Volunteers honored at annual Christmas dinner
The Marlinton Woman’s Club honors volunteers each year for their support and dedication to residents of Pocahontas County. At the annual Christmas dinner December 17 held at the Pocahontas County Opera House, several county clubs and organizations received accolades, as well as individuals selected as Volunteers of the Year.
Emcee Reta Griffith introduced the organizations in attendance and thanked everyone for the countless hours they gave to the betterment of the county.
“There’s so many volunteer hours represented in this room here tonight and it’s just unbelievable,” she said. “It makes me very proud to be part of Pocahontas County and this wonderful community.”
The Marlinton Woman’s Club was founded in 1917 and currently has 25 members. The organization’s purpose is the improvement of morale, education and social condition of the community.
The club’s officers are: President, Laura Dean Bennett; Vice President, Phyllis Lucas; Secretary, Cathy Mosesso; and Treasurer, Dottie Mitchell.
“One of the projects this year for our president was the continued restoration of the Hugh McGlaughlin building which is the oldest house in Marlinton,” Griffith said. “The log house that you see along Fourth Avenue. They helped to raise twenty-two hundred, fifty dollars for that this year.”
The club agreed to recognize auxiliary member John Mutscheller for his continued support of the organization.
“A lot of the fundraising that they’ve done over the last couple of years has been related to making the kettle corn,” Griffith explained. “[Mutscheller] has transported this kettle corn machine, cleans that popper, provides all the necessary maintenance, including sometimes being upside down, trying to get that pilot light to go. We could not have made it through this year without help like that from him.”
The Hillsboro CEOS is one of several CEOS clubs in Pocahontas County. It began as part of the Farm Women’s Club in West Virginia which was founded in 1914. By 1920, the clubs became CEOS (Community Education Outreach Service) or locally known as Home Demonstration Clubs or “Home Dems.” The Hillsboro club has 13 members.
Officers are: President, Linda Simmons; Vice, President Jean Jackson; and Secretary/Treasurer, Mary Johnson.
“The things and projects they are most known for are supporting the Hillsboro Library and other community organizations,” Griffith said.
The club chose Vice President Jean Jackson as its volunteer of the year.
“Jean has been the club’s vice president for a number of years and carries out her duties reliably and cheerfully,” Griffith said. “She’s an active member of the Cranberry Piece Makers Quilt Guild and is currently serving as the president of that organization, as well. Jean works tirelessly for the Marlinton Senior Center, teaching crochet classes and helping with fundraisers. She is also a ready volunteer for the Hillsboro Library Friends group and she is a regular visitor to the Pocahontas Care Center.”
Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad began as a fire department in 1906 with the rescue squad joining the ranks in 1955. There are currently 44 members of the department.
Officers are: Fire chief, Kenneth Hall; Deputy Chief, Jason Sharp; Assistant Chief, Herbie Barlow; Captain, Jamie Kellison; First Lieutenant, J.P. Duncan; Second Lieutenant, Freddie Tawney; Rescue EMS Captain, Jennifer Barlow; First Lieutenant, Jordan Clendenen; Second Lieutenant, Robbie Sharp, and Sergeant, Jared Clendenen.
The fire department did not select a volunteer of the year and Griffith recognized the entire department for its dedication to the community, especially during the four-day fight against a fire which destroyed half a block on Main Street in Marlinton.
“If you would like to join their organization and become an important member of the community and possibly save lives and people’s property, please see any of those members here this evening,” Griffith said. “We owe them a special thank you for all the hard work they do, many times risking their lives for us.”
Huntersville Historical Traditions group was organized to preserve the history of Pocahontas County’s first county seat. The group presents the annual Huntersville Traditions Days each autumn to give visitors and residents a glimpse into the past.
The membership is 15 strong and officers are: President, Tim Wade; Vice President, Susie Landis; Secretary, Sarah Sanders; and Treasurer, Loretta Malcolm.
The group was recognized this year by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for its celebration of West Virginia’s 150th Birthday.
“A special project they are going to be working on this coming year is the restoration of the Huntersville jail,” Griffith said.
Tony Kelly was selected as Volunteer of the Year for his contribution of time working on the restoration of the Huntersville School building and for his help with the festival.
The Edray CEOS club currently has 14 members. Its purpose is to help with different projects and assist other organizations when needed. The members also focus on assisting each other if ever someone is suffering from hardships.
Officers are: President, Barbara Shinaberry; Vice President, Hazel Wilfong; Secretary, Rita Kerr; and Secretary, Linda Gibson.
“Some of the projects that they’ve worked on this last year is the Meals on Wheels,” Griffith said. “They’ve helped out with the library, the WVMR radio station, the Wellness Center and Family Resource Network. Their special project for 2014 is to make lap quilts and things for children in need.”
