Chamber of Commerce honors community servants with Summit awards
By Ronda Wertman
KEYSER - “This category is packed this year with people who are all incredibly deserving,” said Chamber of Commerce president Randy Crane of this year’s Summit Award community service nominees.
“This award is not limited to Chamber members, but is open to all in our community,” said Crane as he recognized nominees Dinah Courrier, the County United Way, Luke Urice and a group of local business including Good Carma Catering, Fox’s Pizza, Duckie’s Bar & Grill, Route 28 Bar and Grill and the Millstone Restaurant.
“The fourth entry is pretty unique. It consists of five businesses who have provided lunches to feed basically every kid in the county,” said Crane.
“Kirk Kesner of Fox’s Pizza provided school-aged kids a free lunch Monday through Friday forever,” added Crane. “The other four businesses stepped in to help the school system when it was unsafe for the schools to make meals for the kids.
“They made thousands, and thousands of meals all spring and throughout the summer, making sure that every school kid in the county got a nutritious meal and we know for many of them that was the only way they would,” he said recognizing the businesses with this Year’s Community Service Award.
Crane praised each of the nominees for their various contributions to improving the lives of others.
“Dinah Courrier is community service ” he said, noting Rotary, Trinity Lutheran Church, Food for Thought and countless other non-profits she is involved with.
Crane noted her work with the Mineral County Historical Society and the museum dedicated to portraying the history of all of Mineral County.
“She’s done an incredible job with that museum,” he said, noting that it was badly needed.
“When I think of County United Way, I think of two things: the financial support that they provide to area non-profits to benefit the community and Juli McCoy,” said Crane. “County United Way is working very hard this year to re-imagine itself and find new and better ways to raise money to in turn help our community and the work they do is incredible.
“Luke Urice may not be a household name in the entire county, but he sure is in Keyser. Luke has been giving a lot of his time lately to created beautiful murals in and around the city to brighten up the landscape, and to lift people’s sprits, which this year helps immensely,” said Crane, adding that it “made them appreciate their town even more.”
In a similar award, the Non-Profit of the Year recognized nominees Burlington United Methodist Family Services (BUMFS) and the Keyser Rotary Club.
This year’s winner is Burlington United Methodist Family Services, recognizing several accomplishments to improve services for those in need.
“New CEO Chris Mullet is off and running to a great start,” said Crane, recognizing the recent purchase of the Alkire Mansion and renovation to give back to the community as home to seven boys that have been removed from their families.
The Knobley Property will house 32 females in recovery and in an effort to keep their children out of foster care, the property will accommodate up to ten children. Services provided will include: Prevention; health promotion and wellness; life skills and other support services. Three bedrooms have also been added to the Staggers House to accommodate mothers and the children.
“Rotary is being led by Logan DelSignore. Rotary is truly a service organization that many people may not be aware of everything they do,” said Crane.
Rotary sponsors several programs throughout the year, including Food for Thought and over $10,000 to the community through grants, scholarships, and donations, including three scholarships to Katharine Church nominees, and the E.E. Church Scholarship to a KHS senior that can be renewed their sophomore year at Potomac State College (PSC).
“The club gives dictionaries to every fourth grader in the county. This year Keyser Middle School was selected in partnership with a District Rotary Grant to purchase $3,400 worth of white boards to replace aging chalk boards in the school. In an average year the club donates to over two dozen worthy organizations that help them continue to function. Truly great stuff,” concluded Crane.