Walker Employee Turned Easter Bunny
April 17, 2013
Some psychologists define fun as one of the six human needs; especially in children.
Ramona Fletcher, of Belle, noticed some children were going without. Fletcher is Walker Machinery Company’s Accounting Clerk. Fletcher noticed the children at Sharon Dawes Elementary, in Miami, W.Va. did not have an Easter egg hunt. And they lived too far away from Charleston to participate in some of the Easter festivities there. Through permission from the school’s principal, Fletcher was given access to the school cafeteria and grounds to have an Easter egg hunt at the school.
In 2012, Sharon Dawes’ first Easter egg hunt took place the weekend before Easter, for children ages 2-11. After deciding the date, Fletcher printed up a newsletter announcing the event. The principal handed those out to the teachers at school to distribute to the students. Fletcher feared some of the announcements would not make it home, so she spent a weekend hanging them up at nearby post offices.
Her next goal was supplying the eggs and prizes. Last year, she received some help from local churches that donated about five dozen eggs and some candy. Fletcher donated the rest which total came to the whopping tune of 1,400 eggs. After about 20 hours, each egg was stuffed with a combination of candy, tattoos and bracelets. The eggs were hidden by Fletcher and her children. After they were hidden, it started raining.
“We wondered if we would have enough kids to find the eggs,” Fletcher said.
“They started coming and we had 125 children. They had a blast”
When the children arrived, they were split into age groups.
“We just said, ‘GO’ and all the kids just started running,” Fletcher said.
A prize was given to the finder of the “Lucky Egg” and to the finder of the most eggs.
“When you see their little faces it just breaks your heart - it is just unreal,” Fletcher said. “It’s worth all the hard work.”
This year, Fletcher needed to round up more eggs. She stuffed 2,400 that were hidden by Fletcher, her family and Walker’s Parts Claim Specialist Jennifer Shanklin and her daughter Jordan. In addition, she picked up 30 smaller prizes, including: match box cars, stuffed bunnies, jump rope, paddles with balls and packages full of coloring books, crayons and game cards. She also had 10 Easter baskets donated by herself, her children and Shanklin.
Lunch was also provided this year. Fletcher grilled 200 hot dogs that were served with chips and a drink, to the children in the school cafeteria. The second hunt drew 175 children to the event that took place a couple of weeks before Easter.
Fletcher is already working on next year. She scours the after Easter sales and recycles as many eggs as possible. She has already purchased 35 baskets to give away. If she gets donations, she can purchase even more prizes. She is confident the number of children attending the event will grow.
“The school has 265 students,” Fletcher said.” We would like to get all of them and more within the Cabin Creek community. “
Charleston women bring India's Bollywood glamour home
Feb. 3, 2013
By Elizabeth Gaucher, for the Charleston Gazette
"Bollywood Night" performers on stage in 2012 at Beni Kedem Temple. Photo courtesy of Nilima Bhirud.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Six professional Charleston women are the force behind transforming the capital city on March 16 with the glamour and fun of Bollywood.
The third annual "Bollywood Night" is named for the hugely successful Hindi-language film industry synonymous with the beautiful people, glamour, food, fashion, music and dance of India.
Event Chairwoman Nilima Bhirud is effusive when she speaks about Charleston and her desire to support local charities with proceeds from the event. "Our families have prospered in Charleston," she says, "and we want to give something back."
Dr. Bhirud is an internist with Charleston Area Medical Center. Her organizing committee includes Madhu Chaturvedi, Jyoti Desai, Meenu Patel, Shoba Sampath and Varsha Vaghela. The women represent the medical, education, computer engineering, microbiology and financial services communities.
"We love Charleston!" Bhirud says. "This event is for anyone and everyone who wants to be exposed to a different culture."
Attendees of "Bollywood Night" 2013 will enjoy authentic Indian cuisine catered by the Saffron Patch, a restaurant in northern Ohio using 38 different herbs and spices in a wide range of dishes. Sampath is bringing silent-auction items such as jewelry and clothing from her recent trip to India, and entertainment will feature performers from Lee's Studio of Dance, a former Miss India pageant winner, a Zumba troupe from Huntington and traditional Indian dancing.
"Bollywood Night" has grown steadily over the past two years. In 2011, the first event at the India Center sold out at 200 tickets; in 2012, it sold out the Beni Kedem Temple at 450 tickets; this year, the women reserved Charleston Embassy Suites to procure space for 500 attendees, and tickets are going fast.
