Paw Paw to host 61st Memorial Day parade Saturday


Morgan County’s main Memorial Day event will be back this holiday weekend as the Paw Paw Parade Committee hosts the 61st Annual William H. Norton Memorial Day Parade on Saturday, May 29 at 1 p.m.

Memorial Day is a holiday in which we honor and mourn members of the military who have passed while serving in the United State Armed Forces.

The committee traditionally invites a veteran or a hometown hero to serve as grand marshal of the small-town parade.

Event organizers noted that small towns all over America were already facing various challenges before the global pandemic hit.

“Paw Paw is fortunate that the new healthcare challenges created by the pandemic were met and tackled by Mountaineer Community Health Center (MCHC),” parade organizers said.

Mountaineer Community Health provides quality primary and behavioral healthcare to Paw Paw and surrounding areas.

“The staff and providers at MCHC became small town heroes when COVID-19 began by taking on the added challenges of keeping the community informed and updated regarding the pandemic, offering virtual visits, and providing community testing and vaccinations,” committee members said.

The staff of Mountaineer Community Health Center have been chosen to be the grand marshals of this year’s parade.

Meet the Grand Marshals

The parade committee introduced staff members in their announcement about the event.

Stephanie Miller has been with MCHC for 10 years in September. She started out as the receptionist and is now the business manager. She resides in Paw Paw with her husband of 14 years and two sons. Miller is a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Post 128. She likes to spend time with her family, going to the river, hiking and riding ATVs.

Julie Smith is the full-time receptionist and has been with MCHC for five years. She was born and raised in Paw Paw and graduated from Paw Paw High School in 1995. She is a lifetime member of the Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Company, a member of the Ladies Auxiliary Post 128 and an officer with the Paw Paw Youth League. Smith likes  her family time especially with her husband, Joe, and children, Joselyn and Justus, on their small farm just outside of town.

Irene Gaghan is MCHC’s part-time receptionist who moved to Paw Paw from Philadelphia two years ago to be closer to family. She went to school at Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown, Pa. and worked for Our Lady of Lourdes in New Jersey for seven years before joining the staff at MCHC. With her free time, she likes playing video games and playing with her puppy, Gizmo.

Tina Waugh joined MCHC in 2017 as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She began her nursing career as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy. Waugh is a graduate of Paw Paw High School and currently resides with her husband and children in Hampshire County.

Carly Duelley joined MCHC in 2020 as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She earned her Master of Science Degree in Nursing from WVU. She resides in Paw Paw, where she was raised, with her husband, son and dog.

Twila Montessi, RN joined MCHC in 2010. She has lived on the outskirts of Paw Paw for 40 years. She raised three children and now has four grandchildren.

Madeline Smith joined MCHC in February of 2020 as a Medical Assistant. She is local to Paw Paw and graduated from Paw Paw High School.

Stephanie Gosnell joined MCHC in 2019 in order to provide psychotherapy as well as mental health assessments and psychosocial evaluations. She is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and provides trauma-informed services. She has worked in the human services field since 2008 when she began working with children and adults with developmental disabilities. She obtained her undergraduate degree from WVU in 2011 and Master’s in Social Work in 2015. Upon graduating with her MSW, Gosnell worked in juvenile corrections. She then worked providing outpatient services to all types of clients, including children. Gosnell is a life-long resident of West Virginia who attended Paw Paw Elementary School and graduated from East Hardy High School. She resides in Hampshire County and likes spending time with her foster children and fur children. She will soon be returning to school to pursue her doctorate in social work.

Jason Whipkey was born and raised in the Morgantown area. He studied computer engineering at WVU. Jason started working at a community health center in 2013 and fell in love with the mission of community health centers — to provide care to people regardless of their ability to pay. Wipkey has been at MCHC since January of 2018, and has been the CEO since January of 2019.

Ciro Grassi is from New Jersey and is a graduate of Rutgers University and a U.S. Army veteran. He has been living in Capon Bridge for the past 16 years with his wife of 24 years, Tracey, and his three children. In addition to being MCHC’s Controller, he is also a substitute teacher at Paw Paw Schools and Hampshire County Schools.

A full day of events

The Harley Bohrer Wreath-Laying Ceremony will be held at Woodrow Union Church Cemetery at 10 a.m on the day of the parade.

At 11 a.m. a Memorial Service will be held at the town’s Veteran Monument.

Parade entrants will line up at noon at the House of Jacob, and the parade starts at 1 p.m.

The Paw Paw Lions Club will have food beginning at 9 a.m. at the former Ellie’s.

A variety of vendors will be set up at the Morgan County EMS building beginning at 10 a.m.

CM Grow Greenhouses will be set up beside Sweet N Eats Bakery.

Paw Paw Christian Center will have free hot dogs and drinks.

Parade programs are available at the Paw Paw Country Store/Liberty stateion and the Paw Paw Post Office.