Kercheval delivers keynote address at Chamber banquet
Before introducing the keynote speaker at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s 52nd annual Awards Banquet, President Paul Espinosa joked that he hopes the fate that befell last year’s speaker doesn’t happen again.
Jefferson County native Hoppy Kercheval – the radio “dean” of West Virginia and the keynote speaker at Wednesday evening’s banquet at the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown – took the joke in stride, telling the crowd he’d be OK as long as West Virginia MetroNews doesn’t name a “talk show host in waiting,” a reference to last year’s speaker, former West Virginia University football coach Bill Stewart, and the circumstances of his departure.
Kercheval, who grew up in Summit Point and Charles Town, spoke fondly to the crowd about his time in Jefferson County and the two important lessons he learned on his family’s old dairy farm.
“I learned that being a dairy farmer was hard work, that was the first lesson,” Kercheval said. “The second lesson was I did not want to be a dairy farmer.”
Kercheval discovered an affection for radio while listening to AM stations at night, and he took his first job at a radio station in Charles Town while growing up. He then attended WVU and helped establish West Virginia MetroNews.
“Find your passion, find what you love to do and do it, as always, with great love,” Kercheval said. “It’s a great pleasure for me to return, finally, to Jefferson County … and it’s important to be invited back. Growing up, there were times I thought I might be asked to leave, I never was sure I’d be invited back.”
The banquet serves to recognize Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce member businesses that either got their start in the past year or improved and expanded their services, according to Executive Director Heather Morgan.
“The chamber is all about promoting businesses in Jefferson County, and so when a new business comes to join the chamber we want to help promote their business as much as we can,” Morgan said.
Espinosa, the outgoing chamber president, said the chamber had several successes during the past year, which included inviting Jefferson County legislators to chamber meetings, including more artists at the Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival and participating in Jefferson County Day at the state Capitol in Charleston.
“Probably the biggest challenge is just to be responsive to our members. … We want to strive to do those things that help our members be successful,” Espinosa said.
The banquet also recognized the Distinguished Citizen of Jefferson County, an award sponsored by the Spirit of Jefferson newspaper.
The 2011 recipient is Locke Wysong Jr., a Jefferson County resident who has been active in the community for most of his life, volunteering his time with 4-H clubs, multiple community organizations and serving two terms in the West Virginia House of Delegates as a representative of the 58th District.