Madonna students, alumni aid neighbors to the south

LENDING A HAND — Weirton Madonna High School students and alumni who participated in this year’s Lend-A-Hand For Appalachia trip return to Weirton Tuesday morning after spending time in Mullens, W.Va., working on home improvement projects for residents in need. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — A group of Weirton Madonna students and alumni returned to the community Tuesday morning, after spending the last few days working to aid those in need in one southern West Virginia town.

Four students and two chaperones made up this year’s Lend-A-Hand for Appalachia group, which traveled to Mullens to work on home repair projects.

According to Matthew Lyons, a member of this year’s group, efforts for this year’s trip were focused on one home, including repairing a roof and installing a series of doors.

“They had a porch roof on the side,” Lyons noted. “We propped that up and fixed it, too.”

Students participating in this year’s project were Kennedy Martin, Jakob McCombs, Ava Loch and Isabel Loch.

Lend-A-Hand for Appalachia has its roots in the mid 1990s, when a group of five Weirton Madonna High alumni chaperoned a group of high school seniors to Whitesville, W.Va.

In its first year, the group helped to build a house for a man who had been living in a tool shed. The efforts continued to grow, with the Lend-A-Hand organization officially formed in 2001, expanding its efforts to other communities and taking on larger projects.

Lend-A-Hand’s annual projects are funded through donations from businesses, churches and individuals throughout the Tri-State Area.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)