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Rose & Thistle Award

Scottish American Society

The Rose & Thistle award is given each year to someone who has made outstanding contributions to the Scottish American Community in our area. 

The rose is a symbol of love, and our award recognizes that individuals who win it have demonstrated a love of Scotland and her culture.

The thistle is the national symbol of Scotland.  One of the best-known thistle legends is based on a surprise invasion that took place in the mid13th century.  The soldiers of the Norse king, Haakon, came ashore at Largs, one of western Scotland's coastal towns. The Viking force planned to creep up on the Scottish Clansmen and Highlanders and overcome them while they slept. This amount of stealth required that they go barefoot.

Unfortunately for these unwary invaders, one of their soldiers bare feet came down hard on a Scottish thistle and his cries of shock and pain were enough to wake the sleeping Scots.  Leaping to their feet, the clansmen charged into battle and the rest, as they say, is history... and yes, the fiery Scots were victorious.

Legend has it that because of the heroic role the plant played in the outcome of the battle, the thistle was immediately chosen as a national emblem. How much of this is truth is not known (the Scots do love a good tale).  But it is documented that by the 15th century the Scottish thistle definitely was being used as a national emblem.

Nominations for this honor come from our membership.  Voting takes place in November and the award is presented at our St. Andrews celebration.

Alex Murray, Beltane Festival Chairman


2016 Award Winner

Alex joined the Scottish American Society not that long ago (as he will readily tell you) but he has become such a driving force that we do not know what we would do without him. 

Born in Scotland with a commensurate accent (we call him "the Rogue with a Brogue') his charm, quick wit, and enthusiastic participation have generated positive responses from everyone who meets him.

When the time came for award recipient nominations there were many, but every one was for Alex.  Congratulations to you, Alex - contrary to your denial, the award is well deserved.


Dave & Dianne Allison

2015 AWARD

Congratulations to:


Presented at St. Andrews Dinner
December 4th

The winners of the Rose and Thistle award this year have been part of the organization since the very beginning.  They have been there lending their love and support right along.  If it wasn’t for them, we might not even exist.  It was at their urging that we formed the Scottish American Society and they have been there, ready to serve and quietly competent, ever since.  If we needed a task done, they did it.  If we needed a program, they provided one.  If we needed someone to represent us, they were there. They have represented us at various venues, always making us very proud of their efforts.

Dianne & Dave Allison are our winners.  They have won the award and our love and thanks as well.


Bob and Ida Morehead
Photo by David Belvin

Ida Morehead

2014 Award Winner

Presented at St. Andrew's Dinner - December 5th, 2014


This is a long deserved award.  Ida has been a vital part of almost all Scottish American Society activities, almost from the very first.  At our first Spaghetti Dinner Fund Raiser, Ida ran the kitchen like a dictator.  She knew what she was doing and more important, she knew what we should do! 

At our first very chilly Beltane Festival it was Ida there with a warming pot of soup.  She maintained that tradition for several festivals after that. Whenever asked, Ida was there to roll up her sleeves and get the job done.  No organization can long exist without members like our Ida.  Thank you, Ida, for all you do and all you have done.


Congratulations to our newest Rose and Thistle Award Winner

Presented at the St. Andrews Dinner - December 6th 2013

Dreama Powell

NEO Harpers is the NorthEast Ohio chapter of the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen (ISFHC). Members include all levels of harpestry, from new beginner to professional players. Dreama is a past president and currently maintains the membership roster.

Dreama is on the Board of Trustees for Ohio Scottish Games, and serves in the Ohio Scottish Arts School.  She teaches the Celtic harp and is interested in the history and genealogy of those of Scottish Descent in America. 

Dreama has always been willing to help out with programs for our group and by playing her harp at various events in the Scottish American community.

Dreama left us on June 6th, 2016.  She is now playing her harp with a group in Heaven. 

Dreama was a charter member of the Scottish American Society.  She was our 2013 winner of the Rose & Thistle award for her work in the Scottish American community.  Dreama was on the Board of Trustees for Ohio Scottish Games, and served in the Ohio Scottish Arts School.  She taught the Celtic harp and was interested in the history and genealogy of those of Scottish Descent in America. 

Dreama was also a member and officer of the Daughters of Scotia, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and did extensive research into the relationship between Scottish immigrants and the Native American community. She was loved by many and will be sorely missed.


Beltane 2012
Jim on the left, Bob Morehead on the right.

Bob Morehead

2012 Award Winner

Presented at St. Andrew's Dinner - November 30, 2012

Bob is a member of the Council of Elders of the Clan Muirhead Society and has received the Order of the Saltire from that society. It is Clan Muirhead’s highest honor for exceptional service. Bob came to our rescue with the first Beltane Festival, providing the much-needed music and sound system. He and his brother have been with us ever since. Bob frequently gives programs for our meetings and has been there for us whenever we’ve asked him. His wife, Ida, is also an active member. Ida is a super cook and an excellent baker. She provided the cakes last year and this year for the St. Andrews.



