Oh yes, people do make the difference.
Gloria Delbrugge attends at least one meeting per day, most of which are related to her role as a member of the Wheeling City Council. She represents Ward One, an area that includes the Warwood, North Park, and Upper Glenwood neighborhoods.
In addition to the two monthly regular council meetings, Delbrugge sits on two other city committees as well as the Ohio County Health Board. She is also active with her Elks organization, and attends monthly crime watch meetings.
During her tenure on city council, Delbrugge has refused to be a can kicker. She’s been hard core, in fact. She’s not been afraid to stand up against the “old-school network,” and Delbrugge has served her neighbors very well.
But she’s ready to slow down. Her current council term expires in 2016, and she has decided not to run for a fourth. She loves the city, has defended Ward One with valor and effectiveness, and has served many folks who reside outside her jurisdiction, too, because, well, they called her. In her mind, it’s about Wheeling and everything and everyone in the municipality.
She is hoping there is someone residing within the Ward One borders who will launch a campaign because he or she owns the same appreciation for the city section. It does take time. There are tough decisions. The phone rings a lot. It’s not about the $250 paychecks council members receive every two weeks. And getting elected does make you a “public figure,” and that fact means the critics will make comments, but seldom to your face.
It’s been worth it, though, and Delbrugge is willing to speak to anyone who is contemplating a campaign because she wishes for more progress after her tenure is complete.
Scott Ludolph insists recycling in Wheeling is part of that progress. He has made a few headlines in recent months by winning the most-recent “Show of Hands” event, and he has spoken to city officials, too, in an effort to privatize the service in the Friendly City.
Ludolph, though, has not sat idly by awaiting a final answer. Scrappy Pappy’s Recycling was founded by his father nearly 30 years ago in East Wheeling, and in the past few months Ludolph has attracted clients operating local businesses. He also plans to begin residential collection for a small fee around $20 each month.
That’s right. Recycling is not going to be free for Wheeling residents, but Ludolph insists he is developing a plan to make it as easy for us as possible. Our biggest challenge, it is seems, is education. What is recyclable? Will the materials really be recycled? What difference can we make by recycling? All are valid questions with valid answers, Ludolph believes, and he’s willing to speak with anyone at any time to explain the realities involved.
My impression is that Ludolph believes in recycling, and he believes in his community. When you hear him say he thinks Wheeling can become “the greenest city in the state,” he truly believes it because of the support he’s already gained from establishments like Avenue Eats and others.
Eric Burkle is another local resident who believes in the community, especially his native South Wheeling. He was an Indian when playing Little League baseball, attended the public schools in that section of the Friendly City, and is a proud graduate of both Wheeling Park High and West Liberty University.
Today, he is in his third year serving as the Hilltoppers’ head baseball coach. He was a player and then an assistant under the legendary Bo McConnaghy before taking over the reins of a very successful program, and he has expanded the system to include something of a minor-league system on the hilltop. The development has permitted more than 40 young mean to be involved with ’Topper baseball instead of 20.
But Burkle has expanded something else, too, with his team members at West Liberty University. You see, Burkle wants his team to win, but not just baseball games. He wants them to be successful, as student-athletes, yes, but also as human beings. That’s why, when offered the chance for him, his coaching staff, and his players to perform community service, he jumped at the chance.
Burkle has led his squad to South Wheeling on several occasions to volunteer for local organizations like Habitat for Humanity, and members of his ballclub often serve as “buddies” for the special-needs athletes performing during games for the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley.
And he wants to do even more.
Delbrugge, Ludolph, and Burkle are great examples of good people doing good things for our community. Delbrugge decided to do something because she was exhausted from feeling helpless. Ludolph is doing something because his father believed it could work to help form a better Wheeling. Burkle has followed his passions both for baseball and for South Wheeling to do something not many local coaches have accomplished, and that is teaching the young people he leads that there is more to life than what takes place during a practice or a game.
What these people are doing, though, is far more than just something, and that’s because their respective efforts have had positive impacts on more than just themselves. Each one of them now believe in what they are doing because they can see the differences they have made on the lives they’ve touched, but they didn’t have proof that they would witness anything positive when they were first getting started. Instead, they had faith not only in themselves, but also in the people they wanted to help the most.
They know our community — the good and the bad. All these folks have tried to do is to be part of the solution instead of a part of the problem.