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Volunteers honored at annual dinner

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

The Pocahontas County Opera House was filled with an air of appreciation last Wednesday as volunteers were honored for their work in the county at the annual Volunteer dinner hosted by the Marlinton Woman’s Club.

The county’s civic and non-profit organizations were invited to recognize their members and share their achievements in service for 2016.

Reta Griffith was the emcee for the evening and introduced the clubs.

The Marlinton Woman’s Club was founded in 1917 and currently has 19 members. Officers are: president Michelle Bubnis, vice president Cindy Sabota, secretary Wally Clark and treasurer Dottie Mitchell.

The club has worked on several projects in the past year, including a capital project at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, donating to Meals on Wheels and hosting the Evening with the Arts event which showcases the talents of county students.

“The reasons to join this club are to join with like-minded women who desire and work toward the improvement of the morale, education and social condition of the community,” Griffith said.

The club recognized its most senior member, Dottie Mitchell, who has been a member for 33 years. Mitchell was also recognized as the club’s Outstanding Member of the Year.

The Pocahontas County Opera House Foundation officers are president Arla Ralston, vice president Jud Worth, secretary Michelle Jeffers and treasurer Sue Groves.

The organization maintains the Opera House and strives to bring a variety of entertainment to the county.

“This is a lovely facility and not a lot of small communities have a building like this where you can listen to wonderful music and be able to put on productions and plays,” Griffith said.

The Foundation recognized all its board members and volunteers for their efforts.

The Marlinton Fire and Rescue was organized in 1906 and currently has 37 members. Officers are: chief Herbie Barlow, deputy chief Jamie Kellison, assistant chief J. P. Duncan, first lieutenant Travis Cook, second lieutenant Gene Tracy, safety officer Curtis Helton, EMS captain Jennifer Barlow and president Doug Lantz.

“Some of the special projects they worked on this year include having three members – Herbie Barlow, J. P. Duncan and Adam Irvine – complete the paramedic course through New River Community and Technical College,” Griffith said. “Thank you very much for your time. We, as a community, appreciate you taking that training.”

The fire department’s ISO rating went from a five to a four, which lowered home owner’s insurance rates.

“One of the reasons to join their group is to belong to an organization where you can help your neighbor in some of their greatest times of need,” Griffith said. “If you feel you have that quality or would like to join the rescue squad, it is a great opportunity to give back to the communities and to your friends and neighbors.”

The department’s senior member is Herbie Barlow, who became a member 35 years ago.

The Durbin Lions Club was organized in 1946 and currently has 51 members. Officers are: president Bob Sheets, first vice president Suzanne Stewart, second vice president James Alonso, secretary Jacob Meck, treasurer Rick Wooddell and membership chair Bill Hevener.

The club sells pork rinds as a fundraiser at Durbin Days Heritage Festival and Treasure on the Mountain. The club gave vision screenings at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School and helped install the outdoor education amphitheater at GBEMS.

“Reasons to join their club – they have good service, good friends and good food,” Griffith said. “So, for a good time call the Durbin Lions Club.”

The club’s most senior member is Harold Crist, who recently celebrated his 50th year with the club.

“He has served his county, his county and his community throughout his entire life,” Griffith said.

Bob Sheets was recognized as the club’s outstanding member.

Pocahontas Community Club, which began as a Kiwanis Club, was organized in 1993 and currently has 27 members. Officers are: president Lake Vaughn, secretary Nora Workman and treasurer Ann Workman.

The club hosts a monthly ice cream social at the nursing home, provides regular assistance with overdue utility bills and gas money for transportation for cancer patients, and they provide financial support to Pocahontas County 4-H Leadership.

“This club is focused on assisting working families in Pocahontas County with a priority on children and the elderly,” Griffith said.

The most senior member is Lake Vaughn, who has been in the club for more than 25 years. The club chose to recognize all its members for an outstanding year.

The Edray CEOS club officers are: president Martha Shinaberry, vice president Hazel Wilfong, secretary Sharon Fisher and treasurer Rene White.

“They work on different fundraising activities so they can help support other organizations,” Griffith said. “They donate money to Meals on Wheels and also for the 4-H camp T-shirts. They give money to the Marlinton library, Allegheny Mountain Radio, Marlinton Fire Department, as well as to the FRN for the children’s Christmas, and Pocahontas Center for Christmas.”

Hazel Wilfong was recognized as the group’s most senior member. Wilfong has been a member for 39 years.

The Marlinton Lions Club was founded in 1953 and currently has 32 members. Officers are: president Joe Lasky, first vice president Ian Drake, second vice president Shawn Clark, third vice president Kathy Irvine, secretary Becky Taylor, treasurer Yani Michael and zone chairman Phyliss Lucas.

Projects the club has worked on include eye screenings for school children, purchasing eye glasses for individuals and donations to the food pantry and for Richwood flood victims.

