Volunteer Wheeling: Making the Friendly City a beautiful city

Wheeling

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – When you see a piece of trash on the road, or overgrown weeds, what do you do?

Stop and pick it up? Think “that’s a shame”? Or “that’s not my problem”?

There’s a group in Wheeling turning what some may deem unsightly, into something the city can be proud of. 

Volunteers are building, painting, picking up trash, planting, weeding and working to turn the Friendly City into a beautiful city.

Sometimes it’s just the accumulation of doing the little things that can really make a difference.

Steve Suhler, Volunteer

A lot of us are Wheelingites and we’re proud of our city and we’re tired of looking at all of the trash and the weeds that accumulate around the city.

Susie Fullerton, Volunteer

Ellen Gano founded “Volunteer Wheeling” several years ago. What started with simple projects grew into about 100 members strong who are putting their free time and talents into five super projects across the city. 

I was looking for something to do. I’m retired and I wanted to put my energies towards something and it actually was kind of hard to find something that would keep me going, so I started this myself.

Ellen Gano, Organizer, Volunteer Wheeling

Major projects include “Come Sit a Spell” which creates Adirondack chairs that will be decorated by artists and placed where people can sit and relax. 

I’ve had a core group of about four or five ladies who have come to help me paint all the chairs for me. We’ve put a coat of prime paint on all the chairs just to give them a blank canvass for the artists then to apply.

Steve Suhler, Volunteer

The idea is that local artists will lend their talents to the blank canvass of the chairs. Then the decorated works of art will be placed around the city.

Volunteer Wheeling is also painting curbs, creating a “pocket park” with Chess tables downtown and planning to turn drab storefronts into eye-catching works of art

Taking empty storefront windows in downtown Wheeling and having groups, organizations or artists take the lead on designing something to put in those empty spaces.

Ellen Gano, Organizer, Volunteer Wheeling

“Everything’s Coming Up Roses” is where volunteers with a green thumb spend their time. 

The group planted 16 planters in Centre Market and another eight in the Elm Grove area.

I’m always going around watering and everyone that sees me says ‘thank you so much for doing that’. Usually when I’m down here I’ll pick up some garbage and pull some weeds as well, so it gives me a good feeling and I think people really do appreciate it.

Susie Fullerton, Volunteer

Volunteer Wheeling has the backing of the City of Wheeling and Wheeling Heritage, but Gano said she wants more members who care about the city they call home. 

I want to get out there and just clean more and get more people doing stuff and really working to get Wheeling a really pretty spot. It deserves it.

Ellen Gano, Organizer, Volunteer Wheeling

Gano was honored with the “Community Spirit Award” at this year’s State of the City, but she said the organization wouldn’t be a success without the volunteer members. 

If you’d like to join in and help out, visit wheelingheritage.org/volunteer or message the Volunteer Wheeling Facebook page.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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