By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian
The Robert Mollohan Research Center was decorated for the winter season Friday, covered in silver, blue and white, complete with Christmas trees and an ice sculpture, all in honor of the Marion County Rescue Squad’s Holiday Celebration.
The celebration was held to honor those who serve on the Marion County Rescue Squad.
In addition to rescue squad members, several local and state politicians were in attendance, including Rep. David McKinley, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, all of whom were also speakers at the celebration.
The celebration honored five individuals for their work promoting health. Award recipients were: Sen. Joe Manchin, “EMS Advocate;” Addie Collins-Zinone, “Outstanding Citizen;” Peggy Coster, RN, BSN, “Healthcare Leadership;” Kari Woodman, “Healthcare Awareness;” and Tracey J. Corbin, “Outstanding Educator.”
Manchin was unable to attend the event, but in a video prepared for the occasion said, “My experience working in the volunteer rescue squad in Marion County many years ago has allowed me to appreciate your hard work first-hand,” Manchin said.
“I know you’re among an elite group of extraordinary individuals who provide an irreplaceable service in times of great need and despair. I thank each of you for keeping this community safe each and every day.”
Speakers also praised the first-responders for their work.
Robert E. Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp., said that, to coal miners, first-responders are “vitally important.”
“I’m glad you’re here to help support us and to help support our employees. I’ll support you,” Murray said.
McKinley emphasized how much it meant to him that people were willing to volunteer their time to help others in need.
“On behalf of Congress and all of us, I want to thank all of you. Thank you for what you do, because you’re touching lives, and that’s what it’s all about,” McKinley said.
Capito said that what sets Marion County Rescue Squad apart is the connections they make with the people in their community.
“You have the best training from the professionals here in Marion County,” Capito said, “but what you really have is a wonderful heart and a helping hand and that emotional connection that you make with the people that you help every day.”
Tennant took time to recognize the sacrifices made, not just by the responders themselves, but also by their families.
“I know, as the daughter and the wife of veterans, that it is the family that also serves as well,” Tennant said. “When you are called out on an emergency, when it might be around a basketball game or in the middle of a family dinner, or it might be in the middle of the night, and you still answer.
“We’re here this evening to recognize some very special people, but I think that everyone here deserves an award because of what you do each and every day — your dedication, your selfless service that you give.”
Email Colleen S. Good at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.