BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce recently announced the 2021 Chamber of Commerce yearly awards. The presentation of awards was performed “Publishers Clearing House-style” by members of the chamber. The yearly awards and statements released by the Chamber of Commerce are as follows:
“Our organization of the year has been improving the quality of life in the Buckhannon and Upshur County area since 2015. Comprised only of volunteers, they have dedicated countless hours to create exciting, challenging, and healthy outdoor recreation experiences for all users. Through the group’s efforts, they have built and maintained an eight-mile biking and walking trail system behind Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Additionally, they have planted native plants to foster a diverse eco-system, coordinated community events and cultivated community-wide friendships. Future plans are underway to expand, with 200+ acres available for growth. Truly a shining example of what an engaged group of volunteers can do and accomplish, this organization has and will continue to make a tremendous impact on our community and for that we are grateful,” said Chamber of Commerce in their release.
The 2021 Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce Organization of the Year award was presented to The Upshur County Trails.
“Our business of the year is celebrating its 98th year in operation and eighth year of having a brick-and-mortar presence on Main Street in Buckhannon. Since joining our community in 2014, and particularly this past year, they have left a significant footprint in our community through a spirit of progress, contributions, community service and superior financial services,” said Chamber of Commerce in their release. “After acquiring two new branches in 2021, one being Buckhannon’s Community Bank, located at the corner of Main and Locust Streets, in December, the bank moved their operations to better accommodate for future growth in Upshur County. They are currently working on plans for a major renovation of the property that will begin very soon.”
The release stated that, in very recent years, the bank has made significant investments in local schools including new gym wall mats and donated $100,000 to the Stockert Youth and Community Center for expansion of a new multi-purpose building, plus numerous other corporate donations to local nonprofits and organizations.
“Headquartered in Elkins, with six area locations, they are very much woven into the Buckhannon-Upshur business and local community and living out their mission to be a good corporate citizen,” said Chamber of Commerce in their release.
The 2021 Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award was presented to Citizens Bank of West Virginia.
“Our citizen of the year has been a part of Buckhannon his entire life and professional career, said Chamber of Commerce in their release. “In 2020, he stepped up for our community in a big way and led the Upshur County Board of Education throughout their COVID response for two years. He also led the entire county’s Covid task force for the past two years as well. In very uncertain times, he provided invaluable resources to our educators, students, and parents - all in an effort to keep our community safe,” said Chamber of Commerce in their release.
“In his personal life, he has been married to Lori for 20 years, and the light of their life together is their young daughter, Julia. He also loves to play bass and has been in local and regional bands in the past. He loves to cook and loves to master the art of grilling. He is an avid reader and will never stop learning; truly a lifelong passion for him.”
The 2021 Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award was presented to Jeff Harvey.
“Our Business Man of the Year is the third generation owner of one of Upshur County’s most important legacy businesses,” said Chamber of Commerce in their release. “Originally opening in Charleston, West Virginia, A.F. Wendling’s was established in 1913 by Albert F. Wendling, but for the past 50 years, its home has been right here in Buckhannon. In 1999, our honoree took over the business and all of its operations.”
“This ever-growing business and the loyalty felt by the family of employees is a testament to how or honoree truly appreciates the dedication of everyone in the business. He always strives to provide the best for his family, and carefully considers the well-being of every employee and their families as well. He cares about their success and their happiness, letting that care drive every decision he makes,” said Chamber of Commerce in their release.
The release stated the same level of care and concern extends deep into our community as well. The recipient donates and partners with countless local projects through our education system, Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce, youth sports and West Virginia Wesleyan College.
The release also stated, through all these changes and growth, including acquiring another company in Staunton, Virginia, the recipient remains individually focused and goes the extra mile to feed his customers and hometown success. Because of his leadership, A.F. Wendling is a thriving in family-oriented environment.
“In addition to our honoree, his wife and parents remain actively involved in the business each day. He and Charity are proud parents of four children who will become the fourth-generation owners of A.F. Wendling’s right here in Buckhannon,” said Chamber of Commerce in their release.
The 2021 Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce Business Man of the Year award was presented to Chris Wendling.
“Originally from Hampshire County, and a graduate of both Potomac State College and Marshall University, she has dedicated her life to Higher Education Administration, educating and inspiring young minds. Before moving to Buckhannon in 1987, she worked at Marshall University and then West Virginia Wesleyan College where she remains an integral part of the campus community today. Those who know her well can imagine her saying, the Buckhannon community simply ‘fit the bill’ for where she wanted to raise her children: small town charm, safe schools, and a supportive community,” said Chamber of Commerce in their release. “She treasures Buckhannon and how inclusive the community is for all residents. She currently serves as the Director (and Coach) of the Upshur County Special Olympics; is a current, and founding, member of Create Buckhannon and a facilitator on its Youth Council; a member of the Colonial Arts Center Board of Directors; Foundations for a Better School Committee; Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Board of Education’s Upshur County Arts Coalition; and most recently, the World Association of Marching Show Bands 2023 planning committee,” said Chamber of Commerce in their release. “She has served for years in the public schools in all capacities from home room mother, to Read Aloud, and being the proverbial athletic booster mom, decorating lockers, working concessions and planning banquets.”
The release stated that the recipient is the proud mother of Hannah, a teacher at Rock Cave Elementary and Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at West Virginia Wesleyan College and the late Megan Lively. It is safe to say the recipient’s contributions run deep in our community and her countless hours of work are very much appreciated.
The 2021 Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year award was presented to Alisa Lively.
From everyone here at The Record Delta, congratulations to the 2021 winners on well-deserved recognition!