Surplus Given to Homeless Veterans Dwindling

Photo by Joselyn King Wheeling Human Rights Commission members Joseph Blalock, left, and Diana Bell discuss matters Tuesday prior to the start of the commission’s meeting.

An annual event to help homeless veterans in Wheeling will take place next month, but it might be the last one.

The Veteran Stand Down Resource Fair is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 10 at the West Virginia Northern Community College Education Building, 1704 Market St., Wheeling.

Free haircuts and lunches will be provided to veterans in need. They also will receive surplus military items such as clothing, blankets and jackets.

The Wheeling Human Rights Commission assists with the event each year, and chairman Steve Novotney said during the commission’s meeting Tuesday this year’s veterans event may be the last because the supply of surplus military items is dwindling.

“Because of changes made at the very top, the equipment surplus seems to be going away,” he told board members. “The blankets, coats and clothing surplus that has been made available for many years is diminishing.”

Novotney said he would provide further updates in the coming months, and he referred all other comments to organizer Joe Douglas at Workforce WV. Douglas was not available Tuesday for comment.

Board members also discussed two other upcoming events.

The Wheeling NAACP will host its annual Freedom Fund banquet at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Wheeling YWCA, 1100 Chapline St. Clarke, Charles and Tony Gordon will be honored with the Freedom Fund Memorial Award, and the Rev. Darrell Cummings will receive the Freedom Fund Community Award.

Also, “Human Rights in Appalachia,” an interactive discussion on the historical, philosophical and social relevance of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights on our state and region, is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Erickson Alumni Center, now in the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies Building at Wheeling Jesuit University.

The event is being sponsored by the Human Rights Commission, WJU and the Appalachian Institute at WJU and Catholic Charities West Virginia.

Board members discussed the Human Rights Commission’s event that took place Sept. 10, titled “Hers, His, Our Rights.”

Member Frank Calabrese said the event wasn’t well-attended, and it should have been better publicized. Novotney agreed with him.

“We could have advertised better,” Novotney said. “We also had the threat of flooding. I’m sure nobody from Wheeling Island came. They were cleaning. We talked about a cancellation of the event. I talked to everybody I could speak to, and we went forward with it.”

He commended the guest speakers — Elizabeth Hofreuter, head of school at Wheeling Country Day School; attorney Robert Gaudio; Lisa Allen, president and CEO of the Ziegenfelder Co.; and Loma Nevels, vice-chairman of the Human Rights Commission. He said they “enticed and intrigued the audience.”

Novotney said the event is one the Human Rights Commission could build upon and make into an annual event.

In addition to Novotney, Calebrese and Nevels, other members present for Tuesday’s meeting included the Rev. Ralph Dunkin, Diana Bell, Joseph Blalock, Frank Calabreese, Karen Kangisser and Anthony Sunseri. Rita Gupta was not in attendance.

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