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St. Albans businessman to receive YMCA community award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Richard Sinclair, a native of Ireland who has lived in and served West Virginia and the region for 38 years, will be the 29th recipient of the YMCA of Kanawha Valley's Spirit of the Valley award.

The award, which is given to people who have exemplified service and leadership in the Kanawha Valley region, will be presented to Sinclair at noon Wednesday during a celebration at the Charleston Civic Center.

"The award is given to someone who, over the years, has demonstrated their time, talent and treasure in working for the betterment of the community," said John Giroir, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Kanawha Valley.

Sinclair, president and CEO of Jefferds Corp., a forklift and materials handling company based in St. Albans, has served as president of the Holz School PTA, president of Edgewood Country Club, president of the Charleston Rotary Club and former coordinator of the Rotary District Student Exchange Program.

Sinclair also has been chairman of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Board, chairman of the Fund for the Arts Board and member and chairman of the Charleston Area Medical Center board.

"We are grateful for Richard's contributions to our community and humbled that YMCA of Kanawha Valley has been one of the many organizations to receive the benefit of his volunteerism over the years," Giroir said.

According to Giroir, the YMCA does not choose the recipient of the Spirit of the Valley award. Instead, a selection committee made up of previous winners selects who will receive the honor. The selection committee for this year's award included Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, United Way of Central West Virginia Chairman Paul White, YMCA Chairman Mark Grigsby, Charleston Area Alliance Chairman Patrick Bond and Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Chairman Ron Potesta.

Holmes Morrison, chairman of the luncheon and the 2008 Spirit of the Valley recipient, said the quotation inscribed on the award -- "For charity and wisdom, patience and humility" -- describes Sinclair and his contributions to the region.

"It's easy to understand why he would be this year's recipient, because of the number of things he's done with volunteering and giving back to the community," Morrison said.

Sinclair, a volunteer for the Boy Scout Leadership Luncheon and a Read Aloud volunteer at Andrews Heights and Anne Bailey elementary schools, has donated more than 21 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross, and helped run the 1989 United Way campaign that raised more than $3 million.

"That's his personality; he's a very giving person," Morrison said. "When he believes in something, he wants to support it, and he truly believes in our community."

The YMCA luncheon also sponsors a Spirit of the Valley giving campaign and raised almost $300,000 last year for the YMCA's community assistance program, which helps families afford child care, and other YMCA programs and facilities. In addition, Sinclair has chosen the Childhood Language Center and WV Read Aloud to receive a portion of the funds from this year's campaign.

"It's amazing to me that a single luncheon can raise over a quarter of a million dollars," Morrison said. "I don't think there's anything else that comes close to it. It recognizes the recipient of the award, but more importantly, it provides funds for the disadvantaged; families who can't afford the YMCA on their own."

The Spirit of the Valley campaign has raised $260,000 so far this year, and more than 600 people will attend today's luncheon. For more information on the YMCA of Kanawha Valley, visit www.ymcawv.org.

Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nuzum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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