SUBA doles out annual awards


Citizens: Roger & Patty Johnston; Business: Strader & Associates

BUCKHANNON — The Southern Upshur Business Association honored a couple Wednesday who have given unselfishly of time, talent and money over the years to many different community, county and state organizations and efforts.

Roger and Patty Johnston were named Citizens of the Year at the annual dinner held at the Banks District Volunteer Fire Department.

SUBA member JoAnn Hawkins shared some details of why the Johnstons were nominated.

“It takes a special talent to see things that need done and then follow through to make sure they are done,” she said. “Whatever this person does, it has been done with dependability and dedication to the cause.”

Roger is a lifelong member of the BDVFD where he has fought fires, assisted at wrecks and responded to emergencies when and where he was needed.

“He has been an asset in building construction, clean-up, equipment repair, fundraising – whatever was needed,” Hawkins said. “He has always been there for the BDVFD. He never wants any recognition for what he does, but tonight, SUBA is recognizing Roger Johnston for service to his community and country.”

Roger has picked up trash along Route 20 for many years, helped those in need with home repairs or getting supplies they needed over the years. Patty takes an elderly neighbor grocery shopping and to doctor’s visits at no charge.

“She does all she does while herself battling cancer,” Hawkins said.

Patty and Roger raised two children, Kevin and Tammy. Roger worked at Corhart and the WVDOH and Patty was a kindergarten aide.

“They supported school activities and any other youth activity that came along,” she said.

After retirement, the couple became full-time volunteers and are active in their church, Kanawha Run UMC.

Patty is a library volunteer and helps with packing backpacks with extra food for students in need to take home.

They also became active in the Central Upshur Lions Club and offer their garage to make apple butter in during bad weather, the sale of which helps supports Lion’s sight activities. Patty chairs the B-UHS scholarship committee for the Lions and has helped many deserving high school students with money for college.

It was Roger’s suggestion for the Lions to clean up the Natural Bridge at Carter and he dedicated many hours to that project.

“As their son says, they see something needs done and they just do it because it is the right thing to do,” Hawkins said. “Roger and Patty Johnston are truly excellent examples of what a good citizen is.”

Strader and Associates was recognized as the 2018 Business of the Year.

SUBA member Mark Riggs said, “The business being honored tonight is well-known and respected in this county and surrounding areas, not only as a business, but also for participating in and supporting charitable organizations, schools, etc., both financially and physically through labor or simply cooking and baking delicious food as a donation.”

Wayne Strader, a certified public accountant and principal of Strader and Associates, and his wife Michelle, moved to Kanawha Head about 10 years ago to relocate Strader and Associates and also establish a farm. Wayne provides personalized accounting and tax services for individuals and businesses. Michelle operates her own Art of Eden Shop, specializing in clay creations and paintings.

“She quickly became involved with promoting the arts in Buckhannon and is well-known there for her creativity and generosity,” he said. “Wayne donates his skills to many organizations including as accountant for the Upshur County Development Authority, Banks District Civic Center and Banks District Volunteer Fire Department board.”

Wayne is treasurer of SUBA, a position he has held for several years, and Michelle is a past secretary and most recently served as president.

She continues to do the SUBA directory each year.

Skip Gjolberg, administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital, was the guest speaker for the event and shared about his push to develop a grassroots advocacy team for the hospital and about the services that St. Joseph’s Hospital provides.

Gjolberg said he encourages people to use their local hospital whenever possible because that keeps the doors open.

The alignment with WVU Medicine has allowed the hospital to expand services but Gjolberg said the hospital remains a Catholic hospital.

“Our vision is to be the best small town hospital in West Virginia and we are working hard to do that,” he said. “Rural hospitals are struggling across the United States and we are working hard to be sustainable. I call it portfolio diversification.”

ENT and audiology and rheumatology are some of the new services made possible.

The hospital is actively recruiting for an orthopedic surgeon.

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