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Wheeling YMCA Light of the Valley Luncheon Is Wednesday

LISA ALLEN

WHEELING — In celebrating those who go the extra mile for youth in the Ohio Valley, the Wheeling YMCA’s “Light of the Valley” luncheon takes another step in lending a helping hand to those children.

The luncheon is the Y’s main fundraiser for the year. Funds from the event help the Y maintain its playground and bolsters a scholarship fund for kids who can’t afford the Y’s programs. They can participate at a discounted or zero-cost rate.

That, executive director Adam Shinsky said, is why the luncheon is so important to hold, and why it was so disappointing that the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 luncheon.

“Not being able to have it last year really hurt,” he said. “We thought about it long and hard this year with COVID still going on. But we feel we can run it safely.”

This year’s luncheon will be held at noon Wednesday at Wheeling Park’s White Palace. Lunch will be served buffet-style by Wheeling Park staff.

Tables will be properly spaced to allow for appropriate distancing. Masks are optional, but welcomed.

Each year, the winner of the Dr. Lee Jones Patron of Youth Award is honored at the luncheon. This year’s recipient is Lisa Allen, chairperson of the board of directors at the Ziegenfelder Company, a Wheeling-based company that is one of the top producers of frozen treats in the United States.

A former YMCA employee, Allen and Ziegenfelder have a long relationship with the organization. Among other donations, the company sponsors the Y’s flag football championships and provides DVDs of the game, awards, pizza and popsicles.

“Just being able to have the program and honor Lisa and everything she has done for the Y and the community is going to benefit so many more kids,” Shinsky said.

The award is in its 14th year and has honored many people who have contributed to the mission of the YMCA and the Ohio Valley community as a whole.

“Everybody we’ve honored, all these people have done so much, not only for the YMCA,” Shinsky said. “The main component is what these people do for the youth in our community, and all these people have just gone above and beyond.”

These award recipients don’t seek the spotlight for their endeavors, but Shinsky said it is important to make sure that spotlight shines on them.

“These things they do are behind the scenes and no one knows about it,” he said, “but we feel they deserve to be honored.”

Steubenville native Rich Donnelly, who spent 10 years as a coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of this Major League Baseball coaching career, will be the keynote speaker. Tickets are still available. To purchase, call Shinsky at 304-242-8086.

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