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Hydie Friend Named ‘Building A Better Community’ Award Winner by United Way

Photo by Alan Olson - Hydie Friend addresses an adoring crowd at the Building a Better Community Breakfast.

After a lifetime in service to her community, Hydie Friend has been recognized as the Better Community Award winner by the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley.

Friend was honored at the Building a Better Community Breakfast Wednesday morning, held at the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.

Executive Director Jessica Rine said Friend was a pioneer for United Way locally who made huge strides in improving her community.

“Hydie has really paved the way in the United Way and in the upper Ohio Valley. She’s dedicated so much of her time and resources into making this community better,” Rine said. “She’s a giant, wonderful, amazing fit for this award.”

Rine said Friend has worked alongside United Way’s Board of Directors for some time, and that Friend was responsible for fostering the relationship between United Way and the city of Wheeling. In addition to that, Friend has also been an active participant in many United Way activities.

“She’s been involved in our allocations, she’s done the Sandy O’Haver Day of Caring. She really epitomizes somebody with the United Way, and she loves the organization. She always has, and it’s been an organization that’s near and dear to her heart for quite some time, and we’re so glad that she’s allowing us to honor her today,” Rine added.

Friend said that her work was helped by innumerable people across the Ohio Valley, who were also deserving of praise.

“I’ve contributed to building a better community. (I), and a lot of other people in the Ohio Valley, work hard every day to build a better community,” Friend said. “Personally, and asking the community to contribute — over the years, it’s been millions that the United Way has invested into this community. … All of its participating agencies, they all contribute to the community.”

Friend, now retired, said she’s supported the United Way since the 1980s with her time and money.

“It’s just such a worthwhile agency that supports worthwhile agencies in the community, that touches many, many people,” she said.

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