FAIRMONT, W.Va. – For a few years now, the Marion Co. Family Resource Network (FRN) has been awarding people and organizations with its “Heroes Awards”.

Heroes Awards are given out based on who people vote for online. The awards this year were presented to four people during the South Fairmont rotary club weekly meeting at Say-Boy. Frank Jarman, the executive director of FRN, said that’s because one of the awards was for the Rotary Club and two others were for its members.

“For the last six years we’ve been honoring people in Marion Co. who are doing extraordinary work, and the South Fairmont Rotary Club is one of the groups that are doing amazing things here,” Jarman said. “And they were one of the recipients of the award and it turned out two of their members also were recipients, so this is very timely and convenient for us to give the award out since we couldn’t have it in person. What we usually do is have a big dinner for him, we’ll have a jazz band making a really nice event, but with COVID being what it was, we couldn’t get 200 people together. So we had — we asked the President, Rebecca Burton, if we could do it here and she said yes.”

Jarman (left) with Burton (right) holding an award

Despite the small crowd and the lack of a jazz band, Burton and the rest of the Rotary Club were beaming with excitement to receive the award.

Burton said she was and wasn’t surprised by the award because she knows all the good work her organization does in the county.

“We are just honored and thrilled to receive this award,” she said. “Our club works so hard every year with our Celebration of Lights Program and it’s really a year-round project and we’re just very honored to have received the award.”

The Celebration of Lights, Jarman said, is no small deal to county residents and those from afar who come to enjoy it. It’s an annual event where cars can drive through and see beautiful Christmas lights and spend time and create memories with their families, Jarman said. 

The idea, he added, was designed and propagated by the South Fairmount Rotary Club.

“And, they do an amazing job of doing that,” Jarman said. “And every year, that brings $50,000 – $60,000 into the United Way of Marion County’s funding, and that helps so many people across our county.”

Tygart Valley United Way CEO Brett White, a member of the South Fairmont Rotary Club, was presented with an award.

White receiving his award

He, along with Randy Farley, former county superintendent, were the two members of the Rotary Club to receive awards. Jarman spoke highly of Farley who shepherded county schools during the COVID-19 pandemic and was an educator for several decades.

Burton said the group has about 45 members and the goal is to continue growing the Rotary Club.

“Because it’s just a wonderful way to do networking and to also provide for the community,” Burton said.

There are “just so many different ways” for new and existing members to get involved, she said. Plus, the club is “looking to attract the younger generation as well to the program”.

“We meet on Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. at Say-Boy’s restaurant, and they’re welcome to give me a call,” Burton said. “Rebecca Burton 304-657-4093. And we’d be happy to set them up.”

Burton speaking during the weekly meeting

The fourth person to receive the FRN Heroes Award was Nick Fantasia.

“He is an entrepreneur,” Jarman said. “He is on the Regional Development Commission here. But, he works on everything that’s going on good for Marion Co. He’s on the Chamber of Commerce, the United Way. Anything that’s good for Marion County, he’s in it and I think that’s why he won.”