WEIRTON - Family, friends and local residents came to the Knights of Columbus on Sunday to honor those chosen for induction into the Weirton Hall of Fame this year.
Seven individuals were selected to be part of the fourth group of honorees in the Weirton Hall of Fame. They are: Duke Horstemeyer and Gus Monezis in the category of public service; Joseph Krivak and Robert Kelly, sports; Mary Ann Psaros, music and fine arts; Irene Kucan, business; and Dolores Pickens, education.
According to the Weirton Hall of Fame Committee bylaws, all honoree nominations can be individuals with "outstanding" accomplishments, starting with the incorporation of the city of Weirton in 1947, and had to be a resident within the city limits for at least five years.
HALL?OF?FAMERS — On hand for the induction of the Weirton Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012 were, from front left, Bonniegail Coleman on behalf of Irene Kucan, Mary Ann Psaros and Debbie Parkins for Dolores Pickens; and back, Gus Monezis, Bob Kelley, Duke Horstemeyer and Joe Krivak.
Mayor George Kondik welcomed everyone to the ceremony. He thanked residents for coming and those who traveled to see the inductees.
"These people are so special," he said. "We are proud to honor them for their accomplishments as part of Weirton's history."
Frank Bohach, Hall of Fame committee chairman, gave introductions and biographical information before presenting the awards. In addition, he asked for a moment of silence for Bob Rossell, one of the founding members of the city's Hall of Fame committee, who died this past year.
Psaros thanked several individuals, including family members, students and former co-workers. She said it was a great honor to her and perhaps the greatest honor she could receive. She shared stories of her time becoming a music teacher, establishing a choir for Weir Middle School and her time with the Weir Middle School Builders Club.
Horstemeyer, who has volunteered with the Mary H. Weir Library board and the Weirton Kiwanis, among other groups, thanked the nominating committee.
"I would also like to thank my wife," he said. "She has been a great inspiration over the 52 years we've been married and I couldn't have done it without her."
He said it was a great thing for the city to sponsor and shared stories of volunteerism in a number of organizations.
Kelley said being raised in Weirton, he learned the true meaning of loyalty and hard work, which is the true legacy of his family.
Kelley shared football stories from Cove Junior High all the way through his college days.
"When I went southwest to my junior college, it was a hard time because of segregation in those days.
"When I stepped out on the field, my new teammates thought they were going to have a surprise for me and show me how they played football there," he said. "Well, I had a surprise for them because I showed them how we played football in Weirton."
Kelley said being honored in the Weirton Hall of Fame was not only humbling, but filled him with a sense of pride for playing the sports he loved to play.
Weirton Madonna's former football coach Krivak said he was honored to be back in Weirton to receive such recognition. He said throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to teach and coach many students at a time when their young minds need to be shaped to make good decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.
Krivak said it was one of the most productive things he's ever done and he is proud to be a part of it and a part of Weirton. He also extended his congratulations to his fellow inductees.
"This is a perfect example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their service to others," he said.
Bonniegail Coleman accepted the award on behalf of her mother, Irene Kucan. She said her mother was always involved in the community and was very tenacious. She said it was a special day for her and her family to see her mother recognized for all her accomplishments and the work that continues to be done in her name.
Lifelong resident Monezis said he is proud to be from Weirton and thanked the committee for extending the honor to him. He said his mother was a great inspiration to him and how he lives his life today.
"She always told me to help those who weren't as well off as we were and to wear my own shoes, meaning to be my own person and do the best you can with it," he said. "I've tried to follow in those footsteps and I am appreciative and humbled by this experience. Thank you."
Jerry Hamill, a former student of Dolores Pickens, honored her with memories in the classroom and accepted the award on behalf of the Pickens' family. He shared stories of how she impacted her students and his life especially as he said she was a special person in his life.
"She was a great teacher and I'm glad to see her receive this honor," he said.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)