Approximately 120 friends, family, co-workers and well wishers gathered Nov. 11 at Froehlich's Classic Corner for a retirement celebration in honor of Sharon L. Kirtdoll.
It was a formal appreciation of her ministry achievements and service as the community developer and founder and director of Neighborhood Community Development Center, Urban Mission Ministries, from which Kirtdoll is retiring after 34 years of faithful service.
The celebration was presented by Urban Mission Ministries and the Neighborhood Community Development Center Advisory Board.
"Thanks for the Memories" was the theme of the event where the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director of Urban Mission Ministries, served as mistress of ceremonies.
The welcome was given by Patti West, warehouse secretary at the mission, with the dinner blessing given by the Rev. Alfred Hunt.
The event included comments from church and community members, among them the Rev. Gary George, superintendent, Ohio District of the United Methodist Church with its office located in Wintersville. George is now the assistant to the bishop of the East Ohio Conference.
Eugene Gillison, William Zimmerman Jr., Will Dent, Janie Wittmer and Gay Warren also offered commentary on their associations with Kirtdoll.
Resolutions came from Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci; state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville; and state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire.
Family members Gail Johnson and Angela Kirtdoll-Suggs commented as well in addition to Sandi Rue, chair of the NCDC advisory board committee.
Then Kirtdoll had an opportunity for her reflections, according to the program booklet, that notes the following NCDC history:
"In 1977, a community developer's program was established at Simpson United Methodist Church, and Sharon Kirtdoll was appointed community developer. In 1984, the Women's Center was opened to address the needs of women of all ages with the motto 'We Can't Change the World, but We Can Make a Difference.'
"In 1993, the community developer's program and Women's Center merged with Urban Mission. This merger combined two inner city ministries of the United Methodist Church. Under this realignment, all operations were moved to Urban Mission offices, and the work of the community developer's program and Women's Center was continued under the new name - Neighborhood Community Development Center. Sharon Kirtdoll, NCDC director and community developer, led the outreach ministries to the African-American community and Jefferson County's underserved population.
"In 2005, NCDC also founded the Greater Steubenville Community Development Corp., which is designed to build new houses in an effort to continue the revitalization of downtown Steubenville. The Neighborhood Community Development Center has a long history serving the Ohio Valley's African-American community. NCDC has offered a vast array of programs, including the annual coat giveaway, back to school supply giveaway, minority health month, a biennial shoe giveaway and an ongoing lupus education and support program, math excellence program and parish nurse program.