BELTON -- For almost two years, David Yeilding has led the Sesquicentennial salute to Bell County. On Tuesday, Bell County saluted him back.

Yeilding -- a Temple resident and history professor at Central Texas College in Killeen -- received a standing ovation during Tuesday morning's commissioners court meeting.

"What a great year we've had," County Judge Jon Burrows said, as the year-long Sesquicentennial celebration came to an end. "One of the reasons is a fellow named David Yeilding."

Yeilding recalled that Burrows contacted him in January 1999, asking him to lead the county's 150th anniversary events.

On Jan. 20, 2000, the Bell County Sesquicentennial flag was hoisted up the courthouse flagpole.

It came down, Tuesday morning, and will join other mementos in a stainless steel time capsule that will be buried under the courthouse lawn and then unearthed in 2050.

"Community support has been great," Yeilding said. "We had more than a good time. We had a learning experience these last two years."

He said some of his favorite Sesquicentennial highlights included the essay contest and other opportunities to work with local students. "That's the future of our county, our state and our nation," he said.

Col. David B. Hall -- garrison commander at Fort Hood -- presented Yeilding with the Commander's Award for Public Service.

"Through his personal drive, initiative and intense public concern, Dr. Yeilding ensured Bell County's celebration would set the standard for the rest of the State of Texas," Hall said, reading from the plaque he presented Yeilding. "His achievement reflects great credit upon himself, the citizens of Bell County and the entire Central Texas area."

Hall said it is "very rare" for the Army to bestow its Commander's Award for Public Service on a civilian.

Bell County Museum Director Stephanie Turnham then presented Yeilding with a commemorative box, fashioned by Salado artist James Poppell out of Charter Oak wood.

Charter Oak is the tree, in Belton, under which land owners organized a new county on April 22, 1850.

Poppell said he made the box from wood that had fallen off the tree, which is believed to be at least 400 years old.

Sesquicentennial officers and committee members were also recognized during Monday's commissioners court meeting.

They are as follows.

-- MaryBelle Brown, of Salado, served as honorary cochair.

-- Pat Barton, of Salado, was secretary.

-- Polly Peaks-Elmore, of Killeen, was treasurer.

-- Luther Brewer, of Salado, was in charge of the inaugural event, Bell County Day, on Jan. 22.

-- Glenn Rucker, of Temple, and Curtis A. Younts Sr., of Belton, led the April 22 Charter Oak Day celebration.

-- David Pennington, of Temple, headed up the Oct. 22 Musical Salute.

-- Berneta Peeples, of Belton, was publicity chairwoman.

-- Michael Kelsey, of Temple, led the historical research committee.

-- Shirley Courtney, of Temple, led the time capsule committee.