When COVID-19 struck, a dedicated group of five volunteers at the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation sprang into action to ensure that the Foundation’s headquarters could remain accessible to the community.

On Thursday, June 16th, The Parkersburg Community Foundation (PACF) Facilities Committee, Mary Wright, Bob Wright, Randy Dick, Joe Caltrider, and Jim Crews, were honored for their dedication to service at the annual West Virginia Governor’s Service Awards dinner at the Culture Center at the State Capitol.

Presented since 1995, the Governor’s Service Awards honors individuals and groups that exemplify outstanding dedication to volunteerism and community service in West Virginia. The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation Facilities Committee received their award in the COVID-19 Category.

The PACF is a public charity with more than 200 volunteers engaged in community service. The Foundation’s community conference room is a former church sanctuary. In non-COVID times, it is well-used by community groups. It is a site for committee meetings and has been used for such things as Habitat for Humanity homeowner orientations, school nurses’ and educators’ trainings, and nonprofit workshops and board retreats.

When COVID-19 struck, it was immediately apparent that the meeting space was not suited for virtual meetings. Faced with small computer screens and poor acoustics, the Foundation’s Facilities Committee jumped in to help.

The team researched microphones and acoustic panels for the conference room. When the cost was too great, they provided the physical labor to install the large panels. They also installed microphones and sewed and mounted curtains.

The project was tedious and difficult, but it paid off. The improvements allowed the Foundation to remain operational, helping them deliver $500,000 in COVID-19 relief grants. The conference space also served as a hub for area nonprofits and agencies to communicate virtually throughout the pandemic.

Throughout the year, the Facilities Committee stays busy with other projects at the Foundation, Randy Dick and Jim Crews routinely clean out gutters and power-wash the sidewalks. Joe Caltrider, a licensed electrician, resolves electrical issues. And Bob and Mary Wright are outside every snowstorm, shoveling the walkways, before staff arrive. Recently Mary baked 350 “thank you cookies” so Foundation volunteers could deliver them to the region’s law enforcement.

The PACF is truly a community effort, and volunteers like Mary Wright, Bob Wright, Randy Dick, Joe Caltrider, and Jim Crews, are what keep the Foundation going.

The Governor’s Service Awards are administered by Volunteer West Virginia, the State’s Commission for National and Community Service. A volunteer review committee reads and selects the recipients based on achievement, community needs, continuing involvement, innovation, and impact of service.

Other recipients of the 2022 Governor’s Service Awards include, by category:

  • Adult: Dr. Jerry Carr Jr. and Nicole Wilson-Carr, Morgantown
  • Senior: Barbara “Bobbi” Trimboli, Elkins
  • Senior: Kenneth Adams, Cairo
  • Lifetime Achievement: Kiki Angelos, Parkersburg
  • Group: Rotary Club of Beckley

Above Image: (left to right) Jim Crews, Randy Dick, Mary Wright, Bob Wright, and Joe Caltrider.