Lewis County native Robert Mitchell and his wife, Betty Mitchell, have been honored for their volunteer service with the Jefferson Award, presented by Antero Resources.
The Mitchell’s were nominated for the award by their church, Oil Creek United Methodist Church. Oil Creek UMC sponsors a Food Bank, which is where the Mitchell’s do most of their work. The food bank has been in operation since around 2011.
Mitchell said that in 2017, the food bank served 804 households, 2,065 people, and 43,524 pounds of food.
“It helps a lot of people. That’s what it’s all about,” Robert Mitchell said.
The food bank draws citizens from Lewis, Braxton, and sometimes Upshur counties.
Robert Mitchell and Oil Creek UMC are also involved with Our Neighbor in Weston. Two members of the church volunteer there on Thursdays, and Robert Mitchell serves as president of the Board of Directors for Our Neighbor.
Mitchell has personally been involved with Our Neighbor since it was located across from the former A&P on 1st Street.
Our Neighbor brings in over $500 some days, but Robert Mitchell said he recalls $50 and $60 days being a big deal in the past.
Robert Mitchell coordinates the donation buckets for the Salvation Army at Walmart, as well. He has overseen that part of the donation drive since taking over for Russell Furr roughly six years ago.
This year’s unofficial total for collections was approximately $15,000. That money stays right here in Lewis County, Robert Mitchell said. The money helps pay for electric gas, home repairs for citizens, medicines, rent, and maintenance. The biggest expense is getting rid of trash, Robert Mitchell stated.
He was born and raised in Lewis County. He still lives on the land where he was born. Mitchell said the only time he and his wife left Lewis County was when they moved to Akron, Ohio.
“We moved to Akron for about five years, didn’t like it, and came back,” he said.
Robert Mitchell and his wife have two children, Robert and Julie, and six grandchildren.