Givens looks back on 26 years of service

WELLSBURG – Monday marked the end of Roy E. Givens’ 26th year in the state House of Delegates, making the Brooke County legislator its second longest-serving member.

But Givens, who also served for 10 years on the Brooke County Board of Education and three years as a volunteer project coordinator for the Brooke County Commission, said he hopes to remain involved in the community in some capacity.

Givens was presented a pin by House of Delegates Clerk Gregory Gray in recognition of his 26 years of service, during which he represented Brooke County and, depending on the current districting, parts of Hancock and Ohio counties.

First elected in 1978, he recalled serving under seven governors, from Jay Rockefeller to Earl Ray Tomblin; and with five House speakers and many fellow representatives of the Northern Panhandle.

Givens said in addition to serving with former Delegate and current Brooke County Commissioner Tim Ennis for many years, he also worked closely with former Delegates Bernard Kelly and Pam Shuman.

An Army medic in the Korean War and recipient of the Combat Medical Badge and Korean Service Medal, Givens made aiding and recognizing veterans of all ages a priority.

His first piece of legislation was providing free license plates for West Virginia veterans who were prisoners of war and he pushed for the POW-MIA flag to be flown at the State Capitol.

As chairman of the House committee on veterans affairs, he secured funds and authorization to build the state’s first veterans nursing home in Clarksburg and with state Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, worked for the establishment of the West Virginia Woman Veterans Memorial.

Dedicated last year, the monument is an 8 foot tall bronze statue of a female soldier dressed in fatigues reminiscent of Operation Desert Storm and is at eye level with the male statues of the West Virginia Veterans Memorial at the State Capitol Complex.

Givens also supported many projects and causes at home, securing $450,000 for the new wing of the Brooke County Public Library and multiple grants for the Brooke County Pioneer Trail as well as state funds for the Brooke County 4-H camp, Brooke County Senior Center, local police and fire departments and others.

While between terms in the House, Givens volunteered as a project coordinator for the Brooke County Commission for four years. The county commissioners then credited him with playing a key role in the transfer of buildings and property donated by the Windsor Coal Co. and now used for the county’s new animal shelter, emergency management agency and solid waste authority recycling program.

He also secured grants to replace the courthouse roof and boilers and served as local coordinator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Buyout program, through which eligible victims of the 2004 flood received money to relocate from flood-prone areas.

In the first several months of his 10 years on the Brooke County school board, he was among board members who oversaw the completion of Brooke High School.

“I was involved in a lot of change orders and stuff like that,” he said.

In addition to many legislative committees, Givens has served on the Committee for Employer Support of the West Virginia Guard and Reserve, an organization that encourages fair treatment of employees who serve the military part-time; Brooke County Commission on Aging, which oversees the county’s senior center; and boards for the Brooke County West Virginia University Extension Service, Greater Weirton Junior Achievement, Greater Steubenville Area Chamber of Commerce and others.

Because he was undergoing kidney dialysis, Givens opted not to seek re-election when the Second Delegate District was reduced from two seats to one through re-districting last year.

But he said, “I am not ready to retire. I hope my experiences and capabilities can be of use as I look forward to wherever the future may take me and to whatever it may hold.”

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