POINT PLEASANT — During Thursday’s regular Mason County Commission meeting, commissioners heard about one man’s mission to battle hunger in West Virginia.
Tom Knopp of Wayne County is a native of Mason County and a graduate of Wahama High School. Next week, Knopp is kicking off his “Walking Out Hunger” campaign where he hopes to walk through every county in West Virginia to raise awareness and money for the two food banks in the state - food banks that serve this area.
Knopp said he’ll be in Mason County on Tuesday, April 23 and will begin his walk at the Mason County Courthouse, walk south and cross the Bartow Jones Bridge in honor of his grandfather who was the captain of the Majestic Showboat, double back across the bridge, head north on W.Va. 62, cross the Bridge of Honor in Mason in honor of his friend, the late Staff Sgt. Jimmy G. Stewart, Medal of Honor winner and bridge honoree, cross back into Mason and continue on W.Va. 62 to Jackson County. Knopp said he hopes to walk 25 miles in each county.
Knopp said back in 1990 he was diagnosed with terminal Lymphoma and three months after that was placed into hospice but for some reason, he said God had other plans and now, 23 years later, he’s walking across the state of West Virginia.
“I’m leading something where the Lord has led me,” Knopp told Commissioners Miles Epling, Rick Handley and Tracy Doolittle.
Knopp also said when he was a child growing up in Mason County, he lived with his grandmother and when the family fell on hard times, a local food pantry helped them in their moment of need. Knopp is in need of law enforcement or volunteer fire department members who might ride alongside him on his walk along W.Va. 62 just for his safety and the safety of other motorists who will be traveling that route as well. Commissioners agreed to see what the county could do to help him and if any local fire departments or city police officials wish to assist along the walk, they should call Knopp at 304-730-0227. He will begin his walk at 8:30 a.m. April 23 and walk for around 7.5 hours.
Those wishing to make a donation to Knopp’s “Walking Out Hunger” can call him or the Huntington Area Food Bank at 304-523-6029 or the Mountaineer Area Food Bank at 304-364-5518. Also, go to www.walkingouthunger.org for more information.
During Thursday’s meeting, commissioners commended Knopp for his effort and all three personally donated money to purchase Knopp’s dinner while he was walking through Mason County next week.
In other business:
Approved the use of the courthouse steps, or the inside of the courthouse if it rains, for the National Day of Prayer on May 2.
Approved the employment of Ashley Sweeney in the circuit court clerk’s office and Ellen Bugg in the county clerk’s office.
Approved the Records Management Preservation Board Grant.
Approved purchase of new computer for dealing with election material in the county clerk’s office. This new computer is already in the county clerk’s budget.
Approved April as Fair Housing Month.
Approved Bob Baird as the at-large member to the development authority.
Commissioners will once again be offering a $500 scholarship to a graduating senior at each local high school. Commissioners use their own personal funds to provide this scholarship and no county funds are expended. Teachers and staff choose who receives the scholarships.
Epling commended County Clerk Diana Cromley for being chosen for the Richard Shelton Memorial Lighthouse Award by the West Virginia Association of Counties - an awards ceremony featured in the W.Va. Association of Counties publication.
Gerlach presented commissioners with a report on the transactions and income of the ATM machine which was recently placed on the second floor of the courthouse. In approximately three months, there were 294 transactions for a total of $360 with the commission receiving $90 of this which is derived from service fees paid out by non-Ohio Valley Bank customers. OVB put the machine in at the courthouse with the county paying around $40 for the phone line each month.