Historical society spurning history

Criticizing honor is self-serving

Published March 31 2012

There is no question letter writer Eddie Russ and his family have deep roots in this community and that he a life member of the West Pasco Historical Society. (One becomes a life member with a single payment of $100.) The decision to name the museum, not the historical society itself, after our benefactor who matched a very generous city grant was a board decision, but also approved by the membership at a general meeting.

Dr. Rao Musunuru stepped forward when few in this community did, to not only keep our lights on and pay the insurance bills, but to entirely renovate the inside and outside of a rapidly deteriorating building in dire need of massive and immediate assistance.

The Russ family sold its home to Alex Acey, and it was Mr. Acey, not the Russ family, who donated the building to the West Pasco Historical Society. For Mr. Russ to take pride in his family’s former home becoming the historical society is entirely appropriate and understandable, but how does any person, especially a life member of the historical society, dare criticize someone for saving our building?

The gift of tens of thousands of dollars from Dr. Musunuru came with no strings attached, and he did not seek any recognition, let alone having the museum portion of the building named in his honor. The board made that decision to thank him in that manner, and it still seems like little enough honor.

Dr. Musunuru did make one suggestion regarding names. He suggested the library be renamed the Julie Obenreder Memorial Library to honor our first president and the person whose vision and hard work made us what we are today. We gladly did so.

To those who are angry that the current board has not only preserved but guaranteed the presence of this fine museum and library for the next century and more, perhaps it is time for some self-examination of their motives, prejudices and short-sightedness.

Daniel Callaghan, Bill Acrigg and Bob Hubach, trustees, West Pasco Historical Society

This article was originally published in the Tampa Bay Times:

Rao Musunuru, M.D. Mini Bio

Dr. Rao Musunuru, who has called Pasco County his home since 1981, was instrumental in transforming a 50-bed rural hospital into a 290-bed Heart Institute at Bayonet Point/Hudson Regional Medical Center. He has received numerous awards and continually serves the community at large through education and philanthropy.