FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — Marcella Yaremchuk has been a Fairmont resident all her life, graduating from East Fairmont High School many years ago. While in school, she participated in a club that became the basis of her life.
“Way back when I was in high school, I was invited to join a group called Scioto Club,” Yaremchuk said. “We performed a lot of service activities in Fairmont. Like, we cleaned up the highway. There’s a lot of things that need to be done, and the old saying is ‘if it is to be, it’s up to me’. Well, I took it to heart.”
Yaremchuk has been a part of so many organizations, including Fairmont Rotary, The Women’s Club, Lady Elks, the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority and many others.
Her newest organization? Blessings from the Basement.
“I would give these items to people. Deliver them, or they would come and pick them up and meet them on the porch of the clubhouse, and they’d so ‘oh, what a blessing, what a blessing’,” Yaremchuk said. “They’re just things we’ve stored in the basement. Then we came up with the name. I came up with the name. ‘Blessings from the Basement’.”
The organization will give out anything from bedding to toiletries and anything in between. Last year, the organization helped 401 people, made up of 197 households and 17 veterans.
“Think of 52 weeks in a year, helping 197 households. That equates to about four a week of people who are in need of household items that are just given freely,” Yaremchuk said. “The only thing that I ever say to anybody is ‘when you get on your feet, just pass it on to somebody else.'”
Beyond helping the folks who are here and need it, she also helps the people who can no longer help themselves.
“We were able to associate Maple Grove Cemetery with Wreaths Across America because we are the first and only cemetery in Marion County, and we were able to put a wreath honoring veterans on every veteran’s grave in Maple Grove Cemetery,” she said.
Yaremchuk realized this cemetery in Fairmont was mostly forgotten about and has been raising money to clean it up, add signage and get the cemetery back in shape.
“We are planning to be able to have a map made so that people can know if their loved one is buried in section D, section H, section E, they can go directly to that section,” Yaremchuk said.
Beyond her volunteerism, this retired FBI employee values one thing above almost all: her family.
“I’m proud of my family, and I’m really proud that they still want me around,” she said.
What is her advice to women out there?
“Do something for somebody every day. If it’s just a smile or speaking to someone in the grocery store.”