ELKINS - Mountain State Forest Festival Director General Ben Shaffer announces the appointment of the Queen's Department director, deputy director and the assistant directors for the 78th Mountain State Forest Festival.
Coordinating this year s Festival will be Queen s Department Director Debby Berdine; Deputy Director Lydia Jones; and Assistant Directors Amanda Carter, Gary Hart, Felicia Hendon, Robin Miller, Chrissy Mullenax, Jon Morgan, Rich Nida, Angie Poling, Michelle Pratt, Todd Riggleman, Bill Ross, Chad Shoemaker and Gary Wileman.
Debby Berdine will be serving her first year as Queen's Department director, having previously served on Minor Court, Queen's Reception and Princess Orientation Committees. She will be the leader in the planning, coordinating and delivering of all activities for the Royal Court of the 78th Festival.
The assistant directors for the 78th Mountain State Forest Festival include, bottom row, Felicia Hendon, Queen’s Department Director Debby Berdine, Director General Ben Shaffer, Deputy Director Lydia Jones and Angie Poling; middle row, Rich Nida, Bill Ross, Gary Wileman and Todd Riggleman; and top row, Gary Hart, Michelle Pratt, Chrissy Mullenax, Robin Miller, Amanda Carter and Chad Schoemaker. Not pictured is Jon Morgan.
Berdine is employed at the DHHR as a Health and Human Resource Specialist, Senior. She is also involved in Wildland Fire Fighting and has fought some major fires in Utah, California, Arizona, and Idaho with the U.S. Forest Service.
A member of the First United Methodist Church, Debby and her husband, Ashton, are the parents of two daughters, Addison and Eleanore. Debby served as Princess in the 1988 Forest Festival and her oldest daughter, Addie, served as flower girl in the 2013 festival.
Lydia Jones has previously served three years as the Queen's Department director, and two years as an assistant on the Queen's Department. She has worked on the princess parade drop-off and invitation committees and assisted with the Coronation music from 2005 to 2008. Her husband, Grant, has volunteered on Festival committees in the past as well.
Jones attends First United Methodist Church and is a member of their Conway Ringers Bell Choir. She is an office manager for Perfection Plus Turbo-Dry LLC and served as a princess in the 2003 Forest Festival. Her brother, Cory, was a train bearer in the 1988 Forest Festival. Jones will coordinate publicity and security, while working closely with Shaffer to assist with the nearly 100 events of the Festival.
Amanda Carter will be serving in her second year as assistant director. She and her husband, Travis, have two daughters, Cadence and Kennedy. Amanda served as crown bearer in the 1985 Forest Festival and princess in the 1997 Forest Festival while Cadence served as scepter bearer in the 2011 Forest Festival.
Carter is employed by RESA 7 and works as a transition specialist. She is a member of the Otterbein United Methodist Church. She has chaired the children's parade committee and assisted on the band field show and Queen's Ball committees. Carter will coordinate the Chicken Wing Cook-off, Children's Parade, and Downtown Stage Entertainment and events.
Gary Hart will return for his third year as an assistant director. He and his wife, Melinda, have two children, Nicklaus and Jordan. He works in lumber procurement at Colonial Millworks Ltd.
Hart serves on the Board of Directors for Elkins Little League and is a member of the Elks BPOE Lodge 1135. He has previously worked on the talent contest committee and enjoys volunteering his time to coach and officiate baseball, softball and basketball. He attends Alliance Church in Gilman. Hart will coordinate the Lumberjack Competition, Forestry and Wood Products exhibit, the Horseshoe Tournament and the Pet Show.
Felicia Hendon will serve her fourth year as an assistant director. She and her husband, Bobby, have three children, Haylee Bennett, who served as flower girl in the 2007 Forest Festival, step-daughter Lori Flynn and step-son Shannon Hendon.
Hendon is employed at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as an office assistant. She is also employed at Mary's Greenhouse part-time. She is an active member of St. Brendan's Catholic Church where she teaches catechism class, and also volunteers with Girl Scouts and Coalton Days and also supports St. Patrick's Catholic Church. She is also a supporter of Relay for Life. She was a princess in the 1982 Forest Festival and has previously assisted with the symphony, windows, princess housing, princess orientation, Distinguished Guest Dinner, Queen's Ball, Cabaret, decorations for armory, information booth and the photography contest. Hendon will be coordinating the Distinguished Guest Dinner and the Queen's Ball and the decorating for both events.
Robin Miller will be serving her second year as an assistant director. She is employed at Davis Memorial Hospital and is married to Michael. She has served on the children's parade committee and assisted the Queen's Department with the Minor Court. She is the committee chairwoman for the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs Expo and volunteered for more than 10 years with HOFNOD. Miller will be coordinating Children's Fest, Kids Day at the Festival and the Grand Feature Parade.
Jon Morgan will begin his second year as an assistant director. He is a civil engineer at the USDA, Forest Service. He and his wife, Jennifer, have one son, Grant, and one daughter, Emma. Jennifer was crown bearer in the 1987 Forest Festival and a maid of honor in the 2000 Forest Festival. Morgan is a past president of Elkins Kiwanis Club. He has worked on the lumberjack competition and band field show committees. He will be coordinating the City Park events, 10-K Race, Cross Country meets and Irish Road Bowling.
