By LANESSA MURPHY-SPAGNUOLO
News & Journal Staff Writer
The Clarksburg League for Service honored Harrison County’s female first responders in a special ceremony at the Meadowbrook Mall Center Court on Saturday, October 29. Those honored were named ‘The Women of Enduring Spirit.’ According to the League, more than 30 women serve Harrison County as firefighters, police officers, and EMTs and organizers felt their hard work and dedication should not go unnoticed.
Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Rachel Romano was the keynote speaker for the ceremony and shared a few thoughts on the brave women who help keep Harrison County safe.
“Their job is not an easy job; it’s not a glamorous job. Quite honestly, it’s a dangerous job for many of these women. These are the ladies who come into your home when there is a fire. These are the ladies who tackle burglars or come when someone has fallen ill. It’s a well-respected and needed job and this is a very well-deserving group of women.”
Though some could not attend the event, they were recognized nonetheless. Each woman was awarded a plaque for their service. The plaques were provided by the Clarksburg League for Service and WesBanco.
Clara Fuscaldo, President of the Clarksburg League for Service commented, “With the bad publicity that first responders have experienced and still are experiencing, this is a welcomed change. This is a great opportunity for us to show them our gratitude, love, and support. Thanks to these women who do so much for our community. You do make a difference.”
The Women of Enduring Spirit have been celebrated since 2004 to honor a woman or a group of women who have served the community. The women who are honored are Harrison County residents and serve as excellent role models, leaders, and volunteers.
Jennifer Gray, the League’s Civic and Program Chairperson, came up with the idea to honor local women who are first responders. Gray and her committee organized this year’s event.
In fact, this is one of the many programs the Clarksburg League for Service has developed over its 82-year run.
“Our main focus is to help the underprivileged,” remarked Fuscaldo. “We do this through projects such as Amy’s Attic, where clients can come and shop for baby clothes, baby items, and household and cleaning supplies. Also, we supply backpacks and winter coats to our schools. These are just a few projects we take on. We want to foster interest in the educational, cultural, and civic activities of the community. This is one of such activities – our Women of Enduring Spirit.”
For many of these women, their service is their career, while others serve along with other occupations. And for some, they have served alongside their husbands, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and even sons and daughters keeping the folks in the area safe – it’s a family tradition you might say.
“I’d like to give a heart-felt ‘thank you’ to all of you. What you do is incredibly important,” concluded Romano. “Whether you are an EMT, police officer, or firefighter, you all put your lives on the line. You go out there and make Harrison County a better place.”
Those honored at Saturday’s event were, Bridgeport Police Department – Jamie Hamrick and Rebecca Schuessler; Anmoore Fire Department – Shawna Hardman, Assistant Chief, Stacey Wilmoth, Tiffany Johnson, Samantha Reed, Aimee Neely, Meredith McClain, and Terry Sue Allen, West Virginia’s first female fire chief; Spelter Fire Department – Lori Dunn, Tammy Cotrill, Courtney Kearns, Belinda Demastus, and Justine Demastus; Johnstown Fire Department – Debra Gray; Clarksburg Fire Department – Captain Cindy Murphy; Harrison County EMS – Kim Blake, Emily Bomer, Tara Cutright, Brittany Gibson, Monica Haymond, Sara Rogers, Lindsay Schrader, Kathy Stalnaker, Cindy Wright, Jessica Smith, Elizabeth Skinner, Courtney Silzestri, Hope Wilson, and Rebecca Echard; Clarksburg Police Department – Tasha Cox and Laura McGlone; and Nutter Fort Fire Department – Natalie Haddix, Heather Richards, and Kristi McElwin.