"Last year's attendees were pledging to buy tables of tickets for this year's event," Bhirud says. "We knew we would need a large space." She is grateful for the support the event has received each year, and adds that the India Center continues to sponsor "Bollywood Night."
Bhirud says her committee members have children who attended school in Charleston and went on to study at nationally recognized universities, often with international students from various advantaged countries like Saudi Arabia. Now in storied universities such as Princeton and Duke, she said these young people have thrived on their education from Kanawha County public schools. Bhirud points out the ability to attend arts events and to take advanced-placement course options as among the advantages offered in Charleston that have served children in the Indian community so well. "Our children say to us, 'Mom, we never missed out on anything!'"
This year, 100 percent of the profits from "Bollywood Night" will be donated to the West Virginia chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure because one of the organizers recently lost a family member to breast cancer. In previous years, the "Bollywood Night" committee donated all proceeds to the Charleston YWCA domestic violence prevention programs. Bhirud says the organizing committee is open to considering requests from any local charity for support.
"Bollywood Night" organizing committee members Nilima Bhirud (from left), Madhu Chaturvedi, Meenu Patel and Varsha Vaghela are planning another fun and glamorous fundraiser. Not pictured are committee members Jyoti Desai and Shoba Sampath. Photo courtesy of Nilima Bhirud.
Want to go?
WHEN: 6 to 11 p.m. March 16
WHERE: Charleston Embassy Suites
TICKETS: $75 Tickets for "Bollywood Night" are 100 percent tax deductible and may be purchased online from Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Reach Elizabeth Gaucher at Elizabeth.Gaucher@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249. To connect to Charleston Gazette's link, click here.
Improved Rifle Range helps Gun Club
The Putnam County Gun Club (PCGC) now has an improved 100 - yard rifle shooting range.
“This, without a doubt, will be the premiere 100 - yard rifle range in the state of West Virginia,” Bill Shank said.
Shank is coach of the Junior Smallbore Rifle Team for the PCGC. He has been a member of the club, since 1993.
Up until recently, participants have had to adapt to a crown, or hump, in the middle of the outdoor range, making it difficult to see the targets from the prone position, Shank said
“When you go other places and shoot, their range is flat and shooters can shoot in the prone position,” he said. “At our range, in order to shoot the Prone 100 - yard match, we had to build up a mound under our 100 - yard targets.”
Improving the range was something Shank had wanted to achieve for a long time, but he lacked resources. Walker Machinery Co., of Belle, had an operator excavate the range with a Cat D6K bulldozer, and leveled it out to meet National Rifle Association (NRA) construction standards. In addition to leveling the range, he also built a one on one slope of ground to make a backstop, to stop bullets from skipping anywhere once they were shot, and increased the length and height of the side berms.
“It makes the range much safer and there will be no question of us applying for NRA regional matches here,” Shank said.
Improvements on the field are timely, as the club is growing in numbers and in notoriety. Junior Smallbore Rifle Shooting started, in Putnam County, in 2002, with five shooters. Now, the program has about 20 participating shooters, 10 of which were ready to go to the National Smallbore Championship, this past summer, at Camp Perry, Ohio, in July. They won their first NRA National Championship.
Jason Black won the NRA National Championship in the Prone Junior Sharpshooter Class and upgraded to Expert Class. Five PCGC Shooters went for the 3 Position National Championship Match (281 total shooters). There was one PCGC first time Camp Perry 3P Shooter. She earned her Markman Cla ssification. Five additional PCGC Shooters joined them for the Prone Match (283 total shooters). There were four PCGC first time Camp Perry Prone Shooters. Two first time PCGC Prone Shooters earned Sharp- shooter Classification. The other two first - time shooters earned Marksman Classification. Four PCGC Shooters Maintained their NRA Classifications. Fourteen-year-old Randi Shirley upgraded her Classification to Sharpshooter.
Shirley, of Letart, also shoots in the Cowboy Action Discipline where she is a Champion. She has been shooting Cowboy Action with the PCGC for three years. She uses two - 357 revolvers, a 12 - gauge shotgun and a 38 lever action rifle.
“I’ve always been around guns,” she said. “My father taught me how to shoot when I was little and I’ve always wanted to expand on that talent and try to see how good I could become. “
It seems she has improved quite significantly. She placed seventh out of all the women shooters and finished the women shoot - off in sixth place, at the West Virginia State Competition “Appalachian Show Down”, September 21-23, in Largent, W.Va. She placed first in her class, “Young Gun Girl”, at the Northeast Regional Cowboy Single Action Shooting Society Match, Oct. 4-7, in Thurmont, Md., where she also finished “Woman Top Gun” in the shoot - off.
