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W.Va. 4-H camp receives $595,000 bequest

June 26, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. -- "There are angels watching over us," Susan Davis said Wednesday night.

And the late Margaret Zinn Dailey is one for the Eastern Panhandle's regional 4-H camp west of Hedgesville.

When Dailey of Charles Town, W.Va., passed away in 2004 at the age of 98, she bequeathed a percent of her estate to Camp Frame 4-H Camp Association.

Davis, the association president, said she never expected to see a check for $595,000.

"Oh my gosh ... ecstasy ... we were just shocked," Davis recalled Wednesday.

Dailey's generosity prompted 4-H leaders to name the girls dormitory at the 35-acre campground "Dailey Cottage" in her honor.

Dailey's grandson, Richard Jenkins, joined 4-H officials for the sign unveiling Wednesday.

"She watched my children grow up and participate in 4-H," Jenkins said of the personal connection that likely led Dailey to make the donation to an "excellent organization."

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Jenkins said his grandmother and her husband, Richard Dailey, owned and operated a farm east of Charles Town near the new St. James Catholic Church off W.Va. 9. Her husband died in the 1970s and she resided with Jenkins for the last eight years of her long life.

"She thought she didn't have a penny to her name," Jenkins said.

He knew otherwise. In addition to Camp Frame, Jenkins said Dailey had proceeds of her estate divided among a number of charitable organizations, including Jefferson County's volunteer fire companies and a youth home in southern West Virginia.

She was a "strong Christian woman," said Jenkins, who attributed Dailey's long life to "good living."

All but $95,000 of Dailey's gift to Camp Frame was used to start an endowment through the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation for the 4-H camp, which serves up to 250 campers from Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, Davis said.

"It has eased our financial situation," Davis said.

And $20,000 in repairs to the campground's leaking swimming pool, along with improvements to the old assembly hall and kitchen were made possible, Davis said.

One of the long-term goals by Camp Frame's board of directors has been increasing the size of the campground to put more distance between it and residential development, Davis said.

"We would just like to provide a larger buffer from the 'real world' as we used to call it," Davis said.

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