FOLLANSBEE – As a guest speaker for the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner on November 17, Pat Ford said he feels blessed to be a friend of the city because its citizens are there not only when it is time to celebrate the achievements of their neighbors, but also to help in times of crisis.
Ford, former executive director of Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and current commercial director of the Frontier Group of Companies, said his father always told him: “God helps those who help themselves.”
He said he believed the parable of the talents of Jesus Christ supports this belief by showing that God values those who take risks with their talents when they use them to help others.
Ford referred to passages from Jeremiah and Matthew that describe the less traveled and most difficult path to good and suggested that the laureates chose to follow such a path.
The eight recognized by the chamber and their awards were: Cindy Kocher, Citizen of the Year; Monica Rotellini-Myers of Moe’s on Main, Company of the Year; Pastor Joe Cuomo and Shirley Cuomo of the Follansbee Christian Assembly, Shining Star Award; Twila Mezan of Follansbee McDonald’s, Community Service Award; Catherine Ferrari of Hancock County Savings Bank, Leadership Excellence Award; and Tom McGaughey of Hunter Heating & Cooling, Platinum Service Award.
A lifelong follansbee resident, Kocher has been active in the chamber since his arrival 10 years ago, serving on its board of directors and as secretary since 2017 and working with other chamber leaders to organize many community events and projects.
She has worked in the banking industry for over 30 years, moving from an accountant to her current role as Director of the Follansbee branch of First National Bank.
Since 2017, Rotellini-Myers owns and operates Moe’s on Main, selling a variety of crafts, food and other goods on consignment for around 60 vendors with the help of his daughter, Kyrsten.
Last year, when the pandemic spurred demand for masks, shippers Mary Ross, Erin Irwin, Teri Moran and Carol Boyce rallied to produce at least 5,711 products sold by the store.
As a member of the chamber, Rotellini-Myers organized monthly sidewalk sales aimed at attracting visitors to businesses in the city’s downtown area.
Joe Cuomo has been pastor of the Follansbee Christian Assembly since 2003, having served as assistant to the previous pastor for 18 years.
Through the United in Christ ministry, church members have supported the Adult and Teen Challenge Center, a faith-based drug and alcohol treatment program; the Follansbee Christian Center, an after-school program for children at church; and Ryan’s Prayer of Hope and Healing for Autism, and other community outreach projects.
Cuomo also offered prayers and reflections at various community events.
Her sister, Shirley, was also involved in many church activities and served as Anna’s pianist, secretary, treasurer, and ministry leader.
She has applied her experience as a former teacher to her Sunday school and after-school programs as well as other volunteer work for the Weirton Christian Center, Brooke County Reading Council and other groups.
During the pandemic, she created materials with Christian teachings for adults and children who were unable to meet at church or the after-school program.
Mezan owns and operates the Follansbee McDonald’s with the help of his daughter, Kara Morgan, and through the business, has supported many activities of local schools and other groups.
While overseeing this restaurant and three McDonald’s in the Pittsburgh area with around 150 employees, she took the time to serve in the room and at the Wellsburg Kiwanis Club.
The first female president and CEO of Hancock County Savings Bank, Ferrari worked there for 37 years, serving on its board of directors for 21 years and chairing its charitable foundation, which has awarded more than $ 225,000 to organizations non-profit.
She has also lent her time and expertise to The Salvation Army, United Way, Hancock County Sheltered Workshop, Weirton Christian Center, Healthways, CHANGE Inc., and West Virginia Northern Community College.
Originally from Follansbee, Riccadonna organizes blood drives in nine counties as a regional account manager for the American Red Cross.
She received federal and state recognition as director of the Jefferson County Victim Assistance Program and worked with law enforcement to form the county’s first domestic violence task force.
She has been a national and local leader of the Ohio Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and has served on the boards of ALIVE Shelter, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, Refuge for Women and other organizations.
McGaughey has worked in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry for over 25 years and opened Hunter Heating and Cooling, named after his daughter, in 2008.
He said he strives to treat all of his customers with respect.
As chair of the chamber education committee, retired teacher Suzanne Davidson presented grants for special projects led by teachers from two local schools.
Amy Pannett received one to purchase an aquarium and related materials for her kindergarten children at Brooke Primary North to study the differences between goldfish and guppies while caring for them.
And Melissa Zink and Holly Kisner received one to establish an outdoor classroom, including picnic tables, so Brooke Intermediate North students could learn about nature and get some fresh air. .
The dinner was Debbie Puskarich’s last as Speaker of the House, although she will continue to serve on its board.
She introduced the new leaders of the group: Eric Fithyan, president; Jeanne Wohnhas, vice-president: Jennifer McFadden, secretary; and Brandy Puskarich, who will swap the position of vice president for treasurer.