Stephens receives Dils award

VIENNA – The man who received an award for community spirit and service honored the man who the award was named after.

Robert Stephens Jr. was awarded the 2013 Edwin L.D. Dils Heart of Our Community Award at the Parkersburg YMCA’s 2013 Heart of Our Community Award Dinner at the Parkersburg Country Club Thursday evening. Stephens is president of the Bernard McDonough Foundation and former president of Ohio Valley University.

”Tonight is about community service and anytime when community service comes to mind, there is one name that immediately comes to mind and that is Edwin Dils,” Stephens said. ”If ever there was a man who had a heart for community service, a humble spirit, an ethical lifestyle it was Eddie Dils.

”For me personally, it is humbling just to have my name associated with his name in any reference.”

The Heart of Our Community Award recipient exemplifies community service, which benefits all the people in the area. The individual who receives the award manifests, in his or her life and deeds, the selfless concern and care for the community.

Stephens also honored last year’s award winner Ann Bailey by saying the example she and Dils put forth challenges everyone to become better citizens and to give back to the community.

Ort Armstrong, chairman of the Board for the Parkersburg YMCA, said Stephens has made significant contributions to this community through his leadership.

”He is a man who exemplifies service to others; has great spirit and heart; and has served with a great love of his community,” Armstrong said. ”The YMCA annually recognizes an individual in our community who exemplifies similar qualities of Mr. Edwin L. Dils and Bob Stephens certainly has similar qualities.

”He is truly a wonderful person. I admire him, because he is genuine, compassionate and generous.”

Stephens, an avid golfer, received a special green jacket from Armstrong, on behalf of the YMCA. Armstrong joked it was probably the closest they would ever get to the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament.

Chad Smith, executive director of the Parkersburg YMCA, said he used to regularly end up at the same table as Stephens and Dils at Rotary Club.

”It was fun to sit and watch those two gentlemen interact with each other,” he said. ”There was such a strong and genuine mutual respect between the two. It was fun to watch. I am sure Ed Dils would have been really happy that Bob Stephens is receiving the award with his name on it.”

In addition to honoring Stephens, the dinner highlighted the continuing YMCA 2013 Strong Kids Campaign.

The money raised for the Strong Kids Campaign is used in programs at the YMCA, including the summer day camp, swim team, after-school programs, full-day child care or memberships for kids who cannot afford them.

These scholarships helped pay for more than 800 YMCA memberships for area children and allowed 500 kids to be enrolled in child care programs.

The scholarships are determined on an individual basis depending on the need of an individual and the programs that can best serve them, officials said.

Smith said the YMCA’s goal was to raise $116,000 for this year. Through donations and pledges it is now expecting $120,000.

”The Strong Kids Campaign is the life of the Y,” he said. ”When you give to the Y, you strengthen our community. The Y uses your gift to make a meaningful impact right in the Parkersburg area.”

Stephens talked about the importance of the YMCA to the community.

”You are going to find that the mission of the Y is very simple,” he said. ”It is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

”I am proud that we have an organization in our community like the Y that is making such a wonderful difference. We are so fortunate we have a Y in our community that brings so many benefits to our community. We value the YMCA and we recognize the tremendous impact that it has in serving the needs of our children and families.”