Mary Lou Trump honored for her service to the community

September 16, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. High recognition was given to local resident Mary Lou Trump at the courthouse groundbreaking ceremony last week, and she was completely surprised.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin awarded Trump the Order of the 35th Star in recognition for her outstanding community service in Berkeley Springs.

"I felt like an Olympian," Trump said when Gov. Manchin placed the blue and gold ribbon around her neck with the medallion of the West Virginia seal.

"And those rascals all knew of it," Trump said, referring to her family members who knew she was to be honored and kept the secret.


Trump said she almost did not come to the groundbreaking because of rain and the conflict with a grandchild's game, but decided to attend when the game ended up being cancelled.

Trump, who was born in 1932 in Connecticut, came to Berkeley Springs to work in the late 1950s.

She was a nurse anesthetist who received training in Philadelphia and was working in Wilmington, Del., when she saw a flier about a nurse anesthetist and director of nursing needed at War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs.

She and a girlfriend interviewed, but her girlfriend thought the area was too rural. Trump said it was just what she was looking for. She wanted to get out of the cities.

She was in her 20s when she was hired for both jobs as the nurse anesthetist and the nursing director.

She lived at the nursing home at the hospital and met Sam Trump in March 1959 through his father, an attorney who was the hospital's advisor. She and Sam were married in August, she said.

She loved it here and loved the people. She wanted a place to raise a family. Over the years, many visitors to the area became friends, including Sam Ashelman, who opened Coolfont Resort.

Mary Lou and Sam raised three children, all born close together, she said. Charles is an attorney and former member of the state Legislature; Conrad and Kirsten are both educators in Winchester, Va. He is a unit director at Timber Ridge School and Kirsten teaches voice and speech at Shenandoah University.

Community service

Serving the community has been part of their lives, Trump said.

"Small-town service is important," she said. "So much is done by volunteers."

When the kids were band members, she was part of the band boosters that raised funds for what was needed.

"I had a lot of fun doing it," she said.

Former Del. Charles Trump said both parents instilled an interest in serving.

"Actually, it was my mom and my dad both who taught by example the importance in being involved in the community. Like many others in Morgan County, she was involved throughout my life in many important community service projects, and she still is," he said.

Mary Lou Trump said her husband served as the town mayor in the 1960s. He was the county prosecuting attorney from 1972 to 1980, and both her father-in-law and her husband were members of the county's Economic Development Authority.

She has served on the Economic Development Authority for the past 10 years, and it's important to her. She said more job opportunities need to be created in Morgan County to keep people working in the county.

"Unless it's a family business, they take our kids as fast as they can. We have to have jobs here," Trump said.

She is a board member of the Berkeley Springs Park Foundation, a member of the Foxglove Garden Club, the Morgan County Public Library and other community organizations.

Library work

As a member of the Berkeley Springs Women's Club for 49 years, she said, which is part of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, it was instrumental in getting a Berkeley Springs library on Fairfax Street in the early 1960s.

"It was all done by donations," Trump said.

When the plan for the new library was in the works in 1997, Trump was a volunteer and headed up the committee to contact all Morgan County property owners for a donation to fund the library.

Trump wrote the letter and about 17,000 letters were sent. "It was a major effort and so many people helped us. I'm very proud of that," she said.

In two weeks after the request was made, about $70,000 in donations came in, she said.

"People who did not live here full time knew the value of a public library in Morgan County," she said, "and were very generous."

Trump said she was president of the local Democratic women's organization when it was it was an active organization.

Morgan County Commissioner Brenda J. Hutchinson said she met Trump through activities in the local Democratic association.

"She was one of the moving forces in the Democratic Association's women's group. Hearing her stories of how strong the women in the Democratic association used to be inspired a lot of us to consider another Democratic women's group," Hutchinson said.

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