VIENNA - A Christmas party with a purpose collected thousands of dollars in donations for local charities Thursday night.
The seven local charitable organizations were selected and given donations through the efforts of the PM Company and associates. The company chooses the groups and matches the donations dollar for dollar, writing a check at the end for the amount of money raised.
"The Spirit of Giving Night" was a concept created five years ago by the company's owner, Pat Minnite, as he and his office staff discussed ways to donate and give back to the community throughout the Christmas holiday season.
"We're just spearheading it because we have so many tenants in our business," said Karmyn Minnite Conley, who has helped conduct the program for the last five years with her father, Pat Minnite, and two siblings.
The night of giving has evolved into an event where the PM Company encourages and challenges its tenants, vendors and business associates to join in a unified effort to raise money and collect needed items to be donated to selected local charities, Conley said.
"They bring donated items whether it's dog food for the humane society, coats or towels for the family crisis center," she said of the participants.
Organizations benefiting from this year's event were FaithLink, Family Crisis Intervention Center, Old Man Rivers, the Robert E. Fouss Memorial Fund, the Humane Society of Parkersburg and The Nick Null Memorial Foundation.
A silent auction containing donated items also was held Thursday at the Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna, said Conley. Santa and Mrs. Claus were present to bring about the holiday spirit.
"We thank you all so much for making this event happen," Minnite said of those who donated. "Without (everyone) we couldn't make this happen."
The check for $24,175 was presented to the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation Executive Director Judy Sjostedt.
"We'll spend it well doing good things, Pat, that you've launched here," Sjostedt said of the donation. "We appreciated all of your support and giving to the community."
A spokesman for The Nick Null Memorial Foundation said it was an honor when the PM Company and Minnite family contacted it to be involved in the event.
"It meant the world to us for them to want us to be a part of (the event)," said Null's stepfather Alan Litman. "We're raising awareness but with the check tonight that helps us reach our goal to create a memorial in City Park."
Litman said the foundation has been concentrating on honoring Nick Null, a 1999 graduate of Parkersburg South High School, who as a Navy serviceman died on Aug. 6, 2011, in Afghanistan. He was an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician and part of a special naval warfare unit.
Null enlisted in the Navy in September 2000, served in Iraq and Afghanistan and won two Bronze Stars, with valor and exceptional heroism.