Parkersburg woman receives tourism award

Photo by Jess Mancini Front row, Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau Vice Chairman Michael Gibson, left, Bureau Chairman Blair Couch, third from left, and immediate past Chairman Alan Hardway, right, present Donna Briggs with the Oshel Craigo Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday. Back row, from left, bureau Treasurer Chad Winebrenner, Secretary Cal Malcom and President and CEO Mark Lewis.

PARKERSBURG — A Parkersburg resident has received a lifetime achievement award in promoting tourism during the West Virginia Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

It was a surprise for Donna Briggs, who wasn’t at the Oct. 30 conference and only learned of it through phone calls that she was the recipient of the Oshel Craigo Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I am overwhelmed,” Briggs said.

Briggs retired six years ago and managed the Welcome Center off I-77 in Williamstown. She has remained active in promoting the area.

She was one of six people to receive a 2017 Stars of the Industry Award. The Craigo award, named after former Sen. Oshel Craigo, is presented to an individual who has “demonstrated continued leadership for a significant period of time or substantial contributions to the growth and success of West Virginia’s tourism industry.”

The award is not given every year, said Mark Lewis, president of the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“She has proven that she is the best of the best through her dedication and leadership in the tourism industry,” Lewis said. “This award could not have been presented to a more deserving person than Donna Briggs.”

Briggs represents the bureau at local festivals, distributes state travel guides at her annual yard sale and attends tradeshows.

She was nominated by Debbie Florence, supervisor at the I-77 Welcome Center.

“From the moment I met her, her passion and enthusiasm for West Virginia and the tourism industry were apparent,” the nomination letter said. “Donna exemplifies West Virginia and is a true ambassador. Her knowledge of the state never ceases to impress me, but it is her ability to connect with people and tell a story that really makes her a gem.”