Price, Welcome Center to be honored


ELKINS — A local organization and an area resident are headed to Charleston this evening to receive accolades for their contributions to the Elkins community.

The Elkins Depot Welcome Center was named one of five organizations in the state to receive the “Organization Governor’s Service Award,” while Melodee Price, Elkins Make it Shine coordinator, was selected as one of two “Adult Governor’s Service Award” recipients.

Both will receive their awards tonight during the Governor’s Service Awards dinner, held at the Culture Center at the state capitol in Charleston.

“The most important part of this award is that it is all about our volunteers and the work they do to enhance the community and create economic growth,” Anne Beardslee, Elkins Depot Welcome Center executive director, said. “They do not just provide guests with information, they make visitors feel like a part of the community and that they are welcome here.”

“I am very grateful for all the volunteers that donate their time to welcome visitors to Elkins,” Sue Sheets, Elkins Depot Welcome Center board president, added. “If it was not for the commitment, the doors to the Elkins Depot Welcome Center would not be able to operate in such a professional manner.”

The Elkins Depot Welcome Center’s 20 volunteers welcome more than 44,000 visitors each year. Last year, welcome center volunteers dedicated more than 1,800 hours of volunteer service to the community, welcoming guests from 46 states and 33 countries.

In 2018, the Elkins Depot Welcome Center received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, for the third year in a row.

Price said she is honored to receive the award and looks forward to future projects throughout Randolph County.

“I am truly honored to be recognized with the Governors Service Award. Debby Berdine took the time to nominate me for this award because she had seen all the accomplishments that have taken place over the past two years through Elkins Make it Shine,” Price said. “Being recognized for my community service fills me with pride and motivation to keep going in the direction I had set out for, to make Elkins one of the cleanest cities in the state. However, I have expanded my goal to making Randolph County one of the cleanest counties in the great state of West Virginia.”

In 2016, Price initiated the Make It Shine Program. She began by driving around town assessing the need for clean-ups and beautification projects. Whenever she saw an area that needed cleaned up she would go out, armed with trash bags, and pick up garbage.

What began as a one-woman venture soon attracted the attention of friends and neighbors, who decided to pitch in and help with the Make It Shine Program.

Over the past year, Price has led volunteers in the program to paint community murals, organize trash pick-ups, river clean-ups and landscaping projects.

The program has also helped local businesses spruce up their storefronts, beautify city dumpsters with painted murals and more.

Presented since 1995, the Governor’s Service Awards honors individuals, families and organizations that exemplify outstanding dedication to volunteerism and community service in West Virginia.

The Governor’s Service Awards are administered by Volunteer West Virginia, the state’s Commission for National and Community Service.

A volunteer review committee reads and selects the recipients based on achievement, community needs, continuing involvement, innovation and impact of service.

The recipients of the 2018 Governor’s Service Awards include, by category:

• Youth: Kiara Stevens, Wellsburg.

• Adult: Price; and Kandi Habeb, Parkersburg.

• Senior: Jo Ann Harman, Lahmansville; and Kenneth Springer, Hillsboro.

• Family: The Ash Family, Clarksburg.

• Lifetime Achievement: Paula Osborne, Berkeley Springs.

• Organization: Elkins Depot Welcome Center; Tri-State Literacy Council, Huntington; Faith In Action of the Greater Kanawha Valley, Charleston; and Rotary Clubs of Martinsburg and Shepherdstown.