LOSING SOMEONE is never an easy experience, and the loss is even more devastating when that person is such an altruistic member of a small community. Such is the case with Alva Kinney.
Kinney, who delivered newspapers for both The Times Leader and the Wheeling News-Register/The Intelligencer for 36 years, recently passed away, leaving a big void in the small village of Harrisville.
Kinney was far more than just a newspaper delivery man, however. He was also a member of the Harrisville and Colerain Ruritans, the Lions Club of Adena, the Harrisville Fire Department and the Harrisville Village Council, in addition to being a minister. In short, Kinney was very well-known in the area and did whatever he could to help those around him.
"He was a very fine young man," said Tom Spragg, who served with Kinney in the Harrisville Ruritan. "He was very willing to help anyone - a very good worker. I had a farm for several years. Anytime I needed anything, I could give him a call and he would help."
As part of the Ruritan and village council, Kinney worked hand-in-hand with local officials to bring change and improvements to Harrisville and its surrounding areas. The Colerain Ruritan, for example, has put up road signs on State Route 250, assisted with highway cleanup, contributed to scholarships for local high school students and helped many families-in-need.
The case is the same with the Lions Club of Adena, of which Kinney was also an active member - even serving as its president for some time. The Lions Club is involved in myriad community-centered activities, such as supporting local youth sports and buying eyeglasses for school children and adults who cannot afford them.
Every Tuesday at 7 p.m. since he was 16 years old, Kinney would sound the whistle at the Harrisville Fire Department to test it, but he also did a lot more for the department in the nearly 40 years he was there than many might realize.
"Alva did a lot of behind-the-scenes work with the fire department," said Kipp Bowers, second lieutenant at the department. "He was always there to help set up things for the fish fries and to sweep and mop the floors. He collected donations for the Halloween cake walk and announced the donors. He always did our years-of-service pins for our Christmas dinner. He would go through the records to see who would get a pin and then call the company and order them," Bowers explained.
Members of the fire department get a pin for every five years of service.
In addition to ministering at his own church, Kinney would also fill in at local church services in the area whenever a preacher was unavailable to give a sermon, most recently in Barton and Pleasant Grove. Many individuals who knew him had requested for Kinney to be the one to give the service at their own funerals.
"When he got into preaching, he was very good," Spragg said. "He preached at the presbyterian church in Harrisville and did an excellent job. He always did a great job and had a great message."
"He was a good guy," Bowers said. "I enjoyed being around him. He was just a really friendly face around town. He was always happy. Even if he was having a bad day, he could put a smile on someone's face."
"Everybody appreciated him," Spragg said. "The community and our church will miss him a great deal."
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