“I’ve met a lot of very important people - most of my friends are shooters, and we’ve just become very close,” Shirley said. “I really enjoy the feeling of doing something important, such as preserving our heritage by using the firearms like we did way back, when to survive we had to hunt for food.”
Shank said the goal of the PCGC is to introduce shooting sports to the youth, but, it is a very expensive sport. With financial support from the NRA and community help, they are able to furnish what each shooter needs: a precision rifle; ammunition and shooting equipment, including a shooting mat, coat and glove, a sling, a spotting scope and stand and the offhand stand. The cost for this equipment, without the rifle, is around $1,000 per shooter.
Shank has always enjoyed working with the youth.
“It’s a bunch of good kids, is what it is,” he said. “It takes a lot of support from their families to get them here.”
Since Walker’s excavation, Shirley said the range looks incredible.
“It’s going to be a whole lot easier to shoot now,” she said. “It helps a lot that it’s smoother. The mounds can affect the wind that can sometimes effect our shots. We really appreciate all that Walker Machinery has done for us.”
For more information or those interested in joining the PCGC Junior Rifle Team call Bill Shank at 304-539-2944.
Back Row: Operator Jackie Scott, Coach William Shank, Junior Shooter Scott Cavender, Assistant Coach Jeff Cavender, Parent Support Kelly McGhee, Junior Shooter Max Hathaway, Junior Shooter Natalie Asbury, Parent Support Jo Barker, Junior Shooter Noah Barker, Junior Shooter Virginia McGhee, Parent Support Paula Asbury, Junior Shooter Jason Black, Photographer & Parent Support Dale Cavender
Relay for Life Wrap-Up
June 8, 2012
With six weeks to go before the Relay we decided we had better get busy. We had $0 dollars with 5 people on the team. At the end of the 6 weeks, 15 more people
joined our Team and we not only reached our goal of $1,500.00 but we exceeded our goal and raised $1,672.25.
The theme for this year’s Relay was “Purple Passion”. “Walkers for a Cure” theme was “Purple Paradise”. The Relay for Life in Kanawha County celebrated 20 years. We all had a good time and enjoyed the evening. The weather was perfect this year (no rain) for the Luminary ceremony!
The Walkers for a Cure (comprised of Walker employees and friends) would like to thank everyone who contributed to this wonderful event, whether it was by making a donation, purchasing a luminary bag, purchasing a foot print, participating in the 50/50 drawings, making and purchasing our baked goods, buying tickets for our quilt raffle and to those who participated in the event. A special thanks to our Company for providing the tent, chairs and tables and their Sponsorship.
We also want to thank Vicki Smith, Suzy Bird, Anita Layton and Jennifer Shanklin for bringing baked goods to the Relay to sell.
Alan Pugh won the quilt raffle. A special thanks to Jessica Hustead for making the quilt.
Karen Sigman won the basket of Avon products (valued at $150.00) that was raffled off at the event. A special thanks to Pat Miller who took care of the 50/50 raffles this year. Winners of the 50/50 drawings were Alan Pugh, on May 18; Rick Turley, on June 1; and Chris Carpenter, on June 8.
We will be getting ready for our next Relay in January 2013. Go ahead and mark your calendars and plan on joining the Team. We want more people and are going to set higher goals. Join the fight against cancer! If you have any suggestions or ideas on making Relay 2013 an even better success, we would love to hear from you. If you have a special talent, such aswoodworking or crafts, you could make and donate for raffles, just let us know.
With your help we can do this!
Thanks again to all of you and the Relay participants; we are helping to create a world with more birthdays – a world where cancer never steals another year of anyone’s life.
Check out our Team’s home page for Relay for Life. http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=team&fr_id=41004&team_id=1090367
Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. ACS is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service. For more information, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
Santa Works at Walker
Dec. 10, 2011
BELLE–“It’s happiness and joy when you see these kids,” Bobbi Jo Thomas said.
Thomas is Inventory Controller for the Sales Office at Walker Machinery Co. but each year, she is also Santa Claus. She and her husband Ronald and her in-laws Helen and Ron Thomas help underprivileged children under the program “Ronald’s Elves.” This is their 17th year.
