W.Va. man making it his business to email upcoming events

October 14, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Curt Mason of Summit Point, W.Va., uses his computer to send emails to about 1,100 people about upcoming events in the Eastern Panhandle, Washington County and the Winchester, Va., area.
Photo by Richard F. Belisle

SUMMIT POINT, W.Va. — Once, twice, sometimes three times a day, 1,100 people in the Eastern Panhandle and beyond check their emails and find one from

The owner of that address is Curt Mason, a retired federal government oceanographer from Summit Point.

Mason, 72, spends 10 hours a week or more sending announcements to those on his extensive and constantly growing email list about upcoming events in the Eastern Panhandle, Washington County and the Winchester, Va., area.

A fundraiser, public dinner, theatrical event, speaking engagement, lecture, cultural or musical program, book signing, poetry reading — any kind of honest public event — can make Mason’s email list.

“I started this by sending out emails and making posters for the Jefferson County Historical Society and South Jefferson Public Library about six years ago,” he said. “I saw there was a void in the community for information that promotes history, art, music, theater, so I started to push it out by email.”

He’s active in the Historic Shepherdstown Commission, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia and the Happy Retreat preservation effort, promotes events for the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and joined the Shepherdstown Rotary Club. All of that involvement makes his email list sizable.

Mason is learning that many recipients resend his emails to other people, which also widens his reach.

“I’m getting feedback well above my own 1,100 members,” Mason said. “This has a life of its own and it’s growing. I’m adding new names every day. People say I’m performing a good public service.”

He said the overarching reason he spends so much of his retirement in this volunteer effort is to give something back to the community.

“I had a very successful and rewarding career as an oceanographer, and was so lucky to have had such a good job,” he said. “I felt I had an obligation to pay back by promoting art, culture, music and history in the area.”

Mason hopes to recruit others to augment his work by setting up promotional email programs of their own.

“I want to build in continuity,” he said.

Fifteen years ago, Mason and his wife, Suzette Kimball, bought White House Farm, a 60-acre spread anchored by an 1842 stone farmhouse and barn on Summit Point Road.

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