The Times West Virginian


April 30, 2014

Bill McLaughlin one-of-a-kind leader for Marion County

The Bill McLaughlin success story actually began after the Weston native had graduated with a B.S. degree in business administration from West Virginia University. McLaughlin would say that he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life.

A neighbor mentioned to him that he was taking a banking test that weekend and suggested that McLaughlin may want to take the test as well. He decided to do it, the bank liked him and the rest of the story is history.

He began his career in banking as an examiner for the FDIC, and in 1967 he became an auditor for Community Bank and Trust in Fairmont, which later became CB&T. He advanced from there to chairman, president and then CEO.

But more important than the titles he held at his bank in Fairmont was the leadership role he assumed in the community. He was a natural in this role and he would get people together at the Chamber of Commerce and various other boards, and say, “Hey, guys. Let’s get together and get this project done.” He made things happen in Marion County. Unfortunately for Fairmont, he and his wife moved from Fairmont following his retirement.

The tag “mover and shaker” is applied to many people — many who are deserving and some who are not. Bill McLaughlin, who died last week in Florida, was a mover and a shaker. He never got into battles. He simply led and did what was good for the town. He gave good advice and moved this town forward. He was one of a kind.

McLaughlin also had a lot of common sense. He wanted Marion Countians to get off their duffs, quit fussing and get Fairmont moving again. He always carried a vision for things bigger and better.  

 He took community projects seriously. He changed banking in West Virginia by creating a Bank Holding Company. He was the first president of the Progressive Bankers Association for banks wishing to work for modernizing banking laws. McLaughlin’s bank purchased other banks and bought savings and loans when they were in difficulty. McLaughlin knew how to lead and his employees knew how to follow. He had great faith in his employees.

He took on major roles in many areas. In addition to the Chamber of Commerce and the Fairmont Industrial Credit Union, he was a member of the Fairmont State Board of Advisers, the WVU Board of Regents, the Finance Committee for Ruby Memorial Hospital, and the Davis & Elkins Board of Trustees. He was honored by being named to the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame and was the 1966 Alumnus of the Year at WVU.

He worked behind the scenes on many projects. One of his bank employees, Nancy Bickerstaff, became chairman of Operation Image and he later said that this was one of the most significant projects that ever happened in Marion County. Through Bickerstaff’s leadership, this project helped clean up Marion County as it had not been cleaned up in many, many years.

 Bill McLaughlin encouraged his employees to become involved in the community and to help improve the quality of life in Marion County. It was only natural that he would expect that. Bill McLaughlin served as a major role model in that area over the many years he served as one of Marion County’s most prominent citizens.

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  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

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