PARKERSBURG - Patricia Riffle is the ninth "Cornerstone of Our Community" named by Our Community's Foundation- Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates through PACF's 50th anniversary program sponsored by Superior Toyota. Riffle receives a Fenton vase and the honor of awarding $1,000 for charitable purposes.
According to foundation Executive Director Judy Sjostedt, a "cornerstone is that fundamental building block on which the foundation of something is built."
Riffle was chosen in the field of human services for her extensive community service through the Old Man Rivers' Mission, of which she is co-founder. She and her late husband, Bob, began their outreach in 1991. Staffed with three volunteers, they served hot meals to elderly, homebound and homeless individuals via a fully equipped kitchen build into a 1981 Grumman step-van. OMR also provided coats and blankets donated by private sources and the U.S. Army. OMR relocated to its present Pike Street location in 1997, purchasing that site three years later, allowing it to grow in many directions, according to a news release.
Patricia Riffle, the ninth Cornerstone of Our Community recipient, was awarded a Fenton vase for her work through Old Man Rivers’ Mission. (Photo provided)
According to her nominator, following her husband's death in August 2003, it was Riffle's perseverance and desire to care for those in need that kept the mission going.
"I was surprised and honored to receive this award," Riffle said. I'm really grateful for the loyal support of our community and very special volunteers. We've been able to continue our service for over 20 years because of their support!"
Though retired from OMR, Riffle always seeks new ways to volunteer. She works with young people, teaching the importance of volunteering and of sharing with others. OMR is working with students on crafting pencil bags to stock with supplies for other students in need. The mission continues to provide weekend meals on a much larger scale now, using two trucks. OMR served more than 36,000 meals in 2012, according to the news release.
The last stop of the day is the Latrobe Street Mission, where OMR delivers hot meals for the many in need who gather there. Volunteers staff a food pantry that operates three days a week at OMR's Pike Street site. In just January 2013, the pantry fed 197 families, or 674 people.
Riffle said she "sees a growing need in our community and urges everyone to share their compassion for others by volunteering in some way."
The mission continues to serve hot food and hugs along with its food and clothing pantry. Riffle's dedication to Old Rivers' Mission and to those in need in the Mid-Ohio Valley for more than 20 years has earned her recognition as the community's ninth cornerstone.