2011 Rose & Thistle Award Winners
Presented at the St. Andrews Dinner, Dec. 2, 2011

Our much loved Gene Marcus is now getting a chapter organized on a different plane.  He left us on Sunday, July 31, 2016 and a Memorial Service was held on Saturday, August 13th at the Northminster Presbyterian Church in North Canton, Ohio.  Inurnment will take place at a later date in Lakewood Cemetery in Holland, Michigan where he was born December 22nd, 1928.  He will be missed by all of us, but especially by his wife, Betty. 


For the first time we have dual award winners.  Gene and Betty Marcus have been stalwart supporters of our group from the very beginning.  They've helped immeasurably.  From providing refreshments for our meetings to overseeing many operations in our various events, we simply don't know what we would do without them.  Our congratulations to these two wonderful people.  And a very sincere "Thank You" for all they have done.

Donne at Christie Walshes "Taste of Scotland" event.

2010 Award Winner
Our 2010 Award Winner was announced at the
St. Andrew's Dinner on December 4th. 
It is Donne Shepperly.
Donne is the Great Lakes Regional Commissioner of the Clan Donald Society USA.  She is on the Board of the Ohio Scottish Games and active in the Scottish Heritage Association of Northeast Ohio.  She is also active in Sas'y and helps with many events including the Beltane, the St. Andrews Dinner, and the recent Water Aid benefit. 

*Brian and Agnes

Our Rose and Thistle award for 2009 went to our Scottish American Society piper, Brian McElhiney.  Brian and his wife, Julie, (not to mention the lovely Miss Meghan) brighten our lives in so many ways.
He is always willing to help out whenever we ask - for sad occasions and glad ones. He is also the Pipe Sergeant of the Akron & District Pipe Band and represents the Scottish American community in many venues. He has spoken to our group on more than one occasion, and performed for us at the St. Andrews. Congratulations to our Brian, a very deserving winner.
*Photo by Lew Stamp

(L-R) Frances Acar with Julie Kennedy

This year the Rose and Thistle Award was won by Frances Acar.  Frances heads our Beltane Celebration and is on the Board of the Scottish American Cultural Society of Ohio.  She supports many area Scottish efforts, teaches Scottish Gaelic and song, presents participants in Gaelic mods, and teaches Scottish Country Dancing.  Her students have won many prizes in competitions over the years.  She now teaches Gaelic via the Internet (don't know how she does that) and thus reaches far outside our community.  We are very proud of our Frances and pleased to present her with the 2008 Rose and Thistle Award for service to the Scottish American community.

Christy Urquhart Walsh
Performing at Sas'y Beltane Festival in 2007

Christie Urquhart Walsh was our Rose & Thistle Award winner for 2007.  Christie instructs and manages the Tigh na Creige Highland Dance Group and has for many years.  A top award winning dancer herself, she and her dancers perform in many venues, including a recent performance in conjunction with the Akron Symphony Orchestra.  She uses such opportunities to convey information about the Scottish Culture to those who are not familiar with it. Christie is a Certified B.A.T.D. Dance Instructor in Highland and National levels. Christie's father is the Chief of Clan Urquhart and she is the head of that clan in this area.  Christie and husband Tim have three daughters and a son, all involved with the art of Highland Dance.  

Rick Neidert was our Rose and Thistle Award winner, which was presented at the Sas'y Solstice Celebration.  Rick was Convener of Clan Gordon in Ohio and a very active participant in SACSO and the Ohio Scottish Games.  He passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in October of 2006.  Lori Neidert accepted the posthumous award for her husband at our Solstice celebration.  Along with Rick, the following were awarded Certificates of Merit for their wonderful contributions to Scottish Heritage and Culture:  Frances Acar, Don Mellen, and Christie Walsh.  Congratulations to all.  We are fortunate to have so many candidates who work so hard for the Scottish American community.

Rose & Thistle Award Winner
Agnes Bagley & Gene Marcus

Our Rose & Thistle Award winner for 2005 was Agnes Bagley.  Agnes continued to be active in the Scottish American community despite the fact that she turned an amazing 96 years young on September 27th of 2005. Agnes volunteered throughout the area, not just for Scottish events, but at Summa Hospital, hospice, and alzheimer's care.  She once was the mainstay of the Akron & District Pipe Band, has held several offices in the Daughters of Scotia, and even held her own in Scottish Country Dancing until she reached the age of 98.  Agnes' Scottish Shortbread is legendary.  She won every contest hands down.  Born in Scotland, she was happy to tell you that her father worked on the Titanic and that she walked on the decks of the Titanic - fortunately before it made the disastrous journey for which it is well known. 
Agnes left us early in the morning of May 8th, 2016 at the age of 106.  She left an amazing legacy of laughter, charm, duty and perseverance. Even as her life was on the wane, she would roll herself down the corridor of the assisted living quarters where she stayed, singing :Roamin In The Gloamin. 
Somewhere in a kitchen far, far away, our Agnes is probably rolling out a tray of shortbread for her heavenly companions.  I have no doubt she is still singing a Scottish tune as she works.