WEIRTON - Becoming a leader of the community often means giving up your own time to help others.
That is what members of this year's Leadership Weirton program did Friday as they spent their afternoon helping to clean up portions of Starvaggi Memorial Park.
As part of Leadership Weirton, a program offered each year by the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, a class must plan and perform a community service project.
Charles Nucci, of Hancock County Sheltered Workshop, left, and Logan Field, of Dynamic Development, work to bag some of the leaves at Starvaggi Park on Friday. Members of this year's Leadership Weirton class worked in the park as part of their community service project, which is required for the program. -- Craig Howell
Angela Shughart, of Weirton Medical Center, in back, and Melissa Kell, of Hancock County Savings Bank, help to rake leaves out of a shelter at Starvaggi Park on Friday. The work was part of the current Leadership Weirton class' community service project. -- Craig Howell
"Our goal is to help the park with their preparations before Memorial Day," Chris McBee, who is sponsored in the program by the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights, explained.
Part of the afternoon was spent raking and bagging piles of leaves which had settled in one of the park's shelters overlooking the pool.
"It's going to be nice," Melissa Kell, of Hancock County Savings Bank, said.
MaryLou Pietranton, of Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort, explained donations were used to purchase three benches, built by clients of the Jefferson County Workshop, which will be used by the pool.
Additional donations included four planters and flowers from Lowes in Steubenville, and soil and other materials from the Weirton Wal-Mart.
"We're going to be able to beautify the pool area," said Sandra Parkins, who is sponsored by the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
McBee explained any remaining money from the project will be donated to the Starvaggi Memorial Park Foundation to assist in its work with the park. He said it was important for the class to find a project the entire community can enjoy.
Participants in Leadership Weirton are sponsored by their employer or a civic group to which they belong. In addition to a group service project, members must complete at least six hours of individual volunteer work, attend two government or civic meetings, and plan and attend sessions focused on the area's government, education, history, business and health industry.
Those who successfully complete the program will be recognized with a graduation dinner in June.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)