CHARLESTON — No one in Point Pleasant who knows Mario Liberatore could doubt his long-time passion for improving his community.
On Wednesday, July 30, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will honor Liberatore for his dedication to service at the annual Governor’s Service Awards banquet at the Charleston Civic Center. The banquet is held as a part of Faces of Leadership, the annual state volunteerism conference.
Presented since 1995, the Governor’s Service Awards honors individuals, families and organizations that exemplify outstanding dedication to volunteerism and community service in West Virginia. Liberatore will receive his award in the Lifetime Achievement category.
According to the organization, Volunteer West Virginia, Liberatore is someone who has worked tirelessly, mostly behind the scenes, to make Point Pleasant a better place to live and work. Giving back to his community has been an essential part of his life in Point Pleasant since he moved to the town in 1967. He believes that everyone should play an active part in their community investing their time and talents in its future.
Liberatore has donated countless hours to improving many aspects of life in Point Pleasant including education, health, business, historic preservation and arts and culture. As a founding member of the Mason County Community Foundation affiliate, he was instrumental in meeting with Mason County citizens both to discuss the possibility and launch the project. His early support and leadership helped convince others to donate to the foundation. He has encouraged many to “leave a legacy” for the future of the area ensuring the foundation remains secure.
As finance chairman of the Point Pleasant Jr./Sr. High School, Liberatore helped raise $2.7 million for the new sports complex and an additional $850,000 for increased seating in the auditorium.
In his work on the board of Pleasant Valley Hospital, he was instrumental in forging the regional partnership with Cabell Huntington Hospital and Marshall Health. With these partners, local ownership and control is maintained, but the resources of larger institutions help the hospital recruit the needed physicians to better serve the local health care needs.
“In my 35 years in healthcare, I never had a volunteer leader work any harder and be more committed than Mario,” said Larry Unroe, former interim CEO of the hospital. “His ability to have a vision and work with others to find innovative solutions has created a pathway to better healthcare for the whole area.”
Liberatore has been involved with Main Street for 25 years working on historic preservation and the development of its most visible project, Riverfront Park. He was also a key person in the establishment of the Mid-Ohio Valley Center, which serves 1,500 students from Mason County and the surrounding area.
“Mario is a visionary person,” said Judy Sjostedt, director of Our Community’s Foundation. “He sees what will help Mason County then devotes his energies towards building it. The impact of his leadership will last well past his own lifetime.”
The Governor’s Service Awards are administered by Volunteer West Virginia, the state’s Commission for National and Community Service. A volunteer review committee reads and selects the recipients on the basis of achievement, community needs, continuing involvement, innovation and impact of service.
Other recipients of the 2014 Governor’s Service Awards include, by category: Lifetime Achievement: Oreana ‘Rene’ White, Pocahontas County. Youth: Emma Brannare, Ohio County. Adult: Mitch Anthony, Ohio County, Greg Smith, Ohio County. Senior: Jean Evansmore, Fayette County; Paul Billiard, Brooke County. National Service: Tom Myslinsky, Wetzel County; Jean Srodes, Pocahontas County. Organization: Empty Bowls, Monongalia County; Friends Unlimited, Mercer County. Business: FNB Bank, Hampshire County; Bordas and Bordas Attorneys, Ohio County.
For tickets to the awards banquet, or information about the conference, contact Moya Doneghy at (304) 558-0111 or 1-800-WV-HELPS, or by email at email@example.com.