Thomas’s husband Ronald initiated the program the first year. His dad worked for the board of education and helped with establishing the program through some of the schools. A school is chosen to receive Christmas gifts, shoes, gloves and coats for their underprivileged students.
“It’s a wonderful cause,” Thomas said. She remembers that inaugural year.
“Some of the people didn’t show up,” she said. “One woman, there, had four kids and she was very thankful for their gifts. The woman explained how her family was struggling and had fallen on hard times.
“She stepped out for a bit and while she was gone, my mom unwrapped gifts that people had not picked up. Every gift that was left was a size for that woman’s kids or something they wanted. Every gift pertained to her family and it was all given to them when she returned. It still sends chills up my body.”
By the end of September, Thomas contacts an elementary school. For the past two years it has been Weimer Elementary, in St. Albans. The counselor chooses which children should be included and sends letters home to the parents requesting children’s sizes, what the children would like and what they really need. This year they had over 50 children. After the paperwork is in, Thomas looks for shoppers. Some folks donate money and others shop for a child or an entire family. Some business, such as Eastern American Energy Corp. sponsor several children. Other businesses pitch in money to the coat, glove and shoe fun. Several Walker employees participate each year and do some shopping.
The shoppers bring the gifts to Thomas and she and Helen go shopping for the coats, shoes and gloves. All of the presents are loaded, including 56 boxes for each child, containing coats, shoes, gloves, candy sticks, crayons and coloring books. According to Thomas, Helen organizes everything, including the children’s party, where Santa visits, DJ Phil Chapman entertains and there is food for everyone.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to help someone,” Thomas said. “I always wanted to help people but could never do it on my own. Just knowing they are getting something they need - it touches my heart. I am very thankful for all that help to make this happen. This program could not happen without the support of everyone.”
If anyone is interested in helping Ronald’s Elves, next year, please contact Bobbi Jo at extension 2205.
Bobbi Joe Thomas has taught her son Ryan to help with Ronald's Elves.
Seeking Smiles this Christmas
Nov. 10, 2011
The 18th Annual WE CAN Celebrity Waiter/Waitress Dinner and Auction took place Nov. 10, at the Earl Ray Tomblin Convention Center. Some of the guests were, from left: Abbie Hatfield, Ellen Browning’s daughter and husband Emily and Jennings, Walker mechanic from the Logan store Joseph Miller and his wife Sherri Miller, who is also Browning’s sister.
LOGAN – For Ellen Browning it is a child’s smile she is seeking.
Browning is program director for the Children’s Home Society WE CAN (Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect) Program, a non-profit organization that has been in business 115 years. She works in the Logan office.
This year Browning, and a few helpers, bought toys for 370 children aged pre-birth to 17. Shopping money came from the proceeds of the 18th Annual WE CAN Celebrity Waiter/Waitress Dinner and Auction that took place Nov. 10, at the Earl Ray Tomblin Convention Center. The annual event raises funds for a Christmas party and presents for children through the Child Protective Services social service unit. This is Browning’s 12th year of involvement in the program. Why is it worthwhile?
“It is the differences we make in these children’s lives and smiles on their faces when they don’t normally have them,” she said.
Through an advisory board, Browning nominates different local folks to be celebrity waiters and waitresses. Those servers encourage their friends, family and vendors to come to the dinner and sponsor tables to sit at and be served. Patriot Coal invited Walker employees to sponsor a table while Patriot’s employees were their servers. Walker Machinery has been involved for awhile, according to Browning.
“Patriot’s team was fantastic this year,” Browning said. “They had six or seven tables and they were on top of it.”
Walker Mining Manager Kevin Barnhouse appreciated Mike Day, Senior Vice President of Patriot Coal, inviting Walker to participate in this event.
“The dinner was well organized, well attended and the cause well supported by the community,” Barnhouse said. “I am proud to be part of the Coal industry and was privileged to witness, first – hand, its positive impact on the communities we work and live in once again.
WE CAN makes their money through server tips and an auction. After dinner a live auction starts while a banker is counting the tips. Browning awards a trophy to the top three companies with the highest tips.
“While it is a competition, everyone knows where the money is going,” Browning said.
In addition to the Christmas event, money goes towards a weekend program summer camp.
WE CAN directs two fundraisers annually. The second one, a Vaudeville Review Show, will take place in the spring.
For more information contact Ellen Browning at email@example.com.
