Ohio Valley Pride doubles its number of board members

ORGANIZATION GROWS — Mitchell Haddad and Ohio Valley Pride board member Rosemary Ketchum attended last year’s Ohio Valley Pride Festival in downtown Wheeling. -- Contributed

WHEELING — Ohio Valley Pride has more than doubled its number of board members and is looking to increase membership through community outreach and creating a central location for future meetings and events.

Ohio Valley Pride President Jack Carbasho said this has been a long time coming.

“We’ve been meaning to build up our board to get people more involved and get the word out. Right now we have about 20 members and nine board members,” Carbasho said.

The five newly appointed board members have joined four founding board members of the organization. Carbasho said they are a great addition to the team.

“We added these to build up our board last month and they are people that are willing to help build the organization and some of them have professional skills that can help us out a lot,” Carbasho said.

New board members include area residents Rosemary Ketchum, Andrew Lewis, Ellen McCroskey, Joan Wallace and Amanda DeShong. The board’s founding members consist of Carbasho, Jeff Foster, Norman Galownia and Sarah Alltop.

One newly appointed board member, Rosemary Ketchum, is the founder of Ohio Valley Together and works with National Alliance on Mental Illness in Wheeling. Another project the organization has nearly completed is the OVP Community Center located at 1320 Market St. in downtown Wheeling.

“We are currently trying to open a center. It’s going to be LGBTQ oriented, but is open to everyone. We will have education opportunities, and people will be able to rent it out for events,” said Carbasho.

He said the group originally was looking for a smaller space but decided on a larger location based on prospects of bringing the community together. “I was looking for an office location, but this 2,500-square feet will do much more. We mainly paid for it ourselves with the members,” Carbasho said.

Ohio Valley Pride has many goals to revitalize downtown Wheeling and is excited to make it their central location for all community members to enjoy. The organization also is preparing for its second-annual Ohio Valley Pride Parade and Festival on May 12-13 in downtown Wheeling, which welcomed several hundred people its first year in 2017.

Representatives of the organization stress that this a family-friendly event and will provide a children’s area, entertainment, vendors and educational displays. Those wishing to become a member of Ohio Valley Pride are encouraged to apply online with students receiving a discounted rate.