Volunteers to be recognized Friday

GRAFTON—There are a special group of people, who often work behind the scenes to make changes occur. Those unknown individuals devote their time and efforts with little or no recognition.

This Friday, April 6, during Grafton’s First Friday events, Mayor Peggy Barney will be shining the light on some of Taylor County’s hardworking VISTAs, with a proclamation reading in honor of National Service Recognition Day, which was held yesterday, Tuesday, April 3.

The day of recognition launched in 2013, as a way for more than 800 mayors to recognize the efforts of AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers within the communities that they serve.

National Service Recognition Day, formerly Mayor’s Day, has since grown into a nationwide movement of local leaders including city council members, county commissioners and state legislators acknowledging the efforts of VISTAs across the country.

It is reported that in 2017, more than 4,250 officials participated in the special day.

In 2016, West Virginia was recognized as the third highest ranking state for AmeriCorps volunteers.

This year, Mayor Barney will honor and recognize VISTAs serving Taylor County.

“I will be inviting at least three VISTAs that are in Taylor County, that I know of, and possibly more,” shared Breanna Collins, AmeriCorps VISTA. “There are possibly some VISTAs that are serving Taylor County, that we aren’t aware of because, unfortunately, the state doesn’t have an ideal system of easily finding VISTAs in our county.”

Collins is one of at least four VISTAs on a mission to build Taylor County and Grafton into a thriving community, once again. She serves on the WV Community Hub’s Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities Program.

The E-Communities program is a multi-community program aimed at bringing new businesses and economic growth to the area through entrepreneurialism.

“I have had the opportunity to visit and work in other counties, in hopes of bringing new and fresh ideas to Grafton,” Collins shared. “Grafton is my home and I am passionate about seeing it thrive in the future.”

Collins is currently serving her third consecutive term as a WV Community Hub VISTA.

“I first worked through the Turn This Town Around initiative and then as the Hub’s VISTA Leader,” she disclosed. “Not only am I working to bring entrepreneurialism to my hometown, but I am also a business owner. I am excited to bring yoga and holistic living opportunities to Grafton and Taylor County, as well as other exciting and new activities that will assist with the growth of the area as a whole.”

In addition to Collins, Tyler Gorrell will be honored for his hard work and dedication to the community.

Originally from Fairmont, Gorrell is the last of the Turn This Town Around VISTAs under the WV Community Development Hub. He currently works diligently to spearhead fundraising efforts and securing grants as the All Aboard Grafton VISTA.

“Tyler works hard to help grow Grafton, helping to move the community forward,” shared Collins. “He is a lover of music and art and has a strong belief in others and wants them to believe in themselves and recognize the changes that they are capable of effecting.”

PreserveWV AmeriCorps member Elizabeth Satterfield is a native of Taylor County. She serves the West Virginia Association of Museums, a statewide non-profit that serves to connect and support the museum community of WV.

Currently a junior history major at West Virginia University, Satterfield hopes to pursue a career in historic preservation after graduating.

“In January, Elizabeth organized a civic service project,” shared Collins. “She worked closely with the Taylor County Historical and Genealogical Society to clean up and organize their historic M&M Bank building.”

With noticeable positive changes occurring in Grafton and Taylor County each year, it is only fitting that those working behind the scenes day-to-day are called from the shadows and recognized for their efforts.

Mayor Peggy Barney will honor the area’s VISTAs at Toad Hall, beginning at 4:00 p.m., so come out and show your gratitude and support to those who strive to grow Grafton and Taylor County.