Wishmaker Award

The Northern West Virginia Make-A-Wish Foundation honored the Marion County Commission Wednesday with the “Wishmaker Award.” Standing, left to right, are Vanessa Strickland, regional coordinator for the organization; commissioner Rick Garcia; Jackie Auten, regional manager for the organization; and commissioner Ernie VanGilder.

FAIRMONT — The Northern West Virginia Make-A-Wish Foundation honored the Marion County Commission Wednesday for making a child’s wish come true.

During the commission’s meeting, Jackie Auten, regional manager for the organization, and Vanessa Strickland, regional coordinator, presented the commissioners with the “Wishmaker Award.” According to Auten, the commissioners contributed $4,400 this year to grant the wish of Zavier, a 6-year-old from Marion County, to go to Orlando, Fla. theme parks. She said the child has muscular dystrophy, a critical illness that affects his daily life.

She said the child’s favorite part of the trip was meeting the characters Mike and Sulley from “Monsters Inc.”

“We can’t thank you enough,” she said. Auten said the child and his family were able to forget everything he goes through for a whole week.

Auten said they were able to stay in their own villa and the only stress they had to worry about was what ice cream flavor to get.

“So, thank you so much for all of your help,” she said.

She hoped that the commission could grant another wish next year and said there are seven Marion County area children whose wishes are pending due to the availability of funds.

“Last year, we granted 67 wishes in all of our entire Northern West Virginia territory,” she said.

She added that 20 of those came from this area.

“So, we can’t thank you enough from the bottom of our hearts,” she said.

“Thank you very much, we appreciate that,” said commissioner Ernie VanGilder. “It is a wonderful organization that you have,” he said.

He encouraged everyone to make a donation to Make-A-Wish.

Auten said the commission also donated $1,000 in 2018 for the organization’s annual “Walk for Wishes” fundraiser in Morgantown.

According to Auten, about 300 take part each year, with about a quarter coming from Marion County and the surrounding area.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., the Make-A-Wish Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that fulfills lifelong wishes for children between the age of two-and-a-half and 18 who are living with a critical illness.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

Recommended for you