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2021 Summit Award Nominees

Thank you for nominating the best of the best of our businesses, non-profits, and the people who make things happen in our community.  This year's nominees are listed below with a brief description of why they were nominated.  Read through and vote for your choice in each category.  Winners will be announced at the Summit Awards Dinner being held this year at Brookedale Farms in Fort Ashby.  Thank you for helping recognize our great people and businesses in the Mineral County Chamber!

Leader of the Year:

Luke McKenzie

Luke not only serves at the Director of Emergency Services for Mineral County, but has also taken on the role of County Coordinator.  Luke worked to get tremendous grants, equipment, supplies, and personal protective gear during the pandemic, saving the county millions.  Luke also worked tirelessly at the vaccine drives earlier this year.  Since taking on the County Coordinator position, Luke has worked with the County Commission to obtain additional funding through the American Rescue Plan for a multitude of projects and to bolster a hard-hit budget again due to the pandemic.  Luke has demonstrated his strong leadership skills and has gone above and beyond to help the people of Mineral County.

Shelley Friend

Shelley is celebrating her 30th year working at First United Bank and Trust, a fantastic accomplishment in its own right.  During that time, Shelley has made connections all across the area, forging relationships with friends, neighbors, business owners, community leaders, representatives from government, and more.  Shelley has also led by example, not only within First United, but in the community, using her friendly, outgoing personality to bring others along on community projects, offer advice, or simply rolling up her sleeves to get something accomplished.  Shelley has always done these things with a smile and can-do attitude, demonstrating her infectious style of leadership to thousands along the way. 

Community Service Award:

Dinah Courrier

Dinah Courrier is well known and beloved in Mineral County for a lifetime of giving back to the community.  Dinah taught at Potomac State for 22 years, held every office in the Keyser Rotary and has been a member for years, and created the Food for Thought program 12 years ago, which provides nutritious food for students on days there is no school.  Today Food for Thought serves 400 students every week.  Dinah has also been a driving force to research, preserve, and present history throughout Mineral County.  Dinah has authored several books on local history and Potomac State College, and along with her husband, provided space to house the Mineral County Museum, and has worked tirelessly to obtain, catalog, and display items donated from all over the county.  Dinah is also involved with many other organizations that help people in need.

Fort Ashby Lions Club

The Lions serve Mineral County well. They have medical equipment to support the community and have delivered wheelchairs, hospital beds, etc. to local families in need. They are always sending volunteers to help with community events. They sponsor toys for happiness during the holidays to help families in need. They allow the local food pantry to operate out of the lion’s club building. They also run the Fort Ashby Community Building, street lights and the Fort Ashby Cemetery.   

Non-Profit of the Year:

Burlington United Methodist Family Services

Burlington United, or BUMFS, is synonymous with community outreach and helping those in need throughout West Virginia, but especially here in Mineral County where they are headquartered.  BUMFS has a new foster care facility - Hope Meadows in Burlington, a completely refurbished boys home at the former Alkire mansion, an incredible new home for Sarah's House in Keyser, and an updated Staggers House, also in Keyser.  Besides these services, BUMFS also provides residential homes, adoption and foster care services, Parents as Teachers, Right from the Start, Safe at Home, Community Based Therapy, Finance Information Technology, and the Social Necessity Program among others.  Under the leadership of Chris Mullett, BUMFS is forging ahead to help get people back to a better place - spiritually, mentally, and physically.

County United Way

Our local United Way works tirelessly to help support non-profit organizations which help people in Mineral County.  They have supported organizations like Family Resource Network, programs at the Piedmont Library, Energy Express, and many others.  They also provide assistance to individuals in need as cases present themselves.  County United Way also organizes the Stuff the Bus campaign to provide school supplies for students throughout the county.  United Way has a huge impact on many people's lives in our community.

Young Professional of the Year:

Stephanie Nickerson

Stephanie began working with the Mineral County Economic Development Authority less than three years ago, and has made a really positive impact not only with their clients, but with all of the other agencies and businesses she interacts with.  Stephanie has collaborated on many projects beginning with her first, which was helping displaced workers from the Luke Mill by providing resources to help the workers find other employment, job training, and other needs.  Stephanie has worked on many other projects since then, making a difference in Mineral County.

Ashley Parker

Ashley has been with M&T Bank since 2018. She has been the manager of Keyser M&T Bank since May 2021. Ashley is an active member of CASA, WIN, and the Western Maryland Food Bank. Ashley joined the Mineral County Chamber in May and has been very active in the events the chamber has sponsored, and has expressed interest in connecting the Chamber with business groups such as Women in Business and Business and Professional Women. She is always willing to help improve the Mineral County Community.

