Educator and author Gary L. Rider of Moundsville has been doubly honored for his efforts to record and preserve elements of West Virginia's history.
In addition to being designated as a West Virginia History Hero in February, Rider was named a "Distinguished Mountaineer" by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Rider, a part-time employee of the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library and a retired social studies teacher at John Marshall High School, is well known for his ongoing project to compile the stories of Marshall County veterans. Hundreds of profiles have been published in four volumes. Rider is working on a fifth volume in the series.
At John Marshall, he developed a course titled "America Goes to War," in which students wrote profiles of family members who served in the military. Those class assignments led Rider to create a book, "Marshall County Patriots and Heroes: From the Civil War to Afghanistan," that was released in November 2010. The book contained 131 profiles of men and women who served in the military. Rider has released a compilation of veterans' profiles each year since 2010, coinciding with Veterans' Day.
Officials said Rider's work at the library in Moundsville includes assisting patrons with local history and genealogical research and offering programs related to collecting and publishing veterans' stories. Anyone who is or knows of a Marshall County veteran whose story has not yet been included in one of the volumes may contact Rider at the library or call 304-845-6911.
The West Virginia Center for the Book has rescheduled its celebration for participants of WV Reads 150, a reading initiative conducted in honor of West Virginia's sesquicentennial. The event now will be held at the state Culture Center in Charleston from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 22.
The event was planned originally for Jan. 11, but was postponed because of the water emergency in the Charleston area.
West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman of Wheeling will serve as master of ceremonies for the celebration. Books by Harshman and fellow authors Bill Bitner, Danny Boyd, Patricia Harman, Marie Manilla, Betty Rivard, Mack Samples and Sarah Title will be available for purchase in the Tamarack West Virginia Museum Shop at the Culture Center that day.
Incidentally, West Virginians of all ages joined the year-long initiative to read 150 books in 2013, the state's sesquicentennial year. Organizers of the project said that 113,282 books were read by 543 teams statewide.
In another manifestation of the ongoing water crisis downstate, an announcement from a Charleston church concerning its Shrove Tuesday pancake supper included this reassuring note: "All water served and used for cooking is bottled water."
Linda Comins can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org