September 2016 Celebrating Volunteers Winner

Debra Stout of 

the Wallace Volunteer Fire Department

     A person unknowingly becomes a pillar of their community through hardwork, dedication and a giving heart.  A pillar is a person that becomes well known for their dedicated actions to improving their environment and the environment for their fellow citizens.  This can never be done through devotion to one cause, it is usually done when the person successfully takes on many projects.  A community member who assists all of those around them and does it in such a manner that it encourages further growth and development within their community in a selfless way.  This describes Debra Stout to a ‘t’.

     Debra works tirelessly in support of the Wallace Fire Department, but that is only a portion of what she contributes to her family and her community.  As a member of the, now exhausted, Ladies Auxiliary of the Wallace Volunteer Fire Department, Debra organized fundraisers, carnivals, community gatherings  and benefits all in the name of supporting the local fire house and the community it serves.  Most who live in a small town in West Virginia understand the amount of dedication it takes to just keep a volunteer firehouse running, but along Route 20, you will find not only a firehouse that has survived, but one that is moving forward.  With the construction of new fire truck bays and the updates to the firehouse itself, Wallace, lead by Ms. Stout and others, is pushing forward among great adversity.

     Adversity for Debra that began on a fateful day in April of 1963.  The day that her grandfather, Raymond Swiger, was killed in a mining disaster that took the lives of 22 employees of the Compass No. 2 Clinchfield Coal Company. Fast forward through to 2006, when she formed a committee to establish a memorial to honor those that perished.  She worked diligently until the Dola Miners Memorial was dedicated over Labor Day weekend that same year. 

     Although the Dola Memorial has become a crown jewel for Debra, it did not stop there.  She continues to support her community through volunteering and her persistence.

     She has affected organizations such as the Lincoln High School Band, where she could be seen working the concession stands, maintaining uniforms and working to support the local high school and it’s students.  By working donation dinners and fundraisers for the Wallace Lions Cemetery, to ensure that she continues to support her community well into the future.  You can continue to find her raising money or helping out with one project or another, sometimes it appears that she never rests.  As her daughter Valerie Long, puts it, “[Mom] is the kind of person who never says ‘no’ when someone is in need.  She’s always willing to lend a helping hand.”

 Wallace Fire Department Sign    Lending that helping hand, is why Debra Stout, pillar of Wallace and the surrounding areas, was chosen as this month’s Celebrating Volunteers winner.

     “To meet Debra, is to meet each member of her community.  She has multiple stories of trials and tribulations that have been met with her tenacity,” Gretchen Ross of WBOY stated.  “Communities across West Virginia would be so lucky to have a person so dedicated as Debbie, she places everyone else’s needs above her own.”

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     “I have known Debbie for many years.  I have seen her hard work and dedication through many projects she has lead,” said Tim Miley, owner of The Miley Legal Group.  “Her support of the Wallace and area communities is inspiring for me.  She has become a beacon of hope for many and I am humbled to be able to share a glimpse of what all she has accomplished.”

     We look forward to recognizing a number of worthy individuals while giving their organizations a part of the spotlight.  The program will continue recognizing volunteers throughout the coming year.  In order to nominate a volunteer to receive this award, please visit WBOY's nomination page, the form can be found on the bottom of the page.

For more information on the Wallace Volunteer Fire Department, please visit their Facebook page.