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Village of Sussex - The Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society has launched its first wall of fame honoring women from Sussex and the surrounding communities, but if you're wondering who the first inductee is, the mystery will remain until Wednesday, Dec. 28 when the inductee will be honored as a surprise.

Historical Society President Mike Reilly came up with the idea several years ago after reading a story about the Milwaukee Public Library launching a similar program, but he originally pitched the idea to the Pauline Haass Library.

"That gave me an idea that perhaps the Pauline Haass Public Library here could do the same for the number of local writers that the community has produced over the years, and that of course would have included men and women back then," Reilly said. "I approached the library with the idea, and they said they just didn’t have the wall space to do something like that, so I put it on the back burner for a while."

When the museum moved to the Sussex Civic Center, Reilly and the board of directors thought it was a good idea to start the wall in the new space, so it was built into the plans.

Local, notable women of the past and present are eligible for the honor. Reilly said candidates can include women throughout history from Sussex, Lisbon, Lannon and perhaps, even Merton, Colgate and Lake Five.

"Women that often do things silently have a large impact on their community, and they are rarely heard about in history," Reilly said. “Qualities of a good candidate would include somebody who’s giving of themselves without the expectation of reward and is consistent of their giving; that doesn’t have to be monetarily. I would say, even more so, it would be someone who’s giving of their time and talent to help others."

Reilly said the board is considering eventually opening up the selection process to the community so they can nominate local residents every year.

While the first honoree who will be inducted on December 28 will be kept a secret until the day of the event, Reilly said the woman who has been selected has a strong connection to the village, and specifically, part of her story has to do with the new Sussex Civic Center.

Find out who the honoree is in our next story on the award.

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