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Payne left speechless

MSFF honors longtime volunteer at opening

September 30, 2013
By Beth Christian Broschart Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Dr. Gloria Payne was recognized for her 67 years of volunteerism during the 77th Mountain State Forest Festival's opening ceremony Saturday.

"It gives me a great amount of joy and satisfaction to bestow a special honor on a citizen who is widely known and recognized as a pillar of the community," MSFF Board of Directors President Cliff Marstiller said.

MSFF honors longtime

Article Photos

Payne

volunteer at opening

By Beth Christian Broschart

Staff Writer

Dr. Gloria Payne was recognized for her 67 years of volunteerism during the 77th Mountain State Forest Festival's opening ceremony Saturday.

"It gives me a great amount of joy and satisfaction to bestow a special honor on a citizen who is widely known and recognized as a pillar of the community," MSFF Board of Directors President Cliff Marstiller said.

"Dr. Gloria Payne is an outstanding citizen of the Mountain State and a person who has been recognized for excellence on the national and international level."

Marstiller thanked Payne for her service and presented her with a plaque.

"I have never, ever been so overwhelmed and I have never been speechless," Payne said. "I wish you could each have a moment like this. Little did I realize in 1945, when I was asked to be a page, that it would begin a journey for me with the Mountain State Forest Festival, and 68 years later I am standing before you to receive this honor.

"I had the opportunity to host dinners for governors, senators and a vice president," Payne said. "Of all the assignments over the 67 years, a luncheon in 1966 for then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey was the most challenging."

Payne said her goal for the luncheon was to transform a room in Benedum Hall on the campus of Davis & Elkins College into a beautiful garden, reflecting the wonderful mountains and greenery surrounding Elkins. Payne said she put white lattice around the room and weaved rhododendron and greenery throughout. The chore took many hours, and when the Secret Service came to approve the room for Humphrey's visit, they told Payne she would have to fireproof the rhododendron.

"I want you to know that luncheon was a challenge and a privilege. as were many on my journey," Payne said. "But can you imagine, after working so hard to decorate a lounge and make it into a beautiful garden of the forest and flowers, then being asked to fireproof the decorations? I did not know I would have to do that! The Secret Service told me I would have to fireproof the greenery, or tear it all out before the arrival of the vice president."

Payne said they gave her a formula for a fireproofing solution.

"But we did not have a Wal-Mart back then," she said. "So I called Carroll Martin at the Family Drug Store and he graciously made the concoction, which we picked up at 12:30 a.m. that night. The Secret Service men felt so sorry for us that they helped us work until the wee hours of the morning fireproofing the decorations."

Payne said she encourages people who have not volunteered with the Festival to do so.

"Get going with it," Payne said. "You are missing out if you do not. I wish I had 67 more years to dedicate to the Mountain State Forest Festival because I love it with my heart and soul."

Marstiller said Payne has served on many MSFF committees and departments over the years, and has personally contributed in other ways, as well.

"Over the years, she has bought trophies and decorated windows. She hired a limousine to transport princesses. She has served as a radio commentator for the coronation and the Grand Feature Parade," Marstiller said. "Three different of her personally owned vehicles were used over the years to transport the Queen and other dignitaries through the parade."

Payne was also given a framed photo of Humphrey from the 1966 Forest Festival.

 
 

 

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