County Commissioners Buy New Van for Honor Guard

Christmas came early for the Moundsville Honor Guard, thanks to the Marshall County commissioners!

The Christmas present actually came in two phases: a check which in turn was used to purchase a 15-passenger van.

A few months ago, honor guard members Dave Schoenian, Phil Cameron and Gary Jenkins asked to be placed on the agenda of the county commission as they wanted to express thanks to Commissioners Bob Miller, John Gruzinskas and Scott Varner for their assistance on behalf of the honor guard. During the conversation the honor guard members made mention of needing a new van for transporting their members to funerals. They pointed out that the current vehicle was wearing out mainly because of the terrain that they sometimes encounter in getting to the cemeteries.

The three honor guard spokesmen said further that they were looking forward to obtaining a used van or new van sometime in 2019, depending on the finances which be available.

On hearing of condition of the current van, which was a used vehicle when the honor guard secured it in 2013, the commissioners recommended that they submit a request for financial assistance.

The honor guard didn’t waste anytime in putting together the request and a week later it was in the hands of the commissioners. By the way, the request from the honor guard, signed by President Mike Kuzma, did not list an amount of money.

Like in any monetary requests to the commissioners, the matter was tabled so that the commissioners could review the different line items to determine where the money might be available should the commissioners vote to approve this particular request.

Within a few weeks the request was brought off the “table,” with the commissioners determining that due to the condition of the current van it would be more feasible to purchase a new van rather than repairing the old vehicle.

Once that decision was made to purchase a new vehicle the commissioners also authorized the honor guard members to find a vehicle which would best serve their purpose.

It took the honor guard members a few weeks to find such a vehicle and when they did locate it, the members contacted the commissioners to inform them that they had found a vehicle and were told then to come to this past week’s meeting at which time they would presented a check for the entire amount — about $52,000. Thus the check was presented to Schoenian, Cameron, Larry Cool and Mick Tomlinson.

Schoenian stated, “We can’t say enough about the county commissioners, they have not only have brought this vehicle for us, but have helped us financially in the past.” He added, “The general public has also supported us, for which we are very grateful.” He mentioned the recent steak fry, which attracted a “full house.” He noted that the proceeds from the steak fry had enabled the honor guard to purchase glass cases which contain American flags that are given to a family member of deceased veterans.

The commissioners commended the honor guard members for their service, pointing out that they have been been averaging some 120 funerals annually.

Schoenian stated that the honor guard likes to have 12 members participate in a grave-site service, but that sometimes it is difficult due to members having to work, or not being available for different reasons. He added, “We would like to have some additional members. If anyone would like to become they should contact any current members.”

Unless the county commission needs to call a special meeting during the remainder of this month, this past Tuesday was the last day for County Commissioner Bob Miller Jr., to serve in that office.

When he ran for office it was the first time he had ever sought a political office. Having been a small business owner for 25 years, Miller commented at that time he would be bringing a wealth of business experience, and that he knew what it would be like to set goals, meet challenges and stick to a budget. He further commented that he believed that this was the kind of fiscal discipline and vision that was needed in county government.

He pointed out that in 2010 he worked on behalf of the then new Congressman David McKinley, in his election. He said, “At that time I got to know many people in the community and I became more familiar with the challenges the county faced at that time.” He added, “I have continued to learn more about county government.”

He stated that he was proud of the many accomplishments which the commission has been responsible for during the past six years, such as the Marshall County Public Safety Building, which houses the sheriff’s office, the Office of Emergency, and the E-911 office, and most recently the announcement of a Veterans Plaza to be constructed on the courthouse lawn, and major improvements to the Marshall County Animal Shelter building.

Miller said he is also proud of his efforts on behalf of a roadway he hopes someday would connect Moundsville with Morgantown. “I’ve met many individuals in Washington, D.C., who are involved in Transportation, Energy and Commerce.”

He said he plans to continue working toward this roadway, in fact, some individuals believe he will become the director of the I-68/WV 2 Authority soon after the first of the year.

Some other matters taken up at Tuesday’s meeting of the county commission were:

According to Josh Jefferson, of the Regional Economic Development (RED), the final phase of the Franklin District TIF Expansion has been undertaken, and he was asking the county commissioners or their approval and to enable him to send all documents to the West Virginia Development Office.

The commissioners approved a $108,396 expenditure to upgrade the Carolina Recording System utilized by the 911 office. The request was submitted by 911 Director Larry Newell, who stated that the money will be paid through his office.

The commissioners approved Bob Magers as the sheriff’s department process server. Magers recently retired as a deputy sheriff.

The county commission will not be meeting again until Jan. 8, at which time they will elect a president and welcome a new member, Mike Ferro.

The new president is expected to be Scott Varner, a four-year member of the commission.

Monday will be the final day this year that the Salvation Army kettles will operational in Moundsville and New Martinsville. The kettles have been located at a number of businesses in the two cities for the past six weeks.

The kettles in New Martinsville will be accepting financial donations from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Monday, while in Moundsville the hours will be 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Although the Salvation Army no longer has church services at its Moundsville location, it continues to assist individuals and families in different ways.

The Salvation Army came to Moundsville in the early 1920s. Over the years the Salvation Army has strived to help the needy with food, shelter, utility bills and clothing.

2019 will be the 60th year that the Salvation Army has been in its current location, 700 Jefferson Ave.

You might want to mark your calendar for Jan. 17. That is the date for the Moundsville Lions Club-Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC) sponsored American Red Cross Blood Drive. The hours will be from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

The blood drive will take place within the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary. The entrance will be the North Wagon Gate on Eighth Street.

Merry Christmas to the faithful readers of this weekly column.

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