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Parkersburg AMBUCS celebrates 50 years

AMBUCS has been helping children and adults in Wood County for 50 years.

The Parkersburg chapter’s 50th anniversary will be celebrated on March 5 at 6 p.m. at Jimmie Colombo’s Italian Restaurant. The local chapter was chartered on March 13, 1970.

Bud Taylor, 90, of Parkersburg, was the local chapter’s first president. Taylor and fellow charter members Lew Pifer and Ash Broadwater remain active members in AMBUCS, or the American Business Club.

Taylor noted that AMBUCS provides ramps or the supplies to build ramps to assist people with physical disabilities.

As the group’s members have gotten older, they have been providing the supplies to allow family members of people with disabilities or church groups to build the ramps.

Besides helping others, AMBUCS also has allowed Taylor to meet new friends, he said.

The Parkersburg chapter, which has met at several locations over the years, began as an all-male organization with around 70 members, Taylor recalled. Now, many of the AMBUCS members are women.

Membership has dropped to around 20 people.

“We need new members,” Taylor said.

Anyone wanting to learn about AMBUCS is invited to attend the March 5 anniversary meeting at Colombo’s. The organization meets on the first Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. at Colombo’s.

Pifer, 78, of Vienna, said the local AMBUCS chapter used to help with Special Olympics in Wood County and still provides food for families and gifts for children at Christmas.

Pifer noted the longtime friendships he has developed through AMBUCS membership over the past 50 years.

“We have had good times,” Pifer said. Club members were doing “something all the time.”

Pifer said he is the local chapter’s first chartered member.

There was a time when the AMBUCS chapter sold food out of a trailer at the Wood County 4-H fairgrounds, Taylor and Pifer said.

Both Taylor and Pifer remember the work performed by the late Jim Andrews to help AMBUCS and the community. Andrews’ daughter Cindy Deem and grandson Josh Deem are members of AMBUCS.

AMBUCS provides scholarships for therapy school students, along with food gift certificates for three to six families and gifts for 10-12 children during Christmas, said Cindy Deem, a board member and past president.

AMBUCS’ main fundraiser is a reverse drawing-dinner on the last Saturday in June at Dils Riverfront Park in Vienna, said Addie Henderson, the organization’s treasurer.

AMBUCS provides wheelchairs, walkers, gas and food cards to help people of all ages facing short- and long-term disability, Henderson said.

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Jeff Sandy will be the local honoree at the Marshall University Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter’s dinner April 30 at Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna.

Sandy, of Vienna, is a graduate of Marshall University, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and a former Wood County sheriff.

The guest speaker will be Lee Smith, former Marshall University football player, who is a tight end with the Buffalo Bills. Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert and other university officials are scheduled to attend the dinner.

The local “Thundering Bison Chapter” is accepting applications, postmarked by Feb. 28, for $1,000 freshman scholarships to Marshall from students in Wood, Wirt, Ritchie, Doddridge, Pleasants and Tyler counties in West Virginia and Washington County, Ohio.

The scholarship application can be found at the chapter’s Facebook page “Marshall Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley.”

For tickets to the scholarship fundraiser dinner in April, contact chapter treasurer Ed Hofmann at 304-488-6367.

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The public is welcome to attend a meet-and-greet with members of the 1970 state champion Parkersburg High School boys basketball team at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the mini-gym at PHS.

About 10 members of that 25-1 team are expected to attend a reunion-celebration of the last boys basketball team at PHS to win a state championship. The team members will be honored around 8-8:15 p.m. Tuesday during halftime of the PHS vs. Morgantown basketball game at Memorial Fieldhouse.

Tuesday also is Senior Night for the current PHS boys basketball team and the last home game for the team.

Players from the 1970 state champion basketball team and their family members are invited to a reception at 6 p.m. Monday at J.P. Henry’s restaurant in Parkersburg.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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