Thursday evening the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce held their annual community awards dinner, sponsored by Chesapeake Energy. A social was held at 5:30 p.m., followed up by the welcome, invocation, and dinner.
Following the dinner, which was catered by Diana's Cakes and Catering, the awards were handed out. The first award was given to the educator of the year, Debra Kocher of Valley High School. Kocher is described by her peers at Valley High School as having always "gone out of her way to help all of our students."
The second award was given to Theresa Theordoro, who was given the award for Youth Leadership. Theordoro is a senior at Magnolia High School and is a member of various organizations. One of her most noteworthy achievements is that as president of the Relay for Life Club she helped to raise $16,000 for Wetzel County Relay for Life. Noting her achievements, Theordoro thanks her mother for teaching her that it is "better to give than receive."
Professional of the Year Daniel Mason of Tri County Hearing Center, left, with emcee Eric Vincent. Not pictured is Educator of the Year Debra Kocher who was unable to attend the dinner.
Jae C Lehew, of S&S Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, received the award for Employee of the Year. She has been employed with S&S for the past 15 years and is the current general manager. She has an Associate's degree from WVNCC and is a graduate in Diamonds from Gemological Institute of America. Lehew has taken several seminars and classes in management, selling, appraising, and customer service. Lehew gave thanks to her parents and family, as well as recognized those that have been a part of her achievements, stating, "I love my parents and my family. . . I learn from everyone who's been in my life."
The Necessities Barn, represented by Betsy Westfall, received the award for Civic Organization of the year. Westfall credits God with giving her the vision to create the Necessities Barn, which is located by the First Church of God in New Martinsville, near Wal-Mart. On the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon, The Necessities Barn hands out necessary items such as toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, razors, shaving cream, dish soap, and more. This organization serves 150-200 households per month.
Daniel Mason of Tri County Hearing Center received the award for Professional of the Year. He has served the area for over 20 years and has worked for many years in cooperation with Quota Club of New Martinsville to offer free hearing screenings to several area individuals. Mason credits his father for teaching him to treat the last customer of the day just as importantly as the first customer.
Anke Hunt of La Pasta Bella and Off the Wall was recognized as being the Business Owner of the Year. While managing her various growing businesses, Hunt has also raised three children and is active in her church and was active with Young Life. She thanked her family and "divas" for their support as well as tasting countless dishes and wines.
New Martinsville Care & Rehabilitation Center were recognized as being the Business of the Year. Administrator Chanda Spragg said New Martinsville Care & Rehabilitation considers giving back and being part of the community the only effective way to operate. The business participated in several community service events, one of the most noteworthy ones being Operation Americanism-serving those who has served our country. During that event at the center, conceived and planned by a resident, Spragg said she realized what heroes her facility serves.
Forrest "Shorty" Tennant was recognized as Citizen of the Year. Describing himself as a "little piece of the pie" of the organizations he has been involved with, Tennant has been a member of the Church of Christ since around the age of nine. He has spent over 40 years working with Public Service District to bring municipal water to Reader and the surrounding area. He is one of the only two remaining charter members of the Reader Volunteer Fire Department and has served as vice president, treasurer, and the assistant fire chief for 25 years.
Educator of the Year Debra Kocher was unable to attend the dinner. She has worked at Valley High School as a teacher's aide for several years. She has always gone out of her way to help all of the students there. There were several students who would not have graduated without the guidance and help she offered.