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Jackson County EMS Receives $6,000 Grant

The Dr. David Monroe Ritchie Memorial Fund of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates (PACF) recently awarded a $6,000 grant to Jackson County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to assist them in providing paramedic training. This significant grant supports six area residents in pursuing paramedic training through a new program offered by Mountwest Community and Technical College, which combines classroom work with online instruction. The program enables students to complete the course in a shorter time-frame, and at a lesser cost, than traditional paramedic training. The training expands the number of qualified and trained emergency medical services personnel serving the region. Mr. and Mrs. Ray Ritchie, parents of Dr. David M. Ritchie, presented the grant to Steve McClure, of the Jackson County EMS, at the Jackson County Commission meeting on November 9.

 Established in 2001, the Dr. David Monroe Ritchie Memorial Fund honors Dr. Ritchie’s caring presence and commitment to the care of others, particularly in the area of emergency services. In addition to this specific major grant to the Jackson County EMS, the Dr. David Monroe Ritchie Memorial Fund has historically granted support to students from Jackson or Kanawha Counties who are pursuing certification in paramedic, EMT or EMTI or nursing degrees. Since the Fund’s inception, in addition to this grant, nine scholarships have been provided to train paramedics and nursing students.

This is the largest grant that the Dr. David Monroe Ritchie Memorial Fund has made to date and reflects the importance of the Ritchie family’s commitment to honoring the legacy of Dr. David M. Ritchie in the field of emergency medicine and their concern for quality emergency medical care for their community.

Growing up in Ravenswood, West Virginia, David Monroe Ritchie served his community in many different ways. In addition to his family practice, he maintained a strong interest in emergency medicine, working in the emergency rooms in Ripley, Charleston and Parkersburg.  Dr. Ritchie graduated from Ravenswood High School and received his undergraduate and medical degree from West Virginia University. He became an Emergency Medical Technician while he was still a student at WVU, and participated in ambulance runs and assisted the squads while attending classes. David has two younger siblings, S. Douglas Ritchie of Ravenswood and Shelley Ritchie of Chicago. He was married to Dr. Caroline Williams at the time of his passing; he and Caroline have four sons.

Dr. Ritchie’s family recall his great love of his patients and note that he was sincerely interested in them as individuals. The Dr. David Monroe Ritchie Memorial Fund was created to commemorate his special interest in the field of emergency medicine and his compassionate care for others.

"I'm extremely grateful to the Ritchie family for establishing this charitable fund,” said Steve McClure.  “As a personal friend of David, I know he would be proud that other people can have a means to assist in the provision of emergency care for the citizens of Jackson County."

The Dr. David Monroe Ritchie Memorial Fund is a part of the Jackson County Funds of PACF, Inc.  Donations to support the important work of this Fund in the field of emergency medicine and nursing may be made by check in the Fund name to the PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1762 or online at www.pacfwv.com/Donate-Now.  Please call 304.428.4438 for more information.

New Charitable Fund to Benefit Auburn Community Cemetery

Auburn, once a bustling community, is a historic town which was first settled in 1834, before West Virginia seceded from Virginia during the American Civil War.  Like many other communities throughout the state, Auburn is experiencing a population decline which has affected the monetary support available to the Auburn Community Cemetery Committee.  This Cemetery is the final resting place of some of Auburn’s first settlers including the family names of Sommerville, Tharp, Hall and Watson with the earliest known grave being that of a young child, Robert Collins, who died in August, 1842.  The Auburn Community Cemetery Committee provides maintenance and upkeep of the Cemetery located within the town limits.  

Concerned and forward-thinking individuals with loved ones interred in the Cemetery recently established a permanent charitable fund, the Friends of Auburn Community Cemetery Fund, with the Ritchie County Community Foundation (RCCF), an affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF).  The Friends of Auburn Community Cemetery Fund will forever provide an annual monetary distribution to the Cemetery Committee to support the public maintenance and upkeep of the Cemetery.  Current members of the Auburn Community Cemetery Committee include Jim Lowther, Dave Crouch and Robert Lowther.

“It is not our intention for this new fund to hinder annual contributions to the Cemetery Committee,” said Bob Sommerville.  “My family and some friends started this fund to encourage others to plan for the future of our Cemetery and to provide a long-term option for other concerned citizens to include a donation to the fund through their estate plans and wills, or to use qualified retirement plans and IRA benefits to make a donation.  By doing so, they are ensuring that this Cemetery is taken care of long after we have passed.”

“The fund is permanent in nature so that the fund’s principal, which includes all donations to the fund, is never invaded,” said Julie Boyce, PACF’s Development and Communications Officer.  “This means the fund will forever invest and issue an annual distribution for the benefit of the Cemetery.  PACF’s prudent spending-policy helps to ensure that the fund continues to grow.  Annually, the Cemetery Committee spends between $3,000 and $5,000 on upkeep of the Auburn Community Cemetery.  A fund valued at $100,000 could potentially issue about $3,000 each year!  The fund is off to a great start to that goal. The early supporters have pledged to help raise at least $100,000 in the next ten years to help grow this fund.  They are already a tenth of the way to their goal with $10,000 in gifts to date.  If others in the community likewise come forward, I’m sure their goal will be met.”     

Persons who wish to make a charitable gift to the Friends of Auburn Community Cemetery Fund can mail a check (payable to the PACF with fund name on memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26101-1762 or give online by clicking here.  Other forms of donation may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438.   The “Friends of Auburn (WV) Community Cemetery” has its own Facebook page; more details may be found on it.  Annual gifts to the Auburn Community Cemetery Committee (for ongoing maintenance, rather than investment for the future) can be mailed to PO Box 92, Auburn, WV 26325.

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