Congratulations are in order for two of the dedicated staff members of the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp.
First, a huge "thank you" to Hydie Friend, who is retiring at the end of the year from the executive director's position, and best wishes to her for a well-deserved and happy retirement. Friend has been a driving force in the area's development efforts and historic preservation projects for many years, through her work with the city of Wheeling's development department, as a professional consultant and more recently as the executive director of WNHAC.
Through Friend's leadership, WNHAC is now on a firm footing, with staff members and community leaders well aware of the organization's mission and its impact on improving the Friendly City and maintaining and restoring Wheeling's cultural and civic heritage.
Numerous projects, both large and small, have come to fruition as a result of the hard work of WNHAC staff members and dedicated volunteers in the city. The most notable accomplishments during Friend's tenure include the development of Heritage Port and the renaissance of the waterfront as a cultural and entertainment venue and as an important part of the growth of tourism, and the restoration and reopening of the Capitol Theatre, one of the city's gems. The utilization of the Wheeling Artisan Center also has blossomed under Friend's leadership.
Friend and her staff have also guided and assisted with many projects that are of a smaller scale, but are no less important to the community. The grants that WNHAC has provided to various organizations for historical projects, educational programs and cultural offerings have been vital to the success of those undertakings and have contributed to the city's standing as a citadel of learning, history and the arts.
Another important contribution that Friend and her staff have made to Wheeling is the practice of collaboration and the spirit of cooperation that they have fostered among groups and entities within the city. Some might find it "radical" to think that organizations are working together, but it can happen and, in fact, WNHAC staff is helping to make it occur.
Next, we extend congratulations to Jeremy Morris, a WNHAC staff member, who has been selected as the corporation's next executive director.