TAYLOR COUNTY—Many people have heard the saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and one local man certainly has dedicated his time to bettering the community, offering up a combined 48 years of service to the residents of Taylor County. To honor that dedication and commitment to the community, the Taylor County Commission voted to name a building in his honor.
Earlier this month, during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Taylor County Commission, long-time commissioner Tony Veltri was reverenced for his service to the county and its inhabitants, as the Taylor County Courthouse Annex #2 was officially named in his honor.
During the December 15 meeting of the Taylor County Commission President Orville Wright officially pronounced that Annex #2 would forever more be known as The Tony J. Veltri Annex Building.
“Shortly after making the decision to renovate the building that would house our meeting room and offices, Rusty Efaw and I discussed the idea of naming the building in Tony’s honor. Then, when Sam [Gerkin] was elected and took office, he was on board with the idea, as well,” Wright explained. “It seemed only fitting to dedicate the building for Tony, who has served the county well. He has been a great mentor for me and really probably all that have served alongside him.”
After the decision was made, the commissioners worked toward setting a date for an official announcement of the renaming. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic plans were put on pause.
“We had planned on having a dedication ceremony a year ago, but then the weather turned bad, COVID hit and then Geri (Veltri’s wife) developed cancer,” Wright revealed. “Geri knew about us wanting to honor Tony, so the night before she passed, Sam, Patricia and I went out to the house to tell Tony while she could still be a witness to it.”
In fact, Veltri shared that his wife had been hard at work behind the scenes working to plan a celebration of her own.
“My wife got all excited about this and thought it was a great honor for me,” he disclosed. “Unbeknownst to me, she was busy planning a grand celebration and had reached out to friends near and far on my behalf. Unfortunately, this virus and the cancer changed her plans.”
During the official declaration during the meeting, Wright presented a proclamation renaming the building. In the document, the commissioners sighted Veltri’s continued service to the county and its residents.
“Anthony Joseph Veltri is a proud resident of Taylor County and has served the citizens of Taylor County, West Virginia by serving on the Taylor County Board of Education for 18 years and having been elected to the county commission five consecutive terms,” Wright read.
He explained that Veltri had fostered goodwill among residents to encourage new opportunities to citizens, a promise he had made to the voters who elected him to his position.
“Anthony Joseph Veltri has shown great vision and has embodied the highest standards of leadership, skillfully dealing with issues at hand, all while maintaining integrity, dedication, determination, respect and much patience,” expressed Wright.
With the idea accepted, the commissioners worked to secure a plaque that has been hanging in the hallway of the entrance of the building but was kept hidden from Veltri’s sight.
“I paid no mind to the piece of cardboard that was hanging on the wall, and I never messed with it thinking that there was a reason it was there,” he said. “The plaque has been hanging there since Rusty was in office.”
He joked that all this time, the honor was right under his nose and he had no clue. Veltri shared that he never expected to be revered for his service, something he shared he did for the betterment of the area.
“I wanted to get involved in the county commission because I felt like I could make a difference,” Veltri voiced. “I wanted to help the county to be more progressive, help its residents through the creation of more infrastructure and creation of jobs.”
He shared that during his nearly 30-year tenure he has seen tremendous changes for the better within the county.
Much like the building itself, Veltri has been a steadfast force, working toward progress and improvements throughout the county. And while he joked that the building would fall down after taking his name, he expressed that he was both humbled and flattered to have received such a great homage.
“In all honesty, it is a sturdy building and will probably stand for many years, maybe even forever, and now the plaque will stand with it,” Veltri expressed. “I have enjoyed my time on commission very much and look forward to my next two years. Receiving this honor was really truly special and humbling.”