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Berkeley Springs resident a woman of distinction

October 10, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- If it's October, it's Apple Butter Festival time, and the person who has spent more than 30 years guiding the event was recognized recently as a woman of distinction.

Beth Peters Curtin, executive director of the Berkeley Springs-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, was honored as one of the Shawnee Council Girl Scouts' Women of Distinction.

"The Girl Scout organization made me feel very honored," Curtin said. She said the award luncheon was "very elegant and very well-done. It was wonderful to have tables filled with my friends.

"People have sent letters to me. Their thoughtfulness they expressed made it really special."

Many people associate Curtin with the Apple Butter Festival. This is the 35th year for the event, and Curtin has been the director for 30 years. She was part of the festival before joining the Chamber and taking on festival responsibilities.

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Curtin was honored for her many contributions to the community from the Streetscape committee to beautify the town to the selection of community scholarships for high school graduates.

Star Theatre owner Jeanne Mozier, who nominated Curtin said, "It is hard to imagine even an hour of any day when Beth Curtin is not involved in some way in service to the community she loves -- Berkeley Springs."

Curtin moved to Berkeley Springs from central Pennsylvania when she was 10. Her father was an electrical engineer with Pennsylvania Glass Sand Corp. before it merged with Ottawa Silica and became the U.S. Silica Co.

Seven years before moving to Berkeley Springs, Curtin said she and her mother spent summer vacations at the old Park View Inn. Owner Jennie Harmison sometimes baby-sat. She remembers swimming at the pool and playing on the grounds.

Curtin's mother was a role model as a community volunteer. Curtin said her father traveled a lot with his job and her mother was very active in the community.

"Mother was one of the driving forces to establish the senior center. She was active in the 4-H, the American Red Cross and active in St. Mark's Episcopal Church," Curtin said. "She was an excellent role model in community activities."

Curtin followed her mother and volunteered as a child. Curtin was active in 4-H, attended camp and participated in public speaking competitions. In junior high school, she was a Head Start volunteer during the summers and served as an aide.

In high school, she volunteered at the senior center, was a student council member, sang in the chorus and participated in school plays.

Curtin graduated from Berkeley Springs High School, received bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from West Virginia University and has a bachelor's degree in education and teaching certification from Shepherd University.

Curtin also spent two years in Japan teaching English.

"I learned I was a country girl by being in a large city," she said. "I gained a great appreciation for Berkeley Springs."

When Curtin came home, she began working at Coolfont as a conference planner and continued to be active in the community.

Along with her full-time position as executive director of the Chamber, Curtin and her husband, Dennis, own and operate the Berkeley Springs Antique Mall.

"I love my community and cannot imagine not being involved -- it's a natural thing to become involved," Curtin said.

Curtin is active with St. Mark's Episcopal Church, is a member of the Foxglove Garden Club, has served as secretary of the Economic Development Authority since 1982, is a 4-H Camp Frame Board member and is a founding member of the Museum of the Berkeley Springs, among others.

"I juggle it," she said. "I have a lot of balls in the air."

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