George B. Hines
Hines has led beautification and other efforts
NEW CUMBERLAND — New Cumberland native George Hines said though the town isn’t the most populated or prosperous community in the Ohio Valley, residents can take pride in its appearance.
And Hines has been working for many years to beautify the city and bring attention to its history, a job he hastens to note has involved many volunteers and financial supporters.
“Really the whole community has been very supportive of me,” said Hines,who followed a 33-year career at Weirton Steel first with a job overseeing criminal offenders sentenced to community service and finally, another as community projects director for New Cumberland.
While serving in that capacity and as president of the New Cumberland Garden Club, two of several hats he’s worn over the years, he’s launched and overseen projects ranging from the establishment of markers acknowledging the sacrifices of local veterans and their families to the creation of picnic sites at local parks.
Fellow resident Pam Rowland, who nominated Hines for the Community Star award, noted he can be seen regularly planting and maintaining flowers along several areas of state Route 2.
She noted he also worked with others to establish three Book Nooks, kiosks containing free books that residents may take while being encouraged to replace with others.
Hines said Ethan Hurl, a student at the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center, built the boxes using materials supplied by the garden club, and he painted them.
He noted the club was formed to pursue the establishment in New Cumberland of a Blue Star marker, one of hundreds along U.S. highways acknowledging the service of serviceman and women in wars.
To save the group a fee for transporting the sign, he traveled with his wife, Milli, to its manufacturer in Marietta and delivered it home to New Cumberland.
It was installed in 2018 and followed last year by the addition of a Gold Star marker, recognizing the sacrifices of families of veterans who died while serving.
Hines also was involved in refurbishing the Blue Star marker on Three Springs Drive in Weirton, offering to assist after noticing the sign needed repairs and re-painting.
Though the warranty on the sign had expired, the same Marietta manufacturer agreed to fix it at no cost, and Hines again arranged to pick it up.
“They know me by my first name there,” he said.
Hines noted the Tri-State Young Marines were recruited to remove and re-install it.
New Cumberland’s markers can be found at a park that Hines sheepishly admits was named for him.
Visitors to it will find a gazebo, picnic tables and barbecue grills purchased with local funds and state grants he secured as well as several flagpoles installed by volunteers.
Hines noted the garden club also was behind many of the historical markers placed at New Cumberland’s Pride Park and elsewhere in town.
And though it’s outside the city, a sign marking the site of the Peter Tarr Furnace, the first blast furnace to be built west of the Alleghenies and a supplier of cannonballs for the War of 1812, also has been adopted by the group.
Located along state Route 2, Pride Park also is the location of a clock for which Hines raised $13,000. He said he got the idea for it after seeing one in Cincinnati, where his son lives.
“I got donations from $5 to $500,” he said of the 2007 project.
Hines also has coordinated community cleanups under the Keep America Beautiful program, while working at Weirton Steel, and the West Virginia Make It Shine program, from which the city has received several awards and a $500 prize for future beautification projects.
Hines also has served on the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority and with help from Milli, established a paper recycling program at Oak Glen High School; and the board for Swaney Memorial Library, where he arranged for many high school class photos to be transferred to the City Building.
The photos and others from New Cumberland’s history fill halls in the building, and Hines has plans to honor local veterans in another hallway.
Last year after learning of wreaths being placed on the graves of veterans through the Wreaths Across America program, he arranged for New Cumberland to take part, with a portion of proceeds going to the Tri-State Young Marines.
Asked what has motivated him to undertake so many projects, Hines said, “I’ve always felt no matter what community you’re in, you should give back. Leave your mark, leave your legacy.”
He added he also finds much of it fun.
“Some guys fish, some bowl and do other things. I like landscaping. It’s just something I really enjoy.”
Hines reiterated that none of the projects would have been completed if not for many fellow residents who contributed labor and money.
“The volunteers have been great for me,” he said, adding, “Really many people in New Cumberland could be Community Stars. I just happened to be nominated.”
Hines has chosen for a donation in his name to be made to the New Cumberland Food Closet.