Pioneer Days Association Inc. began in 1967 and hosts the annual Pioneer Days festival which is held the second full weekend each July.
The current membership is 12 and officers are: Chairman, Davy McLaughlin; Vice Chairman, Joe Smith; Secretary, Jennifer Barlow; Treasurer, Candy Sharp and board members Linda Adams, Angela Wilfong, Charlotte Biggs, Carlos Schoolcraft and Janice Miller.
“The group would also like to recognize a member of theirs this year and that member is Davy McLaughlin,” Griffith said. “Davy continues the family tradition of being very active in the Pioneer Days festival His father, Jimmy McLaughlin, was one of the founding board members and the organizer of the Antique Care Show. Davy and his sister, Nikki Felton, still coordinate the show under the honorary title ‘The Jimmy McLaughlin Memorial Car Show.’ Davy took on the reins of festival chairman in 2008 and the association would like to thank him for that.”
Minnehaha Springs CEOS Homemakers was founded in 1935 and currently has 13 members. Officers are: President, Mary Saffel; Vice President, Lucy West; Treasurer, Phyllis Lucas; and Secretary, Michelle Bubnis.
“Some of the things the club is most noted for are the Valentine bags for shut-ins and they also do the Christmas wreaths,” Griffith said. “Special project in 2014 will be just helping in the community when needed.”
The club chose Vice President Lucy West as volunteer of the year.
“She is always there with helping hands and a wonderful smile,” Griffith said. “She is one of the kindest ladies that you would ever want to meet.”
The Marlinton Lions Club began in 1953 and just recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. Current membership is 36 and officers are: President, Larry Lucas; First Vice President, Jim Smith; Second Vice President, James Gragg; Third Vice President, John Bland; Secretary, Joe Lasky; and Treasurer, Lee Anderson.
“Their organizational purpose is to aid persons in need of glasses and eye surgeries,” Griffith said. “They also work on community projects and student fundraisers. They are famous for their pork barbecue sandwiches. You’ll see them at a couple of festivals.”
The club had two members receive 35-year chevrons, one received a 25-year chevron and two received a 15-year chevron. The club also received an award for the most new members for a club in its district. Luis Soriano received a Leonard Jarrett award and Lee Anderson and Jim Smith received a Melvin Jones award.
Lion Becky Taylor was selected as volunteer of the year as well as Lion of the Year.
“They wish to thank her for all her services and assistance with the Lions Club,” Griffith said.
The Durbin Lions Club was organized in 1946 and currently has 39 members from communities in the upper end of Pocahontas County. Officers are: President, Linda Stewart; First Vice President, Kenny Vance; Second Vice President, Suzanne Stewart; Secretary, Jacob Meck; Treasurer, Rick Wooddell; Membership Director, Bill Hevener; Lion Tamer, Harold Crist; Tail Twister, Harry Price; and Past President and First Vice District Governor, Charlie Sheets.
The club also received an award for growth in membership. One member received a 50-year membership pin and another, a 45-year membership pin.
“The reason to join the Durbin Lions Club, if you needed something other than just to see what the tail twister and lion tamer are, they have fun with every activity that they do, and they help in communities in northern Pocahontas County when and where needed,” Griffith said. “Their special project in 2014 is just to continue on with projects in place, to keep those activities going.”
Lion Betty Lambert was selected as volunteer of the year.
“Betty has been a member for four years,” Griffith said. “She’s volunteered at Pocahontas County High School football games, the pancake dinner, the Halloween party. She’s also provided the vision screenings, she serves meals at the turkey dinner, she also bags pork rinds. She’s always very willing to help where needed and is very deserving of this award.”
The Marlinton Rotary Club was founded in 1939 and currently has 15 members. The organization’s motto is “Service Above Self.” Officers are: President, Tim McClung; Vice President, Emery Grimes; and Treasurer, Phillip Cain.
The group was awarded the District Governor Citation for Group 7550. It has donated time and funds to several organizations in the county as well as holding fundraisers for scholarships.
“They continue to sponsor Dinner with Santa Claus to benefit the Pocahontas County Cooperative Parish Food Pantry,” Griffith said. “They provide dictionaries for every third grader in Pocahontas County schools. They do a sponsorship of the cub scouts, boy scouts and the girls scouts in partnership with Parks and Recreation. They maintain a partnerships with New River Community and Technical College foundation for other scholarship programs.”
The Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps posted the colors at the opening of the dinner. The honor corps has served the county for several years by placing American flags on the graves of fallen veterans and providing educational material for county students.
“We would like to say a special thank you to our honor corps,” Griffith said. “More than anything, we appreciate your service to our country.”
The Family Resource Network was also recognized for its efforts to support the community and children of Pocahontas County.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org