The Barbour County Chamber of Commerce set a 25-year attendance record during its recent Annual Banquet Meeting at Alderson Broaddus University when it heard President Dr. E. Gordon Gee, pictured above, in a Celebration of West Virginia University. Dr. Gee’s topic was “Transforming Communities Together”. The speaker was introduced by ABU President Dr. Tim Barry.
Dr. Gee stated that, “West Virginia is like an infection – it gets in your bloodstream. Whatever school from which you graduate, West Virginias are ‘lovely’- everyone’s a Mountaineer. WVU was established in 1862 at the height of the Civil War. It still represents the essence of the American Dream. And, it is one of the 80% of educational institutions providing basic research, such as the recent work of one member of the faculty in proving Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which may be the most important discovery of the century. We have moved from a hardware to a software society,” he said, “and the public needs to focus on the essentials and not be satisfied with having the lowest college graduation rate in the country. West Virginia University is helping to create possibilities and develop healthy attitudes, considering how to make government and the economy more efficient. West Virginia is small enough to help itself to insure quality in every stage of life,” he said.
Eric Ruf of the Belington Clinic acted as the Master of Ceremonies. Pastor Downing Gregory delivered the Invocation and Rev. Bryan Headley the Benediction. 101st Airborne veteran Reg Trefethen from the Barbour County Development Authority led in the salute to the American flag.
The West Virginians from Alderson Broaddus University, directed by Lewis Hall, presented a medley of West Virginia songs, while local musician and long-time public school music teacher Rick Kennedy treated the crowd to dinner music on the piano. Ron Phillips from Builders Center reported for the Nominating Committee prior to the election of officers for 2016-2017. Members of the Future Business Leaders of America Club from Philip Barbour High School distributed door prizes. Five annual awards were presented, including two Directors Special Awards, the President’s Award, the Community Service Award, and the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award.
Contributing to the evening’s stellar event were San Santilli Photography, Country Blooms and Petal Patch Florists, Sports N Spokes, the Belington Clinic, Freedom Bank, and members of the staff of Alderson Broaddus University for decorations and the printed program. Special thanks was expressed for the unreimbursed services of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, Officers and Executive Secretary, and to Alderson Broaddus for a quarter-century of support in housing and other important assistance.