Veterans Honor Guard Supported at Tree Gala Event

Six members of the Moundsville Veterans Honor Guard were in attendance Thursday night at the annual Christmas Business After Hours/ Tree Gala auction sponsored by WesBanco and Marshall County Chamber of Commerce, held at the Moundsville Center at the former West Virginia Penitentiary.

Prior to the start of the auction, which consisted of 18 decorated trees, seven wreaths and two mantels, chamber executive director Scott Reager introduced the Honor Guard representatives, which was followed by member Dave Schoenian speaking on behalf of the organization. He stated that the Honor Guard is a organization which exists on donations. Each year the Honor Guard conducts numerous graveside services (100 already this year) to help family members of deceased military veterans.

Each year the Chamber of Commerce designates a local charity to receive a portion of the Tree Gala funds. This year’s recipient is the Honor Guard.

With the auction getting ready to start, Moundsville businessman Brad Varlas asked auctioneer Jim Behm to hold off for a minute as he wanted the floor to make an announcement, that being that he was donating $100 to the Honor Guard — and that he was challenging others in attendance at the event.

By the end of the auction $4,500 had been received for the Honor Guard.

Varlas said following the auction that it just came to him while waiting for the auction to begin to make the challenge, and he thanked other individuals, businesses, etc., for their contributions.

Honor Guard members expressed thanks to those who made $100 contributions, and those who bid on items being auctioned.

As to the resale, there were seven trees/wreaths with Gene Gray, a military veteran, and Varlas having purchased the majority for resale.


The BAH/Tree Gala was the seventh event, four of which had taken place on Thursday, which I attended and was going to report on. My plan was to present them in the order they had taken place, and although these events were all worthy, and I meant to list them but instead I decided to change that format.

In addition to the BAH/Tree Gala, there were a Veterans Day program, two ribbon cuttings, an installation of officers and the induction of members, a “Pride and Progress” meeting, and a book signing.


The first event was a Veterans Day program on Monday at Central Elementary School in Moundsville. It was followed on Tuesday by two ribbon cuttings at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeology Museum, on Wednesday the induction of the new members of the Moundsville Middle School LEO Club and the installation of officersl. Thursday’s events included the Marshall County School Board’s Pride and Progress meeting, the signing of the American Education Week proclamation and the 10th annual talk and signing of book, “Marshall County Patriots & Heroes” by Gary Rider and Roseanna Keller, co-authors. That was followed by Business After Hours/Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Tree Gala.

The Veterans Day event involved numerous individuals, including the Moundsville Middle School Band, the Moundville Veterans Honor Guard, the POW/MIA Empty Chair by Iraq veteran and former prisoner of war Jim Robinson, the group singing of God Bless America, led by 95-year-old George Burdette; the awarding of the Veterans Community Service Awarfto the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 3 of Moundsville, a skit by Cub Scout Pack No. 78 members, the laying of flowers by representatives from different organizations, a 21-gun salute and “Taps,” and the benediction by Rev. J. Thomas Steele.

The speaker was Lieutenant Colonel Shawn A. Rickrode, a 28-year member of the military. Rickrode was raised in Marshall County and attended Sherrard Middle School, John Marshall High School and Bishop Donahue.

He was interviewed by Gary Rider while in the area, and his life in the military will be in next year’s Patriots & Heroes book.


Both Fostoria Glassware and Marx Toys are now on display at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Museum following ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

Present were representatives from the Greater Moundsville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce, the state by Charles Morris III, director of Museums Culture and History for Culture and History, and of course, individuals involved with both the Fostoria and Marx Toy.

Fostoria came to Moundsville in 1891 and some 40 years ago a glass museum was founded.

In the November-December issue of Facets of Fostoria, the official publication of the Fostoria Glass Society of America Inc., FGSA Board of Director President James D. Davis, a resident of Clarksville, Tenn., writes about the founding of the Fostoria Museum. He states that in June 1978, while having dinner, a group of glass enthusiasts conceived the idea of an organization/society dedicated to collecting and disseminating information on Fostoria Glass. In June 1980, 37 individuals from 16 states met in Moundsville and along with help from some Fostoria Glass Company officials, worked out the business of forming the constitution, by-laws, board of directors and mission statement of the new “Fostoria Glass Society of America.” Their dream was to eventually acquire a FGSA collection and obtain a building where it could be viewed and studied not only by members but also the public.

