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Rubber ducks race down West Fork for good cause

by Gail Marsh

STAFF WRITER

Like ducks to water, people of all ages came out to enjoy the entertainment and watch the 11th annual Great West Fork River Duck Race on Monday afternoon.

"It's been a day of good food, good bands, a great car show and lots of activities for the children. There were a lot of last-minute duck sales, so we're pleased overall with the event," said Darla Timberlake, who is executive director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Central West Virginia, the United Way group that benefits from the race.

Lots of volunteers were on hand to do face painting and games with the smaller children. Debra Burr, who helped children make necklaces and bracelets, said she's been a big sister since 1976.

"I've always been attached to kids and enjoy being with them. It's a very rewarding thing to do," the Clarksburg resident said.

Burr said she simply called the organization, they interviewed her, and they later matched her with her first little sister, a 12-year-old girl named Donna.

"She was into dance, so I used to go to her recitals with her. We would go to the movies, or just stay home and talk. She had a lot of questions," she said.

Burr has had several other little sisters, including Sammy now, who is 8 years old.

Burr's own daughter, Laholli, 5, said she enjoys having another girl to play with.

"I like her. She comes over and we like to play dress-up," Laholli said, giggling.

Chris Michel, a board member of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, said the organization is always looking for volunteers, including couples, who can give a few hours a week to help a child.

"There's often a long waiting list for boys, so couples are welcome to do this together. We're always looking for someone who wants to be a friend to these children," Michel said.

For more information about Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Central West Virginia, people can contact Timberlake at 623-5437.

The duck race got under way about 1:30 p.m., and eight winning ducks were scooped out of the river a short time later.

The winner of the grand prize, a trip for two to Hawaii or a trip for four to Disney in Orlando, was Doris Jean Crimm of Bridgeport.

Other winners and their prizes included:

Shane Hitt, Buckhannon, a winter weekend getaway for two at The Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs; Michelle Hawkins, Clarksburg, a $1,000 U.S. savings bond; Monica Gorrell, Bridgeport, his and her mountain bikes; Joe Vecchio, Bridgeport, a year's worth of pizza from Pappa Johns; Raetta Wentz, Shinnston, a Nokia cell phone; Jamie Gandee, Clarksburg, a year's worth of oil changes from Pro Service Center, and Natalie LaRosa, Bridgeport, a dozen wrapped carnations once a month for one year from Clarksburg Florist.

Staff writer Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447.

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