By Jessica Farrish
Two Hinton residents have been recognized by a state organization for their dedication and service to the community.
The West Virginia Grantmaker’s Association named Mary Lou Haley the “State Volunteer of the Year” and honored David Ziegler with a lifelong service award.
Hinton was the only city in the state to produce two winners.
Although both Haley and Ziegler were recently praised by local and state officials for their service to their community, neither accepted credit for their success, according to Dr. Jerry Beasley, who presented the awards Oct. 3 in Morgantown.
“I don’t think either persons sees this as an award for themselves,” said Beasley, who also serves as executive director of the Hinton Area Foundation. “I think that’s what makes them so worthy is that they see themselves as part of a community wide effort ... as just representatives of numerous people in the county who are putting their shoulders behind an overall community involvement.”
The West Virginia Grantmaker’s Association is a statewide professional network of private, family, corporate, community and public foundations.
Beasley said Haley, a member of the Summers County Chamber of Commerce and president of Main Street Hinton, was honored as the “spark plug” behind a movement to restore a long-term care facility last year that Summers County Appalachian Regional Hospital in Hinton had been forced to close due to Medicare and Medicaid restraints in 2008.
Haley and a group of other civic-minded folks worked for five years to pass a House Bill and raise funds to renovate and reopen the long-term care wing.
Ziegler is the first recipient of the lifelong service award, which was created to recognize a West Virginian whose life has been characterized by spirit of philanthropy.
Beasley said Ziegler, a local attorney and member of Hinton Area Foundation, has served the city of Hinton for 40 years as presidents of local organizations including Summers Board of Education, Pipestem Park Foundation, Animal Control and Welfare Project and Hinton Rotary Club.
“The sweet irony in this is I nominated David Ziegler for the award, and he did not know he’d been nominated,” reported Beasley. “And he nominated Mary Lou, completely unbeknownst to me.”
When the state group announced the nominations, Beasley and both nominees were surprised to see the list, Beasley said.
Susan Landis, executive director of the Beckley Area Foundation, had urged Beasley to nominate someone for the awards, he reported. He added that the lifetime service award was created this year to honor Ziegler.