Former Colleagues Remember West Virginia Delegate Roy Givens

Former lawmakers say W.Va. 2 between Weirton and Follansbee might not be four-lanes today if it weren’t for the efforts of former Delegate Roy Givens, a “team player.”

Givens, D-Brooke, passed away this week at age of 89. He served three different stints in the West Virginia Legislature, totalling 24 years in the House of Delegates.

Givens was first-elected in 1978 and served through 1990. He was again elected in 1994, and was a delegate until 2002. His third time in the House was from 2008 through 2012.

Former Delegate Jack Yost, D-Brooke, termed Givens “a dynamic legislator” who also had served on the Brooke County Board of Education and many communities in Brooke County.

“He will be sadly missed,” Yost said of Givens. “He was a humanitarian, and well-respected.”

“He was of great character. If he told you something, you could take it to the bank.”

While Yost succeeded Givens in the House after the 2002, he said the two continued to work together “very well” in the following years.

“He had a lot of respect from the state to the national level,” Yost said. “He could always call Sen. Byrd or Sen. Rockefeller if he needed something.

“He was one of those people you could count on when you needed him. If there was a problem, you could call him.”

Yost said he most remembers Givens and his wife Dolores being very much involved in the Brooke County community.

“Wherever you saw Roy, you saw Dolores,” he said. “I think (wife) Kris and I mimic that.”

Former State Sen. Ed Bowman, D-Hancock, said Givens always put Brooke County first when making a decision.

He said he and Givens, along with former Sen. Andy McKenzie, R-Ohio, and Delegate Tim Ennis, D-Brooke worked together as a four-person team to push for the widening of W.Va. 2 from Weirton to Follansbee.

“During the time I was senator, we truly had a team in place,” Bowman said. “We always worked together as a team. This led to the success we had on a number of projects, and funds we returned home to Brooke County residents.

“That team effort led to one of our biggest accomplishments — the widening of Route 2 from Weirton to Follansbee. It was talked about for many, many years, and together the four of us were able to accomplish that even when some other lawmakers said it would never occur.”

Bowman said he remembers traveling with Givens and Ennis to Washington to meet with Byrd and seek funding for the widening of W.Va. 2.

“I can’t emphasize enough how Roy and the others were truly team players.”

McKenzie described Givens as “a dear friend, and a great legislator who loved Wellsburg, Brooke County and West Virginia.”

“He was a strong advocate for the Northern Panhandle,” McKenzie said. “We collectively worked together as a team. He was a strong team player, and it made our jobs easier to have Roy as a part of the group.”

McKenzie said Givens and his wife were “genuinely kind people who helped people.”

“They helped me personally,” he said. “They will be missed.”

Ennis praised Givens’ dedication to the people of 2nd District, and especially its small towns.

“Small towns at least had a chance for much needed improvements with Roy,” Ennis said. “Roy cared about the small towns.

“He knew how to use his knowledge and wisdom to work the session to benefit the area. “

Ennis estimates Givens was involved with $100 million of road work in the area, as well as a $400,000 expansion of the Brooke County Library.

In addition, Givens was instrumental in getting the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility built in Clarksburg, he said.

“He was effective because he returned every phone call, and answered every letter,” Ennis said. “He was honest, and had impeccable integrity. That’s how he had a long legislative career.”

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