Local attorney Robert Ilderton kicked off this year's campaign by challenging Community Fund members to raise $100,000 to support various local charities such as the Red Cross, the Tug Valley Recovery Center, scouting and the Special Olympics.
Tommy Owens started the kick off dinner with the invocation. The dinner was held at the West Logan Church of God meeting hall and was well attended. Longtime LCCF Board Chair Bea Orr thanked those in attendance and recognized James and Angie Rice for sponsoring the event, which was catered by Granny Jack's Restaurant of Cow Creek.
Orr also thanked retired director Mary Etta Elliot for her many years of service to the community and the LCCF and introduced new director Teresa Maynard.
"This room is full of special people," Orr said, introducing this year's campaign chair Robert Ilderton. Orr said the Community Fund needed somebody who could "twist people’s arms" and convince people, referring to Ilderton's background as a former prosecuting attorney.
"My name is Robert McCormick Ilderton and I am a lifelong Logan County native," he said. "I was lucky enough to get a phone call from Robbie Shell who was eager for me to get involved with the Community Fund."
Ilderton explained that he was 34 years of age and that he had not been approached before to get involved with such an organization but felt eager when he learned more of what the LCCF does.
"Robbie Shell explained it to me and asked if my wife and I would do this and we jumped at the chance to get involved."
Ilderton has been a businessman for the past several months in the private law practice of Abraham & Ilderton and said he felt honored to get involved so he could give something back to Logan County.
"With hard work and dedication and all of us working together, we are going to succeed," Ilderton said, adding that this years' goal is to raise $100,000 for the Community Fund. "It is important to have a goal. Because a goal not set is a goal not met....I assure you as Chairperson I will put forth effort and I expect you to put forth effort as well."
Ilderton kicked off the campaign with a $1,500 donation from Abraham & Ilderton. The donation was the first of many throughout the evening. It was followed by a $200 donation from Odis Ratcliff; Chester Elkins presented a $200 check; the Kiwanis Club of Chapmanville presented a $400 check and Aaron and Minnie Rice presented a check for $300.
Orr said the LCCF was very happy to have Ilderton on board and was ready to work like crazy to meet the goal he had set.
Jeff Morris and Scott Jarrett of the American Red Cross spoke about flood and disaster relief efforts in the region and how the LCCF assists victims of such tragedies. Jarret said he felt confident from listening to Ilderton's speech that the Community Fund was coming back strong. He also spoke about his own background and experience in the region dealing with disasters. Of seasonal flooding, Jarrett said "it will happen again and it will happen here again." He shared anecdotes of helping survivors of the major flood that hit Mingo County this spring.
"With the help of the Logan County Community Fund, we can meet the needs and provide that help," he said, explaining that no matter how well you prepare, disasters always come. "These things happen. People you know will have fires and they will be affected by floods....God throws you those curve balls."
Jarrett said the Red Cross was grateful for the Community Fund for the work it did.
Bea Orr then introduced local Girl Scout leader Michelle Fry and members from several Girl Scout troops. Frye spoke about a recent training at camp and the girls from troops 2447 and 4472 sang two songs.
Bonnie Ellis of the Special Olympics spoke about local athletes who will be competing in Parkersburg soon and what that program is all about. She said Special Olympics provide training and competition across the state and that local competitors have been racking up on medals at them. Ellis said the local program needs certified coaches.
"You have gotten a little picture of the agencies the Community Fund supports," Orr said. "This has been a wonderful evening."