By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The region’s veterans and the people who work to improve Princeton’s economy and quality of life were recognized Thursday during the annual Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce banquet.
Dreama Denver, widow of actor Bob Denver, president of the Denver Foundation and owner of Little Buddy Radio, focused her keynote address on a program she co-founded, the West Virginia Always Free Honor Flight. The program takes veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and other conflicts on a free trip to Washington, D.C. so they can visit the nation’s war memorials. For many of them, it’s their first trip to these monuments.
“When you see these men on these trips, your heart fills to the brim because it means so much to them,” she told the audience at the Chuck Mathena Center. Before the evening’s ceremonies, Denver said that another bus trip, the third one for the program, is scheduled for May 15 of this year.
“We are the one and only flight in West Virginia,” she said. The foundation is also starting work on a Walk of Honor at the Memorial Building in Princeton. For $50, a brick honoring a veteran can be purchased for display at the memorial. Proceeds will benefit the honor flight program.
Denver also spoke of recent Denver Foundation projects that benefit families with special needs. The Princeton Senior High Key Club recently raised more than $700 to purchase iPads for autistic young people so they can communicate with their families.
The chamber later honored individuals and businesses in the community for their work. Sharon Boggess of Princeton was named the chamber’s Volunteer of the Year for 2013.
Robert Farley, the chamber’s president and CEO, was named 2013’s Citizen of the Year.
This year’s recipient of the chamber’s ExCEL (Excellence in Community and Economic Leadership) award was presented to Princeton Health Care Center. Roger Topping, the center’s director, accepted the award on behalf of the center.
— Contact Greg Jordan at