Celebration was the word of the evening at the annual Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce dinner March 27. Businessmen and women, and politicians gathered together to honor and celebrate the contribution of an outstanding individual and business that received the 2014 Community Involvement Awards.
Chamber president Mike Holstine announced that Marlinton resident Roger Trusler was selected as the Individual of the Year.
“Roger has unbounded energy in the pursuit of the betterment of this community and this county,” Holstine said. “He has been instrumental in bringing the New River Community and Technical College degree program to PCHS. He initialized the One Room University, and he worked tirelessly to fund and build the community [wellness] center we have here in Marlinton.
“He’s always searching for the next possibility to enhance the lives of children and adults in this community,” Holstine continued. “He constantly strives to find the means to provide to this community those things that most communities take for granted.”
Trusler retired in 2006 after 33 years as an employee of the Pocahontas County Board of Education, serving as a teacher, counselor, director of special education, federal programs, school transportation, food services and special projects and administrative assistant to the superintendent. He now works for First Tracks Real Estate as a real estate agent.
Trusler modestly accepted the award and attributed his successes to the support he has from the community.
“All the accomplishments we made took a lot of teamwork,” he said. “The wellness center project took eight years but we made it. I really appreciate the support of everyone. It’s been a number of projects many of you have been involved in and for your support in our efforts, I thank you.”
Vice president Paula Garretson announced the business of the year – Allegheny Mountain Radio.
“Allegheny Mountain Radio is a network of three community stations which are public and non-commercial,” she said. “They are operated by volunteers and I underline this – volunteers and a small paid staff.”
In Pocahontas County, AMR operates four stations: 1370 AM WVMR, Frost, which went on air in 1981; 103.5 FM Radio Durbin, 1998; 91.9 FM WVMR-FM, Hillsboro, 2010; and 88.5 FM WNMP, Marlinton, 2011.
“Everyone in the county and the surrounding areas want to thank AMR for taking care of us during the many disaster that hit our area,” Garretson added. “Keeping us so informed – letting us know who has water, who has gas, where we can take a shower, when we may get the electric back, where we can get warm. We are so lucky to have so many dedicated people working at that radio station.”
The award was accepted by on-air personality Melodie Wallace on behalf of the radio station.
“I speak for everyone at Allegheny Mountain Radio – the staff and the tireless volunteers – in saying thank you for this honor and thank you very much for supporting the radio station, and keeping us around for so long. We will continue to do what we do for you guys.”
Guest speaker for the evening, Delegate Bill Hartman, discussed the newly formed Small Business/Entrepreneurship/Economic Development Committee, of which he is Vice-Chair.
Hartman explained that the 25 member committee was formed as a way for the legislature to improve the business environment in West Virginia.
“We decided we would have what we termed ‘listening tours,’” Hartman said. “We would travel around the state and have regional meetings all around the state. We would invite successful entrepreneurs from that region to open the meeting and speak about what their business was and why they thought they were successful and what the state could do to make their job easier as an individual entrepreneur.”
The committee has held two listening tour meetings thus far and the response has been positive.
“I think the two meetings we’ve had have been very, very positive,” Hartman said. “We’re compiling all the remarks. We took notes on everything that was said at the meeting.”
Hartman said he is available for questions regarding the committee.
The chamber held elections for the 2014 board of directors and selected Barbara Lay, Andrew Dean, Roger Trusler and Bill Jordan each of whom will serve a three-year term.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at email@example.com