October Declared Breast Cancer Awareness Month
At their regular Tuesday meeting, held on Sept. 29, the Wetzel County Commission signed a resolution, declaring October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month for Wetzel County. The resolution was submitted, for approval, to the commission from the Wetzel County Cancer Coalition. Marilyn Thomas, Liz Hartman, and Trina Fetty were all present on behalf of the coalition.
The commission also approved the coalition’s request to hang Breast Cancer Awareness wreaths on the courthouse’s doors.
In another matter, Jaysha Thompson requested $5,000 from the county commission to help with New Martinsville’s Salvation Army store.
Thompson said she has worked for the last 18 years with the needy in Wetzel County and has been a Wetzel County resident all her life.
Thompson said even though the number of Wetzel County residents keeps growing, the amount of funding to help the needy is declining.
“We’ve tried in the past to help with utility assistance for low-income families, and back-to-school programs for the children. Unfortunately with the amount of funding we don’t have, the Salvation Army has lost a lot of those programs. We are struggling to pay our own utilities, let alone the utilities for the residents of Wetzel County,” Thompson said.
Thompson added that the Salvation Army store runs strictly through donations. Thompson expressed concern in that the Salvation Army does not have funding in its utility account to help needy families with heating bills. Thompson noted that 21.4 percent of Wetzel County’s residents are elderly.
“That’s one of the main groups we focus on with assistance. They live on a fixed income where they are forced to choose between medication and food. Our goal is to get our funding back and so we can assist needy families. These are our working poor,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the Salvation Army store would use the $5,000 donation to make improvements on the building. “It’s in drastic need of repairs,” she said. “We would intend to make our building a little bit more appealing to the eye.”
Wetzel County Commissioner Don Mason noted that several of the county’s programs used to receive allocations from the federal government, which was divided between several organizations, including Salvation Army, Helping Hand, Catholic Charities, Open Door Ministries, and the West Virginia Department of Human Resources. Mason stated that the local Salvation Army’s previous leader did not receive necessary reports to the government; therefore, the funds which went to the county’s charities were lost.
Thompson said she would research the issue further, but assured Mason that there was a new leader ahead of the local Salvation Army. Thompson said the new leader, Ed Long, is very eager to make community relations and is trying to clean up “the mess that stuck us in a hard spot.”
Thompson said the local Salvation Army is operating without gas and has lost its food pantry as well. “I’m eager to get that back,” she said.
“To avoid a similar problem that has went on, if we would give a donation to the Salvation Army, who would have control of that money?” Commission Vice President Larry Lemon inquired.
“The Salvation Army has an office in Moundsville that is New Martinsville’s overseer,” Thompson replied, adding that requests would also go through Long.
Thompson also assured the commission that the money would be strictly for Wetzel County.
Also, Thompson requested $1,500 for Short Line’s Parent Teacher Association. Thompson said the family involvement in the PTA has drastically declined.
“It’s hard to get people involved, and because of that, we lost our youth football program,” she said.
Thompson said the PTA supplies classroom materials, sponsors field trips, and is correctly working on an outdoor classroom for science class.
“We have a lot of things we need help with. Our fourth through sixth grades need some supplies and uniforms,” she added.
“We need help to help our children,” Thompson said. “Our programs are declining with each passing year. We have parents that take their children to participate in other sports. Statistics show that West Virginia is the top four with obesity rates. We need to get parents involved to get kids out within the community, instead of sitting at home behind a video game and being idle. This is to help our children with some type of athletics that would keep them active and healthy. Right now, $1,500 would cover probably everything we need to ensure they have the supplies to be a success at what they do.”
Thompson said the state PTA is sending an area coordinator to help train Short Line’s PTA. Thompson lamented that when she asked Wetzel County’s previous superintendent for help, she was told that the board does not have involvement with the PTA.
Commission President Bob Gorby stated that the commission would take the issue under advisement.