Woman’s Club thanks volunteers with annual Christmas dinner
Each year, the Marlinton Woman’s Club holds a dinner to honor civic and community organizations that volunteer their time to make Pocahontas County a better place. Members of 12 organizations gathered Monday night at the Pocahontas County Opera House to celebrate that service.
“So many folks in this room and all of us collectively do so much for the community and for the county that it is nice to take this time and reflect back on some of the volunteers’ work, and the service that you give back to the community,” emcee and Woman’s Club member Reta Griffith said.
Along with recognizing the groups as a whole, the Woman’s Club asks each group to select an Outstanding Member of the Year for special recognition.
The Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps serve under the motto “Veterans serving Veterans, Youth and Community.” Their top priority is providing military rites for deceased veterans at funeral services throughout the county. In addition, the Honor Corps also works with all county schools to educate students on patriotism and a love of our country.
“The Honor Corps this year would like to recognize Willard Pingley for all his service to the group above and beyond the call of duty,” Griffith said. “He participates in almost all activities and represents an honorable veteran in our community.”
The Durbin Lions Club serves the upper end of the county in many ways and strives to find new and special projects to do each year. This year, the Durbin Lions partnered with the Marlinton Lions Club for a food drive on Make a Difference Day. The clubs collected food items and monetary donations for the two food pantries in the county.
“The Durbin Lions Club has selected Linda Stewart as their outstanding member of the year,” Griffith said. “Linda is being recognized for taking a leadership role in planning and executing the Make a Difference Day project as well as many other club initiatives.”
The Pioneer Days Association had an arduous year due to the derecho which swept through the county, postponing the annual Pioneer Days activities. The Association successfully rescheduled and managed to have an excellent festival.
“The Association wants to recognize a member that began with the festival when she was five-years-old as a contestant in the Little Miss Pocahontas Pageant – Jennifer Miller Barlow,” Griffith said. “She joined the festival committee as the director of that pageant in 2007 and now directs all the Pioneer Days festival pageants and serves on the board of directors as secretary.”
The Marlinton Lions Club will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in January. The clubs’ significant activity has always been promoting eye exams and providing glasses for those in need. The club also works with youth activities and gives to other projects in the county.
“This year, their Lion of the Year is Larry Lucas,” Griffith said. “Larry joined the club in 2010 and is consistently involved in participating in club activities. Larry is active in the community and is going to be the club’s next president.”
Marlinton Fire and Rescue was put to the test this year by not one, but two storms that ripped through the county. The department banned together to assist those in need during the derecho and Hurricane Sandy by distributing food and water, doing welfare checks, transporting patients, clearing roadways and much more. This year alone, the department as already covered 374 calls.
“The group feels that all of their members who serve are each outstanding and they want to recognize the entire group for their dedication this year,” Griffith explained. “The group officers are Fire Chief Herbie Barlow, EMS Captain Jennifer Barlow and the members of the Marlinton Fire and Rescue would also like to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas.”
The Hillsboro CEOS club provides baked goods for fundraisers during the Little Levels Heritage Festival – a celebration of the history and culture of Hillsboro. The ladies’ famous baked goods are always a hit at every event.
Norma Miksell was selected as Outstanding Member of the Year.
“She exemplifies the pillars of the Community Educational Outreach Service,” Griffith said. “She honorably served our country in the Navy in World War II. As a nurse, she served the needs of patients for many years and in her retirement, she continues to actively share her time and talents with others. She provides a collection of displays at the Hillsboro Library along with beautiful quilt displays. Norma regularly donates her quilts to organizations for fundraising. She makes book bags as an ongoing fundraiser for the library friends and annualy makes Halloween totes for children at Hillsboro Elementary School.”
The Minnehaha CEOS Homemakers most significant service this year was its sponsorship of the Relay for Life survivors’ luncheon. The group felt it was important to show that cancer can be beaten and survivors can continue with a good quality of life.
“In relation to this activity, the club would like to recognize Phyllis Lucas as their member of the year,” Griffith said. “Phyllis took the lead doing all that was necessary to make the arrangements for the survivor luncheon. She is dedicated to seeing that this part of the Relay for Life continues.”
The Edray CEOS club is dedicated to providing financial donations to as many local groups and organizations as possible. The club is very supportive of the Senior Center which is now located in Edray.
“The Edray club recognizes all their members who are present here tonight,” Griffith said. “These ladies are the backbone of the club and carry out all their activities.”
The Marlinton Woman’s Club selects a special project on which to focus each year and this year the project was the restoration of the old log house known as the oldest house in Marlinton. The structure was built in 1850 and was moved to its current location near the depot for restoration. The project is ongoing and the Woman’s Club has donated $2,000 for the restoration and plans to continue raising funds for the project to see it through to its completion.
“The Marlinton Woman’s Club would like to recognize their current president Laura Dean Bennett,” Griffith said. “Laura’s efforts go far from meetings. She supports every little project that we have. She’s popped and sold kettle corn at the Harvest Festival, tempting passersby with tastes and she brings new life to old junk at our yard sales. Laura Dean gives to our community by participating in the Read Aloud program and she’s also been a cornerstone to the new Family Outreach Education Center. She does all these seemingly effortlessly and is a shining example of our club.”
The Huntersville Traditions Day organization continues to preserve and promote the history of Huntersville and has grown exponentially over the years. The celebration began as one day of history and culture, and has now expanded into three days.
“[They] want to recognize Charlotte and Keith Alderman for their continued work with Traditions Days,” Griffith said. “They both volunteer and are always ready to do what needs done for its success. Both Charlotte and Keith are both not only willing but also very agreeable about the work that they do.”
The Rotary Club serves under the motto “Service Above Self” and has been involved in many community and civic activities. The club sponsors and assists with the boy and cub scout programs as well as many other organizations.
“The Rotary member that they would like to recognize tonight is Roger Trusler,” Griffith said. “He’s been a member of the Marlinton Rotary Club for 39 years and has served as the president for six of those years. Roger’s commitment to helping the community is very evident by looking at his past and his present endeavors. In recent years, Roger has been instrumental in spearheading the development of the Rotary Interact Club at Pocahontas County High School. He’s also been organizing the annual dinner with Santa, developing a nursing scholarship program, as well as numerous fundraising events for local charities. Roger exemplifies what Rotary International stands for which is ‘Service Above Self.’”
The Family Resource Network is a unique organization which brings volunteers together to better serve the county. Each year the FRN organizes the Project Christmas Angel Tree which is a special way for volunteers to give Christmas gifts to area children. This year nearly 200 children will receive gifts as a result of the project.
“The FRN is blessed with very giving and caring employees,” Griffith said. “There are two people that make everything come together and very willingly jump in on any project and that’s Marion Wright and Tom Peterson. They go above and beyond the work that is expected of them to see that everything is done and done well. Whether it’s dressing up in costumes or running to Lewisburg at the last minute for items, they both are very exemplary employees.”
Along with recognizing organizations for the service to the county, the Woman’s Club also has a Christmas tree contest where organizations decorate trees to display at the Opera House. The winning tree this year was decorated by the Farmer’s Market. Draped with dried pepper garland and ornaments made of other dried fruits, vegetables and flowers, the tree had a creative design that exuded the spirit of the Farmer’s Market.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at email@example.com