News & Event
The Doug McLain Memorial Scholarship Fund was recently created at the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) to forever honor the late Douglas E. McLain. McLain was a well-loved Parkersburg native, devout Christian, Air Force veteran, and retired police officer. Above all, he was a dedicated husband, father, and Papaw. McLain unexpectedly passed away on June 24, 2017. Hundreds of friends, family members, and local citizens attended his memorial service to say goodbye to a dedicated local citizen and hardworking public servant.
“Doug McLain was well known as a true servant leader and a man of high integrity,” said the PACF’s Executive Director, Judy Sjostedt. “He lived his life as an example for others. Doug's contributions to public safety and the shaping of young lives through his work as the first Prevention Resource Officer in Wood County, assigned to Parkersburg High School, will be forever remembered with gratitude through this new scholarship. We encourage gifts to help build this memorial for Doug.”
McLain retired after forty-one years of honorable service from the Parkersburg Police Department in 2016. For four decades, while serving on the police force, he was also an EMT for the St. Joseph Ambulance Service. The new scholarship fund, established by McLain’s family and friends, is designed to continue his caring legacy and honor his dedicated service to the Parkersburg region.
The Doug McLain Memorial Scholarship Fund will award annually one scholarship to a graduating senior from either Parkersburg Catholic High School, Parkersburg High School, or Parkersburg South High School who plans to pursue a public service field of study. The fund will make its first scholarship award in spring 2018.
Persons who wish to help honor Doug McLain are encouraged to make a charitable gift to the Doug McLain Memorial Scholarship Fund by mailing a check (payable to “PACF” with the fund name on the memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26101-1762, or by donating online here. Other forms of donations may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438.
Dennis O’Callaghan of Lowell, Ohio passed away August 2016 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of immigrant parents, O’Callaghan had a very high regard for hard work and entrepreneurial efforts. He was the progenitor of several business endeavors during his lifetime, beginning in his teens. In 1991, he started Gaskets, Packings and Seals in Parkersburg with his business partner, Tom Houck, serving the needs of local chemical and power plants. The business started as a very small company with only a few employees, but by the time of his death, Gaskets, Packings and Seals was a thriving enterprise with more than a dozen employees. O’Callaghan believed in rewarding hard work and was dedicated to his team of employees.
“Dennis was also a wonderful husband, father, son, and brother,” said his wife, Tammy O’Callaghan “He had tough standards for those who worked for him and for those who lived with him, but his great love and loyalty to both made everyone want to live up to his high standards.”
To forever honor O’Callaghan’s entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic, his family established the Dennis M. O’Callaghan Memorial Scholarship with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). This fund is designed to forever provide scholarship support to graduating senior students residing in Washington County, Ohio or Wood County, West Virginia. Recipients of this scholarship shall be selected on the basis of character, academic performance, work ethic, and community involvement. Preference shall be given to a qualified homeschool student. If there is not a qualified homeschool student, then a graduating high school senior with a grade point average between 3.0-3.5 on a 4.0 scale shall be considered.
The Dennis M. O’Callaghan Memorial Scholarship will help support the region’s youth forever and continue to honor an influential local entrepreneur. Persons who wish to help honor Dennis O’Callaghan are encouraged to make a charitable gift to the Dennis M. O’Callaghan Memorial Scholarship by mailing a check (payable to the PACF with fund name on memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26101-1762, or donate online here. Other forms of donations may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438.
Born in 1886 in Doddridge County, Walter Blaine Swentzel was a teacher by profession, and after a long career in the classroom, retired as the last Doddridge County, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools to be elected by the voters of the county. Mr. Swentzel passed away in 1968 at the age of 81.
In 1983, two of Walter B. Swentzel’s children, June Swentzel Stout and Kipling Clark Swentzel, met with representatives of two banks, Cornerstone Bank (formerly First National Bank of West Union) and West Union Bank, and the administration of the Doddridge County High School with the goal of honoring their father’s memory by creating a scholarship in his name to support students excelling academically who wished to pursue post-secondary education. Their initial contributions to establish the scholarship were met with community support and the first Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship award was made in 1984.
A nonprofit organization, the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship, Inc. was formed by and led by a group of local citizens. Between 1984 and 2018, the Swentzel Scholarship produced nearly $190,000 in awards. To ensure the perpetual existence of the scholarship and to provide support for its selection process, the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship, Inc.’s Board of Directors recently partnered with the Doddridge County Community Foundation (DCCF), a regional affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF).
“The Foundation has more than fifty-five years of history and a long-standing positive reputation of professionally managing charitable funds, including scholarships,” said Josh Weekley, Treasurer of Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship, Inc. “They already manage many scholarships for our local students -- including the Janice Michels Scholarship and the Cathy McClain Nursing Scholarship -- and they have the administrative and investment resources to ensure that the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship will continue to provide meaningful, renewable scholarships for students graduating from Doddridge County High School forever.”
The Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship, now administered by the Doddridge County Community Foundation (DCCF), is currently open to applications. Graduating seniors from Doddridge County High School are encouraged to visit the Foundation’s website, www.pacfwv.com/scholarships, and complete the Consolidated Scholarship Application to apply to this fund and more than 160 other scholarship funds administered by the Foundation. The application deadline is March 1, 2019. An additional benefit of completing the Foundation’s Consolidated Scholarship Application is that students need only complete one form to be eligible for many different awards within the Foundation.
“We are very honored to manage this significant scholarship fund that has already made a meaningful impact for 167 Doddridge County High School students. We greatly appreciate the trust that the Swentzel Scholarship Board has shown in DCCF with its partnership,” said Julie Posey, DCCF’s Development and Communications Officer. “We look forward to continuing to engage with local citizens to annually award this scholarship and to share and highlight Mr. Swentzel’s legacy of commitment to education.”
