This is Home: A local resident and local foundation receive Governor’s Service Awards

WTAP News @ 6- TIH: Local resident and community foundation win governor service awards
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - On Thursday, June 16 a Parkersburg resident and a community foundation based in Parkersburg were both presented with a Governor’s Service award.

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation facilities committee received a Governor’s Service Award in the covid-19 category for their work to ensure the foundation’s headquarters could remain accessible to the community.

The Governor’s Service Award honors individuals and groups that exemplify outstanding dedication to volunteerism and community service in West Virginia.

The Executive Director of the foundation, Judy Sjostedt Ritchie and building and ground committee member, Mary Wright shared the emotions of what it was like to win such an award.

“We have volunteers active in a wide variety of different ways and this is just one project but it was such an exceptionable project that we thought it merited consideration and to receive the governor’s service award, which is the states highest award was really exciting,” Sjostedt Ritchie said.

“I was humbled and honored to be recognized and especially to win. It was not just our committee as Judy said it is for the entire foundation that we earned this award,” Wright said.

When the pandemic started, the community meeting space was not suited for virtual meetings so with the help of the foundation’s facilities committee, which includes Mary Wright, Bob Wright, Randy Dick, Joe Caltrider, and Jim Crews they were able to make the space operational and deliver $500,000 in covid-19 relief grants.

The committee helped install acoustic panels, microphones, and sewed and mounted curtains so area nonprofits and agencies could communicate virtually throughout the pandemic.

Other projects the committee were involved in were cleaning gutters and power washing sidewalks, resolving electrical issues, and shoveling walkways during snow storms before staff arrive.

Mary Wright also baked 350 thank you cookies for the foundation to deliver to the region’s law enforcement agencies.

Sjostedt Ritchie shared what inspires her to volunteer and help the community.

“When you work with all sorts of generous people from across the region everyday that itself is a constant source of inspiration. It’s been a great privilege for 23 years now to be the foundations Executive Director and to just work with a lot of good people in all of the hometowns in our region,” Sjostedt Ritchie said.

Local resident, Kiki Angelos received her award in the lifetime achievement category for the thousands of volunteer hours she has put in for the Parkersburg community.

Some of the groups that Angelos is apart of and has helped throughout her time in the Mid-Ohio Valley include: helping decorate trees at the Blennerhassett Hotel to benefit local nonprofits such as the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, she is the Vice President of the West Virginia Symphony League, she is a board member of the PHS Foundation, she volunteers as a celebrity chef to raise funds for community organizations, and she is the founder of the annual Easter day parade.

She shared the feelings of what it was like to receive such a high honor from the Governor.

“It is actually overwhelming. I wasn’t expecting anything like that because there are so many other people in our community that they volunteer. But I do appreciate it. It was a big reception at the Charleston culture center last Thursday and we went with my family and it was very rewarding all of those thousands of hours that I put in to different groups that I belong too,” Angelos said.

Angelos has been a lifelong volunteer since immigrating to the United States from Greece at the age of 17.

Since she stepped foot in America and the Mid-Ohio Valley she has felt very welcomed by the community and it has motivated her to give back.

She spoke about what volunteering has meant to her.

“Volunteerism is like rewarding to me. When I give to somebody, when I bake, and I love baking, baking and cooking is one of my specialties. And when I bake and take food to different people and they thank me. To me it is like giving me a 1,000 dollars because that is all I want. I don’t want any money. I just want our town, our community, the whole Mid-Ohio Valley to succeed and be able to volunteer,” Angelos said.

Kenneth S. Adams of Cairo, West Virginia won in the senior category. He is known as the north bend rail-trail’s super volunteer. He has volunteered on the trail for over 20 years.

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