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Town of Bath's Webster named W.Va. Mayor of the Year

August 09, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Town of Bath Mayor Susan J. Webster was named West Virginia Mayor of the Year for 2009-10 by the West Virginia Municipal League.

The Municipal League is an organization that educates, assists and advocates for municipalities in West Virginia, Webster said.

At last week's awards banquet in Wheeling, W.Va., Webster received a standing ovation when she accepted the award, she said.

"If it were not for our success in the Town of Bath, I feel I would not have won," Webster said Monday.

Webster said many people volunteer their time to make Bath a better place by working on committees to improve the town with projects like the "tourist-friendly" streetscape, the restoration of the historic train depot and making Greenway Cemetery self-sufficient.

Bath Town Recorder Irene Hedrick nominated Webster because "she does an excellent job as mayor," she said.

Hedrick is president of the nonprofit Town of Bath Cemetery Management and Maintenance organization that takes care of the town's three historic cemeteries and is run by volunteers.

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Since the organization was formed, Greenway, which is an active cemetery, "pays its own way," she said.

Webster is good at finding volunteers to get a job done, Hedrick said.

Webster was the league's president last year and under her leadership, membership grew from the high 90s to all 232 municipalities. That marks the first time in history that the group has had 100 percent participation across the state, she said.

"We are a networking organization and we lobby the state legislature. We can now say, 'we are all together,'" Webster said.

"We have a 100 percent membership," Municipal League Executive Director Lisa Dooley said.

"I am very proud of that," Webster said.

Webster was one of 13 mayors nominated and was chosen by her peers,she said.

"It was very emotional and very humbling,"Webster said.

The plaque she was awarded reads that Webster was recognized "for your leadership, admirable strength and a genuine commitment to your city."

Webster said she cried when she received the award, as did the "400 other people" who attended.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the house," she said.

She said that her son, Aaron Webster Moss, 19, who died in February, would have been proud.

"He always said I was a good mayor," she said.

Webster said Aaron traveled with her when she attended league meetings and played at her feet when he was little.

"He grew up with us," Dooley said.

She said anytime a conference was scheduled, the league members knew Aaron would be there with Webster.

"Hers is the story that represents the true glory to winning this award by her peers," Dooley said.

"In spite of a tragic year for her, she continued to lead her town and our league's membership," she said.

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