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State Names Bridge For Bell, Pine Grove Supporter

By Staff | May 26, 2010

Pine Grove resident Freda Bell, center in the plaid shirt, gathers with her family on the newly designated Freda Bell Bridge on Main Street in Pine Grove. Bell has been a longtime supporter of her community, county, and political party. She has served on numerous board and committees.

Pine Grove resident Freda Bell was honored Saturday with the official dedication of the new Main Street Bridge as the Freda Bell Bridge.

Family, friends, neighbors, and dignitaries gathered on the span and then inside nearby Barbara’s Corner Cafe for the festivities. The cafe was a fitting location as it was the longtime home to Bell’s Grocery which was opened by Bell and her husband, Angell, in 1948.

Freda is a 1936 graduate of Pine Grove High School. But she and her husband moved to Cleveland, Ohio, to work in a munitions plant during World War II, only to return to their hometown and open the market.

They had two children, Jane Bell Beckett and John Bell. They are both West Virginia University graduates.

Freda has been very active in her community. She has served on the PTA, band patrons, as a 4-H leader, FFA sponsor, Wetzel County Democratic Committee, and American Legion Auxiliary. She has also been on the Pine Grove Town Council, Wetzel County Hospital Board, E-911 Board, and Wetzel County Planning Commission, to name a few.

Del. Dave Pethtel read the concurrent resolution that passed the state House of Delegates and Senate, making the new bridge name official.

“I’m really thankful for that (it’s passage),” said Pethtel, who noted he has seen years when no bridge designations made it through the governing bodies.

While it took the state approval, the delegate said the Pine Grove Town Council and Wetzel County Commission were in favor of the name. Members of both governing bodies were in attendance, as was Sen. Larry Edgell. Sen. Jeff Kessler was unable to attend as his daughter was in the state track meet that day. He sent his regrets by way of Pethtel and Edgell.

At the end of the ceremony an attendee declared, “There hasn’t been a better community person in Pine Grove than Freda Bell,” which was met with applause. A neighbor added that Freda always makes people smile and laugh.

“I am in shock,” replied Freda to the attention. “I don’t believe all this stuff they’ve been saying about me. I feel very honored.”