can be nominated as a living treasure, according to the program’s website.

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Nominations are vetted by the county’s Cultural Arts Board. Since the program began in 1981, more than 250 people have been honored as living treasures of the county.

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