The Wheeling YMCA raised a record $60,000 Wednesday at the annual Light of the Valley luncheon, which honored Robert "Bob" Nutting for his contributions toward improving the lives of children and families in the Ohio Valley.
Nutting, president and chief executive officer of the Ogden Newspapers Inc. and chairman of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pirates Charities, received the Dr. Lee Jones "Patron of Youth" Award during the luncheon held at Wheeling Park's White Palace. Previous awardees include G. Randolph Worls, Bishop Emeritus Bernard Schmitt of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, and Robert "Bob" Robinson.
Proceeds from the banquet will be used to provided funding for YMCA programs for families and children who could not otherwise afford to participate.
One of Nutting's most recent projects is assisting Wheeling resident Lorraine McCardle in her efforts to build a Miracle Field at the Chambers Interstate 470 ballfield complex in Elm Grove.
Nutting witnessed the opening of a similar Miracle Field in Cranberry, Pa., and understands the impact such facilities can have on a community and its families. Miracle Fields have a special playing surface that allow children in wheelchairs and walkers to play the game of baseball.
Several hundred well-wishers, including members of Nutting's family, attended Wednesday's event, which featured former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Steve Blass as guest speaker.
Blass, who has been with the Pirate organization in various capacities since 1960, said he is proud to work for a man "who extends beyond himself."
"Bob is involved in his community and he doesn't have to be. He is a man with a great deal on his plate but he also has shown me how important family is," Blass said. "The Miracle Field is going to be so special. It is a project that allows your heart to feel good."
Robinson introduced Nutting during the luncheon. He echoed Blass' comments, stressing that Nutting "cares about his community."
"His tireless efforts and community involvement show that he cares and what he gives makes a difference in the lives of others," Robinson said.
Nutting, in accepting his award, thanked those who attended the luncheon and those who donate to their communities, especially the volunteers involved with the Chambers YMCA in Elm Grove. He commended the first three award winners - Worls, Schmitt and Robinson - noting each has positively impacted his life in various ways.
He noted that his family has been deeply involved in the local area since 1890, when the first edition of what was then known as the Wheeling Evening News was published, and that he is carrying on that "commitment of community."
Nutting also thanked his parents, G. Ogden and Betty Woods Nutting, for the roles they have played in his life.
He also touted the influences of others, including Dr. Donald Hofreuter, George Weaver, Judge Frederick Stamp, Bob Steptoe and Robert "Scat" Scatterday.
In closing, Nutting said he was truly honored by the Light of the Valley award but added that "many of you deserve this more than I do."
"You're the real lights of the valley here in this room," Nutting told the crowd of more than 300.