WALKER EMPLOYEES TAKE MISSION TRIP WITH LOCAL CHURCH
May 26, 2011
BELLE – Rhonda Cole has been busy, all day, sorting clothing and household items.
She is secretary of Highland Park Church of Christ, in Muscle Shoals, Ala. When the victims of last month’s flood finally move into a new home, they go with only the clothes on their backs, Cole said.
“They have no towels, washcloths, dishes, nothing. It just blows your mind,” she said. “I just love Alabama. The people here have really come together.”
But many folks from outside the state are helping too, such as Joe Pauley, preacher of Belle Church of Christ. He has been pastor, there, for 11 years. This is the first time the church has ventured out to help a disaster. According to Joe, it was originally a personal wish to help the flood victims, driven by his wife Misty. She knows people in Muscle Shoals.
She said, “I’m tired of sending money; I want to do something.”
Misty posted an announcement on Facebook and Joe mentioned it, in church, that night. They announced they were collecting items, such as new underwear, socks and diapers. Many people responded, including friends, co-workers and other churches. Some gave cash. Students and teachers from the second grade at Belle Elementary donated most of the diapers.
“We had to narrow it down because we knew they needed so much of so many different things,” Joe said. “We just thought of things we could take.”
The original idea was to have church members, such as Keith Briggs, parts man for field service at Walker Machinery, go to Alaba
ma to scope out a plan. Based on their findings, they were going to take a trip later.
“Well, we were overwhelmed,” Joe said.
Initially, 24 responded to take the trip. Seventeen are actually going to Alabama, in four vehicles. A trailer, donated by Walker employee Dennis Koch will haul all of the donated items.
“It’s a brand new trailer, but he’s letting us take it,” Briggs said. “But that’s how he is.”
In addition to hauling new items to Highland Park Church, Joe and his crew will also be working through Hatton Church of Christ, in Hatton, Ala. This is where the cash donations will go, Joe said. Their specific task, for now, is to hang drywall in an elderly man’s home, who is without home insurance.
“I don’t have anything to gain by it,” Joe said. “I just know that I want to help somebody.”
“That’s what God wants us to do,” Briggs said.
In addition to working at Walker, Briggs is also the deacon of benevolence and outreach at Belle Church of Christ. Mark Dearth, mechanic in the engine shop will also be taking the trip along with some former Walker employees.
“It will be months and months of this,” Cole said. “Some of the people are beginning to move into FEMA trailers, but still people are living in tents. FEMA can’t help everyone; they are relying on churches to help out.”
Photo: from left: Joe Pauley, preacher of Belle Church of Christ and Keith Briggs, parts man for field service at Walker Machinery.
Returning students receive free lunch
Aug. 31, 2011
MONTGOMERY – The returning students of West Virginia University Technical College and Bridgemont Community and Technical College, of Montgomery, received a warm welcome.
On August 31, the City of Montgomery, Board of Parks and Recreation, and local businesses sponsored a free lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Free hotdogs, chips, candy, cookies and drinks were passed out to the tunes of a local band, Calendars and Kerosene.
Greg Ingram, Component Rebuild Center manager at Walker Machinery Co. and City Recorder of Montgomery, grilled hotdogs provided by Walker. Walker also provided the buns. According to Ingram, the event was important because so many college towns
have a separation between them, referred to as “Town and Gown.”Town and gown are two distinct communities of a university town; "town" being the non-academic population.
“It is important to welcome the students back to destroy those divisions,” h
e said. “We want the students to be part of Montgomery and the residents of Montgomery to be part of Tech. It’s the only way the city can be successful.”
Greg Ingram, Component Rebuild Center manager helps serve students a free lunch.
Relay For Life 2009: Walkers For A Cure Team Surpasses Fundraising GoalHope Cure
June 12, 2009
Relay For Life, which took place June 12 at the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston was a record-breaker, bringing in more than $134,000 for the American Cancer Society. The Walker Machinery Co. team, The Walkers For A Cure, raised $9,570.96, surpassing its fundraising goal of $7,000! That placed the team second out of 70! Two of our team members each raised more than $1,000, placing them in the top five (out of 823 participants) for fundraising! The Walkers For A Cure, (comprised of employees and friends of Walker Machinery), would like to thankRfl09 Girls the many people who contributed to this wonderful event, whether it was by making a general donation, purchasing a luminary bag, participating in the Vacation Day and NASCAR drawings, or even providing baked goods for our bake sale! Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. ACS is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service. For more information, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.