Chrissy Mullenax will serve her second year as an assistant director. She is the executive director at Colonial Place. She has one daughter, Sydney, who was a flower girl in the 2008 Forest Festival. She attends Landmark Baptist Church and has also served as a Mighty Mite basketball coach. She has experience volunteering on the band field show, opening and closing ceremonies, princess housing and princess welcoming committees. Mullenax will be coordinating The Band Field Show, Tennis Tournament, Chicken Wing Cook-off, and the Schedule of Events.
Rich Nida will serve his fourth year as an assistant director. He is employed as the service manager at Newlons International Sales. He and his wife, Marsha, are the parents of two daughters, Ashley and Megan. Megan was a flower girl in the 2001 Forest Festival and served as Maid of Honor in the 2012 Forest Festival. Nida's sister, Shawna Nida Davis, was a flower girl in the 1982 Forest Festival and his brother, Steven, was a trainbearer in the 1973 Forest Festival.
Nida and his family have served on various committees in past Festivals including the Grand Feature Parade, band field show and the children's parade. Nida will be coordinating the Grand Feature Parade, Golf Tournament, Bass Tournament and Communications.
Angie Poling will be serving her first year as an assistant director. Angie has volunteered for several years with the festival, serving on the window decorations committee for four years and also co-chairing the decorating committee for the Distinguished Guest Dinner and Queen's Ball in 2013. Angie is married to Alan Poling. They are members of St. Brendan Catholic Church. Angie is a Relay For Life team member at Citizens Bank of West Virginia, where she is also employed as a mortgage loan processor.
Angie will coordinate crafts and more, the Hospitality tents, Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Get Acquainted Party. She has several family members who have served in the Royal Court, including her sister, Kim Silvester, who was a princess in 1988.
Michelle Pratt will also serve her first year as an assistant director. Michelle is employed at Mountain Valley Bank as a loan processor. She and her husband, Seth, have three children, Curtis Conrad, Emily Conrad Timmons and husband A1C Joel Timmons, USAF, and Jaden Pratt. Daughter Emily served as a princess in 2007 and daughter Jaden served as a flower girl in 2012. They also have three host daughters, Lilly Marie Myhre Vaage of Stord, Norway, Natela Portshidze of Metz, France, and Nora Gorosabel Aranceta of Eibar, Spain. She has two grandchildren, Liam and Harlow Timmons.
Michelle and family are members of the First United Methodist Church, and Michelle also serves on the Third Ward Elementary PTO. She is also a past member and president of the GFWC Elkins Junior Women's Club. Pratt has served on the Grand Feature Parade Committees, Minor Court Committee, Coronation Reception Committee and Distinguished Guest Dinner and Queen's Ball Committees. This year, she will be coordinating the Distinguished Guest Dinner and Queen's Ball and will also coordinate Window Decorations.
Todd Riggleman will serve as an assistant director for his sixth year. He is a forestry supervisor with Mon Power, a FirstEnergy Company. He and his wife, Robin, are parents of two sons, Garrett and Kyle. His sister, Kelly Gilbert, served as a royal jester in the 1981 Forest Festival and his son, Kyle, served as train bearer in the 2009 Forest Festival.
Riggleman attends Woodford Memorial United Methodist Church. He is a past assistant Webelos leader and enjoys coaching baseball and football. He has experience working with the lumberjack competition and banners and flags committees. He will coordinate the Fireman's Parade, banners and flags, Information Booth and sanitation.
William Bill Ross will be serving his second year as an assistant director. Bill is employed with Mountaineer Gas Company. His wife, Kim, has previously served two years as a Queen's Department Assistant. They have one daughter, Tayler, who was a flower girl in 2000 and maid of honor in the 75th Festival in 2011. Bill attends the St. Patrick Catholic Church in Coalton and is a member of the Lodge #55 masons A.F.A.M. and the Lodge #66 I.O.O.F. He is also a member of the Board of Directors at Freedom Bank. He will be coordinating the Motorcycle Poker Run, Downtown Stage, Band Field Show, and Archery.
Chad Shoemaker will serve his third year as an assistant director. He and his wife, Christie, are the parents of two daughters, Sara and Sophia. Christie served as maid of honor in the 1994 Forest Festival and Sara was a flower girl in the 2011 Forest Festival.
Shoemaker is a co-owner of Elkins Physical Therapy & Sports Injury Clinic. He attends First Baptist Church, serves as a volunteer for Relay for Life and is sponsor/advisor for the Diversified Co-Op Training program at the Randolph County Technical Center. He will coordinate the Strong Man Contest, Concerts, Vendors and Sound.
Gary Wileman will return to serve a sixth year as an assistant director. Corporal Wileman is a correction officer at Huttonsville Correctional Center. He and his wife, Melissa, are the parents of three daughters, Lynnlee, Mackenzie and Madison. For the 2012 Forest Festival, Lynnlee was a princess while Mackenzie was a flower girl.
Wileman is a previous member of the Board of Directors for the Randolph County Convention and Visitors Bureau and has served as chairman of the Ramp Festival. He will be coordinating the ATV Race, Primitive Campers/Muzzleloaders, Photography Exhibit and Grounds.
The 78th Mountain State Forest Festival will be celebrated Sept. 27 to Oct. 5. More information is available at www.forestfestival.com or at 304-636-1824.