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Hundreds gather for breakfast to benefit Martinsburg park

September 06, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • Volunteer servers Drake Marshall, left, and Chandler Marshall take a break to eat breakfast Monday at the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation's annual Labor Day breakfast fundraiser to benefit War Memorial Park in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Dana Brown, Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Close to 500 people gathered for a longstanding Labor Day community breakfast to benefit War Memorial Park in Martinsburg early Monday.

"It's kind of the unofficial end-of-summer event," Parks and Recreation Director Steve Catlett said. "You get a good meal, but you are contributing back to the improvement of the park."

The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Association hoped to raise about $10,000 from the traditional breakfast of grilled steak, country ham, scrambled eggs, toast, juice and coffee. Catlett said the proceeds help fund park operations, upkeep and maintenance.

The nearly 20-acre park offers a swimming pool, six pavilions, several playgrounds, sand volleyball and tennis courts, concession stand, stage and bleachers as well as a granite memorial to all Berkeley County service people killed in action, Catlett said.

"It's the gemstone of our park system."

About 50 volunteers from the War Memorial Park Association and several community service groups helped crack eggs, cook steak and ham, toast sliced bread and serve the meals.

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"We are very fortunate to have all the people who do this for us," Catlett said.

The breakfast tradition started about 60 years ago, and in the early years was served on china, he said.

"That's just not practical anymore," Catlett said. "But we still offer a good steak knife for people."

Volunteers from the Berkeley County Youth Fair kept busy cracking and hand-whipping about 120 dozen eggs.

"It's a lot of fun," volunteer Ginny Butler said. "I get to see a lot of people and crack a lot of eggs."

"We like to help out the park," volunteer Ruth Linton said.

Martinsburg Kiwanis member Joseph Peyton said the club likes to help out every year by cooking up the eggs for the event.

"Our club is all about children, so we do all we can to get out and help the parks and rec," he said.

Drake Marshall, 12, and his sister Chandler, 10, helped serve the early-morning meal, joining their dad, Donn Marshall, who was also doing a little campaigning for election to the state's House of Delegates.

Taking a short break to grab a bite, Drake Marshall declared the breakfast fare was "good, real yummy."

"I like the food," Chandler Marshall said. "And all the people."

Vincent and Martha Miller said they have attended the fundraising event for about 10 years.

Because their family has 63 years of service in the Air Force, the couple said they appreciate the park's memorial to those who have served in the armed forces.

"This is our donation to the park," Vincent Miller said.

"And it's delicious," Martha Miller said.

Catlett said this year's proceeds will go toward building a 20-foot by 24-foot addition to the park's central restroom facility for storage of mowing equipment, chairs and sound equipment, and to replace the building's shingled roof with metal roofing.

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