Project BEST Breakfast Draws Crowd And Has A Serious Message - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Project BEST Breakfast Draws Crowd And Has A Serious Message

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Some strong messages were delivered as part of this year's Project BEST Breakfast at Oglebay Park.

The 26th annual event drew more than 400 people to Glessner Auditorium, from politicians to clergy to law enforcement.

The event honoring the local construction trades is legendary for its huge turnout, witty speeches and hearty breakfast.

But this year it was laced with a fierce message.

"The message is that our customers of construction services, the people who own the projects, we want them to get local contractors employing local building trades craftsmen and apprentices," said Tom Cerra, co-chair of Project BEST. "And if it's drilling out of the ground, it's our ground, so it should be our local people doing the work."

Orphy Klempa, the other Project BEST co-chair who is also an Ohio County commissioner-elect, said there is always such an emphasis on college education and getting a professional degree.

But he says there is also another viable choice for young people.

"There's a huge opportunity in the construction industry right now for people that don't mind working hard, don't mind working in the elements, don't mind getting their hands dirty, to enter the construction fields," said Klempa. "These are good paying jobs with health care, pensions, annuities, everything that you want in life. There's a huge opportunity now."

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, fresh from the" fiscal cliff" fight in Washington, says Washington could learn something from Project BEST.

"If you look at what Project BEST does right here in the Ohio Valley, basically bringing people together, finishing projects on time and within a budget, and working together for the betterment of the community, we could use an awful lot more of Project BEST in Washington," said Manchin.

As always, they honored companies, colleges, hotels, banks and churches for their use of local labor in recent construction and renovation work.