Part of what makes any community great is the effort to preserve its history and remember those who have come before, laying the groundwork for our present as we strive to build a future.
The Weirton community endeavors to do just that each year with the induction of several past and present residents into the Weirton Hall of Fame. This year's induction will take place May 4, with a class including public servants, athletes and artists.
The 2014 class of the Weirton Hall of Fame, nominated by area residents and selected by a committee of volunteers, will include James Hanna, Robert "Bob" Trice, Barbara Matey, Goldie Baly, Catherine "Kitty" Kochman, Dino Belli and Harry Ameredes.
Each inductee has distinguished him or herself in some way during his or her lifetime, and we applaud those accomplishments as they are enshrined to serve as an inspiration for future generations of the Weirton community.
Trice, for example, was among the earliest African-Americans to play in Major League Baseball, becoming the first black player to play for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1953. Ameredes, who played semi-pro football, was better known as an award-winning woodcarver and artist. Baly spent many years serving on a variety of community organizations, chronicling aspects of her life in her book, "Goldie's Memoirs." Matey spent much of her life focused on some aspect of education, teaching at West Virginia Northern Community College and heading up training programs for Weirton Steel Corp. She also spent many years working with the education programs at the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his collegiate football career, where he played under Bear Bryant, and playing baseball in the Cincinnati farm system, Hanna scouted for the Pittsburgh Pirates, coached local American Legion and high school baseball teams and helped to organize the Midget Football Leagues in Weirton. Kochman is well known for her years of volunteer service with many area organizations, including the Weirton Kiwanis. Belli was a well-known musician, operating a music school in the community for many years.
Since its inception, the Weirton Hall of Fame has worked to find those who have made significant strides in establishing and promoting the Weirton community.
We are fortunate to have had them as a part of the city's history and offer our congratulations to them and their families as their service continues to inspire for years to come.