Hudson given Heart of Our Community Award

VIENNA – For the past four years the YMCA of Parkersburg has given the Edwin L.D. Dils Heart of Our Community Award to a community member showing qualities of selfless leadership.

For 2014 the recipient of the award is Richard A. Hudson, who was presented with the award during a dinner at the Parkersburg Country Club Thursday.

Hudson said learning he was the recipient of the award was a special moment for him.

“I am not really a very humble person normally, but this is humbling,” he said.

Hudson said winning the award caused him to recall how Dils had asked him to become involved in working with the local YMCA.

“I was on the board with Mr. Dils for many years,” he said. “He is the one who invited me to come on the board in 1983. It is wonderful to see that the Y has so many friends and supporters.”

Hudson said he looks at the Heart of Our Community as an opportunity to get the word out about what the YMCA does for the community.

“I am honored obviously to be part of it,” he said. “I am really truly humbled by it and I hardly know what to say, to be honest.”

Hudson said he has enjoyed his time on the board of the YMCA.

“They have wonderful employees that have taken care of all the work,” he said. “We try to provide the wherewithal for them to do their jobs.”

Hudson said the Heart of Our Community is also a time to thank those in the community who have supported the YMCA and to help further its mission.

“This is to thank the people who support the Y, who do a wonderful job in not only giving their time, but their treasure and talents when needed,” he said. “This is to recognize those who have not only given to the Y but the broader community; it is very humbling to be thought of in that regard.”

Hudson, a native of Hartford, Conn., came to the area in 1977 and is a partner in the Bowles Rice Parkersburg law office and a member of the Real Estate Development Group.

Since joining the board of directors, he has held many positions with the YMCA.

Hudson served a term as chairman and has been a member of the finance committee, the facilities committee and a number of ad-hoc committees. He has served 15 years as a member of the board of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, including a term as chairman of the board and is still active with the finance committee.

Chad Smith, chief executive officer and executive director, said the YMCA award is in its fourth year.

“When Ed Dils passed away we wanted to find a way to honor him,” he said. “He was such a big supporter of the strong kids campaign that the two events just tied together.”

Smith said this year’s fundraising goal for the YMCA of Parkersburg is $150,000. To date, more than $110,000 of that amount has been raised, he said.

Dr. Orton Armstrong, chairman of the Parkersburg YMCA Board of Directors, said the $150,000 equals what the YMCA gives in scholarships and subsidizing memberships.

Armstrong said when selecting the recipient of the award the board works with the theme of recognizing someone who has been good for the community and has connection to the Y.

“With Mr. Hudson that ties in with his 30 years on the board and he was invited on to the board by Edwin Dils,” Armstrong said. “He has been a very faithful and steady servant of the board. We say he’s like E.F. Hutton, when he speaks people listen.”

Ann Bailey, the second recipient of the award in 2012 and current member of the board of directors and past president, said in addition to his 30 years of service Hudson’s qualities are in his heart.

“He has a big heart,” she said. “He’s always interested in helping other people where he can both professionally and personally. He is such a wonderful person, has so many interests and he’s very respected in the community. It’s interesting to note the award is named for the person who invited him to join the board.”

Bailey said while Hudson knew in advance about the Heart of Our Community Award, they had a surprise waiting for him.

“He’s a baseball fan and we’re giving him tickets for a New York Yankees game in August,” she said. “He won’t know until we give him the award. It’s for him and his grandson to go to a game.”