In October 1988 the FGSA Board of Directors entered into a contact to purchase its current building, which is located at the corner of Sixth Street and Tomlinson Avenue, now known as the Fostoria Glass Museum.

The Fostoria Glass Museum is quite different than what was the Marx Toy Museum, which for some 15 years was located on Second Street in Moundsville. The big difference is that the FGM is comprised of many individuals who either worked at the Fostoria or had a family member who did, while the Marx Toy collection is owned by an individual — Francis Turner.

Turner never worked at any of three Marx locations in the United States. In fact, he wasn’t from the Ohio Valley. He lived in Preston County, and started out working in the fast-food business. He was introduced to Marshall County in 1975 when he became the first manager of McDonald’s in Moundsville. He would latter become a machinist, during which time he continued to collect Marx Toys.


Doug Pettit was in charge of the Moundsville Middle School LEO Club event. Forty-one of the LEO members were in attendance, along with some 30 parents.

Pettit told those in attendance, “It is indeed my honor to welcome you on behalf of District 29-Lions and the sponsor, the Moundsville Lions Club.” He reminded the members in attendance that in addition to doing sight and hearing projects, the main focus is to try to make our communities a better place to live and to help the less fortunate.

He said each year the Lions Clubs International president selects a theme for the year, this year’s being, “‘We Serve,’ which focuses on the power of we, the power of action and the power of service. Together we can accomplish more.”

The international theme focus on areas of vision, diabetes, childhood hunger, local environment and pediatric cancer.

LEO stands for Leadership Experience Opportunities.

The new officers are:

Wyatt McClure, president; Dylan Cox, vice president; Ella Kennen, secretary; Megan Williams, treasurer; Tyler Cain, Griffin Daughhon, Alessa Hall and Marra Tharp, board of directors.


Several issues were presented by Marshall County School board office members at the Pride and Progress meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Woody Yoder discussed Math4Life, which involves the West Virginia Department of Education. The program’s mission is to ensure a comprehensive system of support to elevate mathematics achievement for all learners in the West Virginia public school systems, thus supporting the goals of the West Virginia Board of Education/WVDE Strategic Plans whose themes are to encourage a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and skills; promote a culture of responsibility, personal well-being and community engagement; and respond to workforce an economic demands.

Superintendent Dr. Shelby Haines gave an update on construction, including the proposed Cameron All-Purpose building, the Monarch Stadium wrap up, and Cameron Elementary School ‘s update on safety issues.

Dave Soltesz explained about obtaining walkie-talkies for all teachers in the county, and new lighting in some of the schools and outside areas.


A number of representatives from Marshall County Schools and others signed a proclamation designating this coming week as American Education Week.

All 12 schools in Marshall County have put together programs for the week, many of which will involve parents and grandparents.

American Education Week spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from pre-K through college, and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great.


Some 60 individuals were present Thursday at the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library for a book talk and book signing by authors Gary Rider and Roseanna Keller whose newest book, “Patriots and Heroes,” includes biographies of 120 individuals who served in the military. Several of those in the book at were in attendance at the signing.

In addition to the signings both authors related stories of several individuals that they had interviewed for the book.

Rider said that a number of veterans have already been interviewed for the 2020 book, which will be available next November


The Cameron Area Ministerial Association will host a community Thanksgiving service at 6 p.m. today at the First Christian Church on North Avenue, with several pastors in the community conducting the service.


The 50th annual Moundsville Christmas Parade will be held Saturday. It will begin at 6 p.m., at its normal starting point on Second Street east of Jefferson Avenue


If you are planning to take part in the 12th annual Turkey Trot at Grand Vue Park on Nov. 28, you are asked to register by Nov. 20 by calling the main office at GVP for registration information which is 304-845-9810

The race is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the park’s banquet hall.


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