Individuals who wish to make a tax-deductible donation to the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship may send a check (made payable to “PACF” with the fund name in the memo line) to: PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102. To learn more about the Walter B. Swentzel Scholarship or to make an online donation, please visit www.pacfwv.com/Swentzel.
Picture Caption: Walter Swentzel and his wife, Lovie, during their 50th wedding anniversary in 1959.
George Penn was affectionately known throughout the community for his volunteering and commitment for many local organizations. Born in Alexandria, VA, George moved to the Parkersburg area in 1992 where he worked for UPS and Dover Products. A devout Christian, Penn was a United States Marine, a disabled Army veteran, and a member of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Menelik Lodge #74 Free and Accepted Masons. In 2010, George Penn and his wife, Josepha “Chris” Penn, opened the doors to Voices of the Streets – Essentially Yours.
“Essentially Yours was created to fulfill a basic human need that George and I identified in our community,” said Mrs. Chris Penn. “The need to provide the essential home good items required to improve the quality of life for referred families and individuals transitioning from homelessness into a dwelling. Currently, the referring organizations that provide housing and furniture vouchers to homeless individuals do not provide the basic living essentials necessary for establishing a ‘home’.”
After George Penn died on March 1, 2017, an anonymous donor established the Voices of the Streets Endowment Fund in his memory. This permanent support fund becomes one of more than 350 component funds of Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) and will forever provide monetary support to allow Voices of the Streets – Essentially Yours to continue to serve its mission.
“Through Essentially Yours, we raise our clients’ self-esteem and their desire to do better for themselves,” said Penn. “We are so thankful for this anonymous donor who thinks so highly of what we are doing that he or she has established a permanent source of funding for our cause. We are extremely dependent on charitable donations to continue to provide this important service for our community.”
Persons who wish to honor George Penn and to support the long-term efforts of Voices of the Streets – Essentially Yours are encouraged to make a donation to the Voices of the Streets Endowment Fund online or to mail a gift by check to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1762 (made payable to PACF, memo Essentially Yours).
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.
The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates (PACF) is excited to launch its 2016 Scholarship Application! The Foundation administers more than 175 scholarship funds for the benefit of students in its 11-county service area (Calhoun, Gilmer, Doddridge, Roane, Wirt, Wood, Ritchie, Jackson, Mason, and Pleasants Counties in West Virginia and Washington County, Ohio).
Through the Foundation’s online scholarship application, students are given the opportunity to apply for multiple scholarships through one easy application. To apply, students must visit www.pacfwv.com/scholarships to review the full list of available scholarships and their eligibility criteria. Students must then proceed to the online application form available at www.pacfwv.com/applications-forms. This application must be completed and submitted online by midnight on March 3, 2016.
During the PACF’s 2015 scholarship application process, the Foundation awarded 308 scholarships totaling over $320,000 to our region’s students. These awards were made possible by many generous donors who established scholarship funds with the Foundation to help our local students fulfill their educational goals. Each year, more than 215 community volunteers residing throughout the PACF’s service area assist the Foundation in reviewing the submitted scholarship applications.
“With hundreds of applications, we are very grateful for the volunteer support that we receive each scholarship season,” said PACF’s Regional Scholarship Coordinator, Rachel Brezler. “It is awe-inspiring to work with donors who are passionate about our region's next generation and helping them achieve their post-secondary education goals.”
To learn more about the 2016 scholarship application process, please contact the Foundation office by calling 304.428.4438 or by emailing email@example.com.
The family and friends of longtime educator Edna Robinson have established a charitable fund honoring her dedication to furthering early childhood education in Calhoun County.
Growing up on a farm on Pleasant Hill, Mrs. Robinson and her eight siblings learned the value of education from their parents, Ollie and Elias Yoak. Edna Robinson graduated from Glenville State College in 1955, but even before graduation, she had begun assisting her father in his duties as School Master at several one and two-room schoolhouses around the county.
“I remember having to catch the outbound school bus from Grantsville and ride it to the end of White Pine, and then hike over the mountain to substitute teach for Dad at the Oak Hill School,” Robinson said. “Dad was pretty ill at the time and they didn’t want to make all the kids sick. It was quite a hike but I made it in time.”
While at Glenville State College, she taught at both Sand Fork and Glenville schools and upon graduation, she continued her passion for teaching at Cabot Station’s two-room schoolhouse. After successful tenures teaching in North Carolina and Massachusetts, Mrs. Robinson returned to Calhoun County, helping to nurture young minds while teaching at Minnora and finally Pleasant Hill Elementary. During her tenure at Pleasant Hill Elementary, Robinson touched the lives of hundreds of Calhoun County students (now residents) and was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2004. In 2005, Robinson retired from Pleasant Hill Elementary.
"I tried my best to not only teach the curriculum," Robinson said, "but also to help the children develop the qualities necessary for them to become responsible citizens."
Mrs. Robinson's dedication to educating the youth in Calhoun County will continue forever thanks to the Edna Yoak Robinson Fund for Education established by her children with the Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation, a regional affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). The Fund was created to support early childhood education and youth education programs in Calhoun County, WV, with preference for support to requests and needs from Pleasant Hill Elementary School and surrounding community.
“I have the utmost respect for Mrs. Robinson and what she has accomplished,” said Ron Blankenship, former Gilmer and Calhoun School Superintendent. “She was an outstanding educator and a real task master. She has had a significant impact on the lives of many in our community, and through this fund, will continue to do so.”
Persons who wish to honor Mrs. Robinson can make a charitable gift to the Edna Yoak Robinson Fund for Education by mailing a check (payable to the PACF with fund name on memo line) to PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1762 or by donating online here. Other forms of donation may be made by calling the Foundation’s office at 304.428.4438.
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