“Reasons to join – Lions Club International is the world’s largest service organization and they have over one point four million members in two hundred twenty-five different countries,” Griffith said. “They go by the theme, ‘where there is a need, there is a Lion’ and ‘we serve and support all needs in our community.’”

The club’s most senior member is Jim Nottingham, who joined the club 51 years ago. He has held many offices in the club and has received the Leonard Jarrett and Melvin Jones awards.

Joe Lasky was recognized as the club’s outstanding member. Lasky has been in the club for 37 years and has held many offices, and is currently serving as president.

Huntersville Historic Traditions was founded in 2007 and has 12 members. Officers are: president Tim Wade, vice president Susie Landis, secretary Sarah Sanders and treasurer Alice Irvine.

The organization puts on the annual Huntersville Traditions Day festival which celebrates the history of Pocahontas County’s first county seat.

“The reason to join their group is to just restore that history and move it forward to tell future generations about that, as well,” Griffith said. “They are in the process of restoring structures and and started renovations on the Huntersville jail this year.”

The organization recognized Larry Taylor and Roy Gibson as its outstanding members on behalf of the Huntersville Masonic Lodge for their help in the use of the Huntersville Presbyterian Church during Traditions Days. The membership also recognized all volunteers who assist with the festival.

The Marlinton Rotary Club – the oldest in the county – was established in 1839. It currently has 17 members and the officers are: president Roger Trusler, vice president Roy Gibson, secretary Kenneth Woods and treasurer Kendall Beverage.

The Rotary club sponsored the Dinner with Santa fundraiser for the Cooperative Parish Food Pantry. The club provides scholarships for Health Occupations Fellowships in partnership with New River Community and Technical College.

“The reasons to join their group is that Rotary is one of the world’s largest service organizations,” Griffith said. “They have thirty-three thousand clubs in two hundred countries.”

The club’s most senior member is Gene Simmons, who became a member 52 years ago. Roy Gibson was recognized as the club’s outstanding member this year.

The Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce was organized in 2002 and has 92 members. Officers are: president Bill Jordan, vice president Ben Wilfong, treasurer Selina King and secretary Barbara Lay.

The chamber hosted the Fish Bowl event which is a grant for small businesses, as well as the Autumn Harvest Festival and RoadKill Cook-off.

The Minnehaha Springs CEOS was established in 1935 and currently has 12 members. Officers are: president Sue Herold, vice president, Mary Saffel, secretary Kathy Henry and treasurer Phyliss Lucas.

This club has provided valentine bags for shut-ins and nursing home patients, purchased baby books for the Family Resource Network and made donations to Allegheny Mountain Radio and the McClintic Library.

“The reasons to join their club are to inspire families to make learning an adventure as they advance through life ­– in home and communities,” Griffith said.

The organizations most senior member is Rene White, who was been a member since 1959.

“She is always willing to help the club and she is also very active,” Griffith said. “Rene is always much involved with different groups, and she’s also very involved in the Minnehaha CEOS.”

Sue Herold was recognized as the club’s outstanding member this year.

The Humane Society of Pocahontas County was founded in 1998 and currently has eight members. Officers are: president Chip Adkins, vice president Laura Dean Bennett, secretary Christine Mullens and treasurer Laura Finch.

Along with issuing 358 vouchers for the spay and neuter program and completing 60 trap spay and neuters on stray and feral cats and dogs, the club hosted the Strut Your Mutt pet show and made additions to the organizations building.

The club recognized Chip Adkins as its most senior member.

“I believe Chip, you’ve been set up because all of them have donated their time to you and said you were 153 years old and they said they’ve elected you as their most senior member because none of the rest of them – they are all ladies – they do not want to divulge their age, so it’s you,” Griffith said.

The club’s outstanding member was Christine Mullens, who has kept records as secretary for the past several years.

The Pocahontas County Family Resource Network was founded to help children and families in need.

The FRN serves nearly 300 low-income children through Project Christmas, facilitates a monthly Harvest House food pantry which provides food for approximately 150 low-income senior citizens. The organization uses monetary donations from the Marlinton Woman’s Club to provide weekend backpacks filled with food for Marlinton Middle and Pocahontas County High schools low income students.

The board of directors include executive director Laura Young, president Susie McMillion, vice president Roger Trusler and program manager for Family Outreach and Education center Rebecca Campbell.

“This group wants to recognize and share with all of you that they could not give all the different assistance they do without the help of very dedicated volunteers and one of those, they would like to recognize here tonight,” Griffith said. “One of the volunteers is there every day and that is Lisa Bibb.

“She can be found over at the family center taking calls, greeting clients and helping with general office management. She’s been dedicated to the family center for over two years and has a heart for helping her community.”

All the organizations recognized at the dinner are open to new members. Anyone interested in joining may contact the officers mentioned.

Juantia Fireball and the Continental Drifters provided entertainment for the evening.

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