VIENNA -Return to the sports department after covering any event, and the first question one gets asked is, "Who won?''
The answer following Thursday night's 17th annual Steak and Burger Dinner at the Grand Pointe Conference Center was the children of Wood County as the event raised approximately $25,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg.
The stars of the show, in addition to the young children who patronize the club, were six members of the West Virginia University football team, including Parkersburg South graduate Michael Molinari, who can perform any special teams task from punting to kicking to holding.
Photo by Dave Poe
Quincy Wilson, center, introduces the six Mountaineer players that attended the 17th annual Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club Steak and Burger Dinner at the Grand Pointe Conference Center. Those making the two-hour trip from Morgantown were, from left Dreamius Smith, Kevin White, Daikiel Shorts, Hadari Christian, Malik Greaves and Parkersburg South graduate Michael Molinari.
Former West Virginia University football player Quincy Wilson, who now serves as the assistant director of football operations for the Mountaineers, takes time to have his picture taken with, from left, Hamilton Middle School students Curtis Simon, left, and Steven Simon during Thursday night’s Steak and Burger Dinner at the Grand Pointe Conference Center.
Former Parkersburg South standout Michael Molinari, a member of the Mountainer football team, autographs some WVU memorabilia for 10-year-old Blennerhassett Elementary student Olivia Deaton and 11-year-old Destiny Kittle, who attends the Jefferson Elementary Center. Molinari is expected to challenge for the starting punting and kicking jobs when spring drills open in March.
Each of the Mountaineers was assigned a table, where they would dine with local sponsors of the event.
Table sponsors included BB&T, Camden Clark Medical Center, Deitzler Foundation, DuPont, The Flanagans, G&W Industrial Sales, Bob Galland, Highmark West Virginia, Leased Housing Developers, McDonough Foundation, Parkersburg News & Sentinel, Sabic Innovative Plastics, Tri-State Roofing & Sheet Metal Co., United Bank, Inc., Wesbanco Bank, Williamstown National Bank, Wincore and Woodcraft Supply.
Receiving special recognition as "great future leaders'' were United Bank, Bernard McDonough Foundation, United Way of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Altria Foundation, Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund, Neptune Foundation and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.
Ben Shuman, the first-year executive director of The Boys & Boys Club, told those in attendance the Mary Street facility serves as home to 1,000 youths, providing them with a safe haven where they can participate in numerous activities ranging from athletics to homework.
Shuman noted that while the annual membership fee is $12 per child, it costs the club approximately $500 per each of its clients.
The club, which is entering its 49th year of operation, recently secured a grant from the Michael Phelps Foundation that will allow approximately 100 youngsters to participate in a summer and fall swimming program.
It also has secured funding for the refurbishing of the gameroom and for the installation of a rock climbing wall.
Shuman noted that in the past five years, the number of children attending the facility on a daily basis has gone up 60 percent with the average daily attendance running about 80.
In addition to the appearance of Mountaineers Kevin White, Dreamius Smith, Hodari Christian, Daikiel Shorts, Malik Greaves and Molinari - who were introduced by former Mountaineer standout Quincy Wilson, who now serves as WVU's assistant director of football operations - other highlights included a silent auction and a live auction where West Virginia University gear was one of the featured items.