Shelter Offers A \'thank You\' To First Responders

IEI wants to honor and thank the many first responders — firefighters, police, rescue, ambulance, dispatch, Red Cross and all emergency services — that answered the fire call at its warehouse along Camden Avenue last October, said Sunny Naik, IEI operations manager. The major fire at the former Ames plant near Parkersburg burned for eight days.

Naik said IEI appreciates the efforts of first responders during the fire and for helping the company “get back on its feet.” It was amazing how these departments, along with others, worked together during this difficult time, Naik said.

IEI considered the best way to give back to the community for all its help, Naik said. The company wanted it to be more than just presenting a check, he said.

Naik and other company employees and officials will attend the appreciation day to thank the first responders in person.

The appreciation day at the Wood County fairgrounds will begin at 2 p.m. July 21 with a pig roast, hot dogs, chips, beverages and a raffle at 5 p.m. with local businesses donating items, Naik said. IEI will be providing tickets to the fair.

Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles are expected to entertain the youngsters.

More than 240 first responders from 38 departments responded to the IEI fire, said Rick Woodyard, Wood County 911 director.

Rick Modesitt of RMA Presents booked the Second Helping band, which will provide a tribute to Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd at the fairgrounds at 3 p.m. Opening for Second Helping will be The Adam Hill Band. The fair concert is open to the general public.

Naik said the fairgrounds along Butcher Bend Road is a perfect place for the pig roast at the open shelter and a concert on the big stage nearby. Modesitt put Naik in contact with fair officials to work out the details on a venue for the thank-you celebration.

Chris McCallister, founder and guitarist with Second Helping, said he was excited to be participating in this show to honor first responders from the IEI fire. “It is a privilege to do this,” he said. “They (first responders) deserve our respect.”

Second Helping was formed in 1988 in Tampa as one of the first tribute bands, said McCallister, who lives in Kinston, N.C., and is a native of Huntington.

McCallister describes the 10-member band as a “showcase for classic Skynyrd music. Expect a big show with the three guitar lineup, a full complement of female background singers, a big sound, and an evening that will bring you back to a time of youth, fun, and hope.”

Second Helping goes to great lengths to play classic Skynyrd music right with no canned music in its performance, McCallister said. The band will perform 20 Skynyrd songs in its two-hour show, with a surprise or two in Mineral Wells, he said. Naik expects the waste from the fire to be gone from the Camden Avenue site by the end of this month. About 37 truckloads of debris leave the site everyday, he said.

***

Avery Historic District residents got some good news Thursday night at First Baptist Church in Parkersburg.

The recently formed group has the funding to move forward on becoming a 501c3 nonprofit organization for completing projects in the Parkersburg district, said Fuchsia Saarinen, group leader. The National Register of Historic Places designated the Avery Street area as a historic district in 1986.

Plans call for work to begin this summer on building sidewalks, which will have ADA ramps, and adding lighting on Avery Street from Seventh to 13th streets. A bump-out, or concrete island, also will be constructed on Avery Street at 10th Street near the Quincy Hill steps, said Parkersburg Development Director Rickie Yeager. A total of $500,000 has been allocated for the Avery Street project, he said.

Seth Cressey, secretary of the organization, said an unnamed “benefactor” is donating bricks for pillars to be built designating the boundaries of Avery Historic District and for use in other projects.

Michelle McLendon said signs stating “I love living in Avery Historic District” will be ordered for residents to place on their properties.

The next sidewalk cleanup will be 9 a.m. Aug. 11 along Market Street from 13th to 19th streets, following last Saturday’s successful cleanup from 13th to 16th streets along Avery Street, said Cressey.

The district is seeking trash receptacles, is working on the problems associated with vacant buildings and is trying to form a Neighborhood Watch.

These efforts are all part of “rebranding” the district as being a desirable place to live, Saarinen said at Thursday’s meeting.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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