Entrepreneurial Spirit Award:

Donna & Donnie Alt

Donna and Donnie Alt own and operate Brookedale Farm in Fort Ashby, and are amazing entrepreneurs.  Brookedale is much more than a traditional farm, and were early adopters of Agritourism in Mineral County.  Donna and Donnie added the Stadell - a beautiful wedding and multi-purpose event center, which has been a great addition not only to their business, but to the county as well.  Brookedale also sells flowers, plants, and vegetables in the Spring from their greenhouses, offer a now famous corn maze in the Fall, and offer many other opportunities year-round.  Brookedale Farm is a model for creative thinking, community involvement, and great business skills.

Betsy Delozier

Betsy Delozier is quite the entrepreneur.  Betsy Delozier worked for 15 years as a Utility Lineman before starting her own business with Big D Electric based in Cumberland.  Big D Electric continued to do well, so Betsy decided to open up three additional and diverse businesses - Grace Built Home Improvements, Creation Laundry, and her latest success, Cross Hairs Indoor Shooting Range in Fort Ashby.  Cross Hairs is a state of the art facility which includes a virtual range with hundreds of scenarios including the infamous Zombie Apocalypse!   Betsy is NRA certified and stresses safety in her courses and on the range.  

Large Business of the Year:

Clearway Energy

Clearway Energy may not be a household name in Mineral County -yet, but you should know a few great things about them.  They are the company behind the wind farms to the west of Keyser.  Those wind farms are supplying clean energy to the grid and provide very good local jobs as well. 


The U.S. Windforce Foundation distributes funds to local non-profits and communities within Mineral County every year, and Clearway is a major foundation donor.  Clearway has helped the community in many other ways, including providing supplies to Mineral County Emergency Services during the pandemic.  With the addition of the Black Rock Wind Farm in the near future, donations to non-profits will double, which will provide even more meaningful support for great projects around the county. 


Clearway also started a program to train displaced workers in the coal industry for jobs in the renewable energy field, something sorely needed in West Virginia.  Clearway's business is doing well, and their outreach to the community is both outstanding and greatly appreciated.

Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman continues to be a hugely important business and good neighbor in Mineral County.  While much of what Northrop Grumman does at the Rocket Center is secret, their impact on the community, generosity, and focus on education are no secret.  Mineral County and the surrounding area are grateful for their presence and leadership every day.

Sealed Air

Sealed Air is another cornerstone major business in Mineral County which has demonstrated over and over their commitment to the needs of Mineral County's citizens.  Sealed Air donated to people in need during the pandemic and continue to sponsor area teams and events, including Mineral County Days.

Small Business of the Year:

The Candlewyck Inn

During the pandemic, as all businesses were struggling, innovation and creativity was essential, especially in the restaurant and bar segment.  One great example of that innovation and creativity was put on display at the Candlewyck Inn in Keyser.  Owner Fred Engle came up with several ways to reach people, and communicate with guests, and Fred utilized Facebook to great advantage.  Fred publicized his hours, his menu, specials, and ways people could order and safely pick up their food that frankly, many others were not doing.  Fred even noticed that by using social media heavily, he was bringing in customers he had never had before.  Fred showed great thinking in terrible circumstances and came out with new tools and new customers.  Well done!

Duckies Bar & Grill

Duckies Bar & Grill has been a constant supporter of their community, not just in Piedmont, but in Mineral County as a whole.  Duckies is also a yearly sponsor of many local sports teams, ranging from youth sports to adult recreation leagues. Every year, they hold a BBQ Benefit that helps raise money for Operation Heroes Support, an organization that benefits local veterans. Not to mention all the other community events that they help sponsor or offer to make food for.

Montum Architecture

Montum Architecture is owned by Chief Architect Tom Pritts.  Mineral County is very fortunate to have Tom run his firm and live in Mineral County.  Tom's experience and local knowledge have been essential in many of the projects he has worked on lately, especially for local government.  Tom has also volunteered his services to non-profits and others in many ways as a way of giving back to the community.  Tom never seeks the limelight for anything - including this nomination, but Montum Architecture provides a vital service to Mineral County, one that we would have to go outside the county to obtain otherwise, losing all of that local knowledge in the process.

Wayne's Meats

Wayne’s Country Fresh Meats- Bruce & Brittany Harrison. Wayne’s is such an asset to Mineral Co. They are always willing to donate to support community fundraisers. They help support the various Volunteer Fire Companies and their gun bashes as well as dinners. They have participated in several hoagie sales to raise money for local residents' medical expenses.