WEIRTON - The members of this year's Leadership Weirton class are hoping to leave a lasting legacy of their efforts to give back to the community.
The class, which currently is taking part in the annual program presented by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, is seeking donations from area businesses and individuals with plans to help with improvements to the veterans memorial on Three Springs Drive.
Chamber President Brenda Mull explained each Leadership Weirton class, as a requirement for completing the program, must plan and perform a community service project.
"I'm really proud of this year's group," Mull said. "I think the project they've selected will mean a lot to many in our community."
Previously known as the Weirton Steel veterans memorial, the site originally was dedicated to memorializing those Weirton Steel employees who had served in the U.S. military. In recent years, the site has been taken over by the American Legion Post 10 in the hopes of paying tribute to all Weirton residents to serve in the Armed Forces.
Patty Soplinski, a member of this year's Leadership Weirton program, said the class had come up with a few options for potential service projects, but in the end felt the memorial project would mean the most.
Donations for the project are requested by April 12. Donations can be made payable to Leadership Weirton, and sent to the Weirton Chamber office at 3174 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 1, Weirton, W.Va. 26062
"We voted that we wanted to give back to the veterans and their families for all they've done for us," Soplinski said.
The class members currently are accepting donations to assist with the cost of the project, which will include the replacement of seven flags at the memorial, landscaping and the purchase of at least four benches.
The members of Leadership Weirton plan to have a rededication ceremony for the memorial on May 24, just before Memorial Day.
The timing of the project also is special, according to the Leadership Weirton participants.
"A lot of servicemen will be coming home," class member Larry DeRosa said.
Donations are asked to be received by April 12. They can be made payable to Leadership Weirton, and sent to the Weirton Chamber office at 3174 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 1, Weirton, W.Va. 26062.
Members of this year's class and their sponsors are: MaryLee Ammon, of Hancock County Savings Bank; Larry DeRosa, of West Virginia Northern Community College; DeeAnn Greene-Marszalek, of Melaleuca The Wellness Company; Marisa Marino, of Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort; MaryLou Martire-Pittman, of Weirton Wal-Mart; Karen Mason, of Hancock County Senior Services; Jennifer McHenry, of Hancock County Savings Bank; Sarah Parsons, of Hancock County Schools; Renee Salkovick, of the City of Weirton; Alecia Sirk, of Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau; Patty Soplinski, of the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce; P.J. Tokash, of Weirton Geriatric Center; and Danielle Welshans, of Fairfield Inn and Suites.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)