By Peggy Mackenzie
The Lewisburg city council meeting was packed on Tuesday night, dominated by the presence of the Lewisburg Police department, there to honor the three officers involved in the New Years Day shooting in which two of the three received injuries. Chief Tim Stover presented commendations to Lt. Jemmy Dove, Patrolman Nicholas Sams, and Cpl. J. M. Arbaugh for their “acts of bravery, valor, dedication, service, and commitment.” Stover described them as “true heroes.”
Stover introduced Chief/Chaplain Jack L. Rinchinch, president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police American Police Hall of Fame and Museum, who presented each officer with a silver star for bravery in the line of duty.
The city council members obviously moved by the proceedings, added some remarks: Council member Heather Blake said as a result of their service beyond the call of duty, there is confidence for the safety of the community. “Lives can change in an instant when something like this happens,” said council member Joseph Lutz. He added that it is important to know someone is looking out for you. Council member Beverly White gave a very moving invocation offering gratitude for the lives of the officers to not only their families but to the members of the entire community.
Mayor John Manchester said the city has received two letters from family members of the North Carolina victims who were killed in the multi-state crime spree on Jan. 1, thanking the community for reaching out to them. Chief Stover and Deputy Chief Chris Teuber attended the funeral services for the elderly couple, Jerome and Dora Faulkner.
After a short break, the meeting resumed.
Manchester moved on to announce that a vacancy in the planning commission will be filled by Lydia Preston-Hicks, who will serve the remaining year and a half on the board vacated by Jennifer Susman.
Manchester then introduced Natalie Roper, executive director of Generation Greenbrier Valley, an organization designed to attract and retain young professionals of all kinds. “West Virginia is the only state in the union losing its young people,” she said. “Seventy-two percent of WVU students leave the state upon graduation.” The Generation Greenbrier Valley is one of nine regional chapters in the state, all focused upon leadership development and redirecting the perception of West Virginia as a sustainable place to stay and prosper.
The mayor offered thanks to the Greenbrier County Commission for providing the 20 percent match required to receive the grant offered by the Department of Highways to complete Lewisburg’s commitment to the construction of the L & R Trail. The grant was for $125,000. The remaining route will be surveyed and completed from Holt Lane to the entrance to K-Mart in Fairlea. The county will then cover the costs for the trail down to the city of Ronceverte.