Christian Soldiers distribute $45,000

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – While it’s not quite the holiday season, one Ohio Valley organization was in the giving mood Monday afternoon at Belmont Hills Country Club.

The Ohio Valley Christian Soldiers is a charitable group that was formed in 2005 in order to assist local groups who may need assistance.

A total of $45,000 in checks was presented Monday to representatives of 28 worthwhile organizations.

“It’s been great … like we’ve had divine intervention,” OVCS founder Bob Whiteside said. “Things have really been bright for us, and on the upside.”

With Monday’s check presentation, the OVCS have given out nearly $500,000 in its nine years of existence, something that has left Whiteside and other OVCS members nearly speechless.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Whiteside said about the success. “I thought I was the only one that thought like that, but then I started asking people and everyone said that’s a good idea, let’s do it. So, we did and here we are.”

OVCS president James E. Carnes said, “the Ohio Valley Christian Soldiers’ goal is to raise money in Christ’s name and give that money to charities and other organizations that would use these funds wisely to put food on tables, purchase cribs or diapers for infants, medicine for children and provide shelter for families in need.

“It’s unbelievable,” Carnes said of the amount given out thus far. “The thought that Bob Whiteside had nine years ago, and how he put everything together and what we’ve accomplished in those years. Almost a half-a-million dollars and not one penny taken off the top. It’s an amazing thing. It really is. The criteria is very strict to receive funding.

“Our organization is prepared to accept and will intensely review any request for funds,” Carnes continued. “We want to also remind any business or person who would want to donate or join forces with the ‘Soldiers’ to contact us.”

He stressed that the OVCS is a Section 501 (C) 3 corporation and contributions will be tax deductible, according to state and federal law.

Receiving funds Monday were the Adena Food Pantry, A Special Wish Foundation, Belmont County Salvation Army, Bridgeport Friendship COC (Food Pantry) and (Children’s Christmas), Bellaire First United Methodist Church (Children’s Christmas), Bridgeport Schools (Secret Santa), Catholic Neighborhood Center, CAC Teen Leadership, Coast Closet for Belmont County, Coats for Kids Campaign (WTOV-9), House of the Carpenter, Lace Up for Kids, Miracle of Life, Martins Ferry Food Pantry, Mel Blount Youth Home, Project Manna Food Pantry, Salvation Army of Wheeling, St. Clairsville Council of Churches, The Experience Feed the City, Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling, Shadyside COC Food Pantry, Tri-County Help Center, Warwood United Methodist Church (Good Samaritan Fund), Wheeling Health Rite, Young Life Ohio Valley East and the Barnesville Area Five Loaves Food Ministry.

Master of ceremonies Judge Frank Fregiato told those in attendance that the OVCS has surpassed the 100-member mark and is still growing.

“We’re proud of that and we’re coming on strong,” he said.

The monies that were distributed have been generated throughout the year through various fundraising activities, such as the Jeffrey Showalter Celebrity Golf Classic, Outback Divine Dinner Down Under, Knights of Columbus lottery ticket campaign; and donations from corporations, individuals, or other entities that support the cause of the OVCS.

Current OVCS board members/officers are, in addition to Carnes, Ted Showalter, vice-president; Lou Costanzo, treasurer; Cheryl Schellenburg, secretary; White, past president; J. David Diosi, past president; Harry White, past president; Jerry Mountain; David Jones; Frankie Carnes; Richard Steele; Philip Kress; Kellie Conway; J. Mark Costine; Michael J. Smith; Denny Hudson; Randy Bernard (Emeritus) and James Magro (Emeritus).

To donate, inquire about membership, or to sponsor upcoming fundraising events held by the OVCS, call (740) 699-2468.

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