March 2020 Newsletter

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Marsha Humphrey, President

Having been involved with the Main Street Ripley Board of Directors for the entire 21 years of its existence, it is clear to see how this nonprofit has been so successful!  Former and current leaders have given/are giving their heart, soul and financial support through the good times and the lean times. When the projects and programs seemed/seem overwhelming and the funds were/are running low….they rolled up their sleeves and charged/charge forward.  Thank you for this service….listing names of the former leaders would fill a page and those that served did not do it to have their name in a newsletter.  They served because of their love for Ripley.  You know who you are and some are no longer with us, but you will never forget.

Focusing on the here and now, it is an honor and privilege to introduce the Main Street Ripley 2020 team:

Sally Blessing, Vice President-a business woman, Blessing Acres Apiaries, volunteer extraordinaire, an IT guru and a Main Street advocate of great knowledge, she is the mortar between us bricks keeping us focused and following the Main Street way; Ashely Donohew, Treasurer-a talented CPA with an intimate knowledge of Main Street having served in the Main Street Ripley Teens, an intern for MSR while attending UC and our former Vista, Ashley returned in 2019 to take the financial reins; Shari Levitt, Secretary-a Veteran, owner of Levitt Farms and soon to open on Main Street in Ripley, the WV Artisans Market; Keith King, OD-retired Optometrist for our community, Keith serves and has served on many nonprofits in Ripley.  A intricate knowledge of small business, he is our voice of reason; Missy Hatcher, extraordinary business owner of Faithful and Free on Court Street in Ripley, a Realtor and strong voice for small business, Missy brings her marketing talents to this table; Joshua Donohew, a volunteer of many faces, in his professional life he works with families to understand their needs and ways to work together.  He does the same in his volunteer life…he finds pathways to success; Linda Dickirson, the keeper of the beautiful flowers and decorations in our historic downtown, Linda’s passionate ways show through her work with children, both professionally and voluntarily. She brings that passion to our board with ideas and her “GET IT DONE-NOW!” attitude; Melissa Lewis-former small business owner, Missy brings creativity to the board. She envisions what could be and how to get there….a must for any nonprofit organization; Melissa Kerns, a financial mind for City National Bank, Melissa is a powerful advocate for all nonprofits and brings that on this board.  Always mindful the organization’s needs, she is tuned in to the fine points of fundraising to make it happen; Robin Blankenship, a woman that has conquered overwhelming challenges as she and husband Jim built the I 77 Auto Group into one of the largest in WV.  Having served as President of National Boards, Robin brings personal and professional strength and expansive knowledge of the business world to this organization and this community; Lee Blizzard, jumped with both feet into Main Street world through his talented work with the Jackson County Players.  He has worked tirelessly bringing the Alpine Theater up to a technical wonder over the last year.  Amazing things are about to happen at the Alpine with Lee at the realm; New member, Attorney Seth Harper, is a Ripley native and serves as a volunteer with nonprofits throughout Jackson County.  Seth is our voice of reason and the valuable point of contact on all legal issues. Ex-officio board member, Monnie Landis, an original Main Street volunteer, the keeper of all Main Street knowledge, brings a life time of knowledge in volunteer service. We need facts, she has them.  We need dates, she has them….she continues to volunteer and mentor the next generation. 

Thank you to these and all the former Main Street Ripley Board Members.  Right now, life in our Untied States is uncertain.  The future will be challenging as a new normal evolves through this pandemic.  The Main Street Ripley Board of Directors stand strong and whatever it takes to get Ripley’s small businesses back on track, this group of volunteers is ready to face the task. 

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I have served as an Americorps VISTA with Main Street Ripley since November 2019. As a VISTA, a sort of full-time volunteer, I have had the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful organization. Main Street Ripley is a community non profit dedicated to improving our town, our businesses, and making the lives of Ripley’s citizens better. Despite living in and around Ripley and Jackson County for most of my life, I knew very little about Main Street Ripley before becoming a VISTA. In the months I have spent serving with Main Street, I have seen the dedication and passion of our volunteers, board members, and our employees. 

 If you’re reading this, you most likely know about our recent Springing it Forward 5K. It was a great experience to be a part of this event and helping to make it happen. Maybe some you participated in the race, provided support as a sponsor, offered in-kind donations, served on our race committee, or even gave your time as a volunteer. We are still looking forward to continuing this event and creating a new way to bring people to our wonderful city and making it a more enjoyable place for all of us.

 Main Street has been a staple of the city of Ripley for over twenty years, and we will be here for years to come. If you’ve attended a movie, concert, or play at the Alpine Theatre, shopped for bargains and unique items at Ripley on Sale, found volunteer opportunities on, or taken a kayak down the Mill Creek Water Trail, you’ve been a part of something that Main Street made possible. I’m proud to be a part of this organization and look forward to what we can accomplish together.

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