ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County NAACP will honor and host three community members “power couple” from speakers during this year’s Freedom Fund Dinner at 6:00 p.m. on October 1 at the Belmont Hills Country Club.
Social hour begins at 5 p.m
Belmont County NAACP President Jerry Moore II said the awards will go to Abbey Maroon, who is expected to attend, and posthumously to the late Dr. John Mattox and the late Penelton “Tobay” Clear.
“The only living recipient of our awards this year would be Mr. Abbey Maroon. Because we’ve been away for so long, we felt we had to go back and honor some of the people who walked by because there wasn’t an NAACP.” Moore said, adding that the recipients have excelled in their respective areas of leadership, dedication, service and loyalty to the community.
Mattox of Flushing died on July 17, 2019 at the age of 84. He was curator of the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, which he founded with his late wife, Rosalind. He was passionate about sharing his love of American history. He has also served on the boards of the Sargus Juvenile Detention Center, Ohio University Eastern, Harrison Community Hospital, A Special Wish Foundation and the Belmont Correctional Institution Reentry Coalition. He also worked closely with the Ohio National Road Association, Friends of Freedom Society Inc., Zion Retreat, Belmont County Tourism Office, and numerous other organizations.
He served in the US Air Force from 1959 to 1962 and was commander of the Flushing American Legion for many years.
Clark served as Belmont County NAACP Vice President in the 1990s and helped ensure that Belmont County citizens were treated fairly and strived for equality and social justice. Originally from the Garfield area of Pittsburgh, he moved to Bridgeport after returning from the Korean War. He served as a policeman for the village and eventually moved to Bellaire.
He also worked with Belmont County Children Services, volunteering his time to foster safe environments for underprivileged children. Moore noted that Clark spent most of his life protecting and supporting the needs of others.
“He would be very proud to be recognized for all his hard work. He would be even happier that the local chapter of the NAACP that he co-founded and worked for all those years ago is restored and supporting the community.” Moore said via email.
Originally from Bridgeport and now based in St. Clairsville, Maroon has six decades of business development, management and entertainment operations experience. Some of his ventures include Jolly Roger Night Club, The Roof Garden, The Alamo, Merrymint Lounge, Tom’s Night Club, Abbey’s Lounge and his current business, Abbey’s Restaurant and Lounge on Wheeling Island. Moore noted that Maroon has a long list of regulars who have followed him from store to store.
Additionally, Maroon is a philanthropist, frequently donating food from his restaurant to local organizations, clothing to families in need, and monetary donations to organizations helping people around the world. He served in the US Coast Guard Reserves for eight years.
Moore said the NAACP is also honored to have Cl-ment A. Akassi, a professor at Howard University in Washington, DC, and Monique L. Akassi, the DEI director and strategy coordinator at West Liberty University, as guest speakers .
“We have two dynamic speakers who are a powerful couple and this is the first time I’ve seen something like this where a man and a woman were so educated, so exemplary and so outstanding, and they’re willing to do it at the same time speak”, Moore said, adding that both are world-renowned speakers who have taught abroad in places like Spain and Brazil.
Moore said the NAACP has been active and there are many plans for the future.
“We still have a lot ahead of us for the future,” he said.
On October 6 at 6:00 p.m., the NACCP will host a “Meet the Candidates” event at the JB Martin Rec Center in St. Clairsville, to which all candidates in the area are invited.
“We have several other events in the near future. A couple trying to bring the community together and emphasize community unity.” he said. “We welcome everyone”