ARE AWARDED THE GOLDEN

                                                                                                                                                               TROWEL AWARD


            A Ponca City couple has been recognized for long and valued contributions to the Oklahoma Anthropological Society (OAS).

George and Nina Hanggi recently received the statewide organization’s Golden Trowel award. Together they have over a century of active membership.

George Hanggi is retired from a career at Conoco in Ponca City. He is a World War II veteran. He served in the 16th Infantry Regiment in the Battle of the Bulge.

Although the nonagenarians were unable to attend the Society’s annual meeting in Sulphur to accept the award, they were present May 21 at the monthly meeting of the OAS Kay County Chapter. At that time awards committee member Jon Denton, Mustang,  presented the plaques.


            OAS is best known for sponsoring archeological research and education in Oklahoma. Among recent digs is the Bryson-Paddock site, a Wichita Indian trade village on the Arkansas River northeast of Ponca City.  The prestigious Golden Trowel award is made to outstanding vocational volunteers.  The awards committee vote was unanimous.


            The Hanggi’s are charter members of the Kay County Chapter. They also are longstanding members of the state organization.

Among the nominators was OAS member Christina Rich-Splawn of Ponca City.  “Faithful, unquestioning service has a great deal of merit,” she said.  “Sometimes a hero in an organization isn’t someone who does something spectacular. Sometimes it is the persons who are committed to attending every meeting, always promoting dues on time, and serving in some capacity because it needs to be done" 

“These two heroes are just that kind of people. They joined in 1963, attended every dig, survey, spring meeting, fall meeting and chapter meeting they could. They served as the Kay County Chapter representatives. Yes, it really was George (who represented the chapter), but he never went to a meeting or a dig without Nina for over 12 years.”


The honorees participated in some of the iconic OAS digs. Among those was the Burnham site in Woods County. Excavators found bones dating back 33,000 years. Some had chert flakes laying nearby, a controversial early sign of human presence.   It must have been a thrilling time for OAS members, Denton said.

“The Hanggis were part of it. We thank them for being there. We thank them for being here, and we are honored to present to George and Nina Hanggi the prestigious OAS members award, the Golden Trowel.”


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