Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Journey comes to an end for Leadership Ohio Valley Class of 2024

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NEW LEADERS — Members of the Leadership Ohio Valley Class of 2024 celebrated their graduation Sunday, bringing to an end their program. Graduates included, in front from left, Risha Marple, Ashley Flaherty, Lonna Flowers, Libby Reasbeck, and in back, Paul Zuros, Jason Heckathorn, Joe Quattrochi, Daniel Day, and Anthony Basil. The program is organized through the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce. — Craig Howell

WEIRTON ­– Their program year may be over, but the journey for the members of the Leadership Ohio Valley Class of 2024 is just beginning.

The nine members of the class gathered Sunday for their final activity – graduation – with a luncheon at the Rhododendron Room in Weirton.

“Congratulations! You all made it,” declared Brenda Mull, president of the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the program each year.

Leadership Ohio Valley brings together representatives of the local business community, providing opportunities to learn more about local government, healthcare, education, history and culture, and business.

At its core, it also showcases avenues for graduates to get more involved in their community through volunteerism and public service, along with a chance to network with others and form new bonds.

This year’s graduates, and their sponsors were Anthony Basil, The Frontier Group of Companies; Daniel Day, Rotary Club of Weirton; Ashley Flaherty, Youth Services System; Lonna Flowers, Hancock County Savings Bank; Jason Heckathorn, Madonna High School; Risha Marple, City of Weirton; Joe Quattrochi, Serra Village Retirement Community; Libby Reasbeck, Form Energy; and Paul Zuros, Hancock County Commission.

Through the program, the class is tasked with planning a series of monthly themed sessions, attending local civic and government meetings, volunteering with area organizations, and planning and implementing a group service project.

This year, the class organized a cleanup of Marland Heights Park, spending a portion of their day clearing leaves, landscaping, and cleaning playground equipment, along with other tasks.

Mull noted classes often tend to look at ways to put together extravagant projects, but, sometimes, the seemingly smaller efforts can have the most lasting impact.

“What you did, cleaning up Marland Heights Park, was phenomenal,” Mull said. “It needed to be done.”

Before accepting their certificates, which also allow them to receive one college credit through West Virginia Northern Community College, some members of the class expressed their appreciation to the chamber and the journey they took as part of Leadership Ohio Valley.

“This was a wonderful opportunity,” Flaherty said, noting it has provided her with a chance to connect with others and find mentors to assist with some of the programs offered by Youth Services System. “It’s been a great experience.”

Day also offered his thanks.

“This is truly a great program,” he said.

Mull encouraged the class to believe in themselves, to always find a way to move forward even in failure, and to always do their best.

“All you can do is all you can do. You can’t do anymore,” she said.

The Leadership graduates were assisted this year by the guidance of class coordinators Emily Byers, Rachel Keeney and Tony Viola, as well as session advisors Carole Scheerbaum, Stephanie O’Brien, Brandon Palmeri, Paul Cowey, Clayton Henderson and Crystal Harbert.

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