Howard and Clara McClure of Smithfield know what it means to be a neighbor. This couple has spent many years giving back to their small community. The McClures were nominated by fellow Eastern Star member Diane Phillips because they are giving and loving people.
"If someone needs something in the community, they take it to heart," said Phillips.
"We have friends and neighbors. You have to take care of them," said Howard, who retired from Weirton Steel and for 20 years did hot water tank installation and repairs for AEP, sort of like his own business. "We do have our friends and neighbors, that the biggest thing about it, if you have your friends, that you try to help them help as much as you can."
Clara and Howard McClure are March’s “Hey!?That’s my Neighbor” honorees. They were nominated by Diane Phillips because they are “giving and loving people.”
Howard does not feel that he is obligated to help those in his community, but does it because he wants to. He is considered the community handyman, often times called on day and night by neighbors and friends to fix their washers and dryers, along with other odds and ends such as plumbing and electrical issues.
"(I do it) because I want to, because when I help them out, there is always a wanting hand willing to help me back if I need anything," said Howard. "You deal locally with your local merchants as much as you can possibly do. Our town is kind of drying up, getting smaller."
Smithfield has become a community for retired steelworkers and power plant employees.
Both Howard and Clara are heavily involved in the Masonic Temple and the Christian Church. Howard has been a member of the Masonic Temple for 46 years, serving in many different positions, which includes being one of the past masters of Smithfield Lodge 182. Currently, he serves as the treasurer.
The McClures are a part of several organizations that are linked to the Masonic Lodge, such as the Order of the Eastern Star and the Social Order for the Rosette. Both have served as the worthy matron and worthy patron of the Eastern Star several times, 16 times for Howard and eight times for Clara.
Clara often times makes dinner for funerals and memorials. Currently, she is planning on making 300 box lunches for the Masonic Temple.
Howard is heavily involved in the Smithfield historical society, where he collects old pictures and posts them in several different locations.
"We have pictures posted at the historical society, and we have them at Rick Pastory Service Station and we have them at Smithfield Hardware from the late 1800s and on," said Howard. "I think the historical society is trying to maybe put out a booklet (of photos). We are constantly looking for old pictures from any source we can get."
Howard and Clara have been married nearly 54 years. Together they have four children, 18 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. They met when they went to school and church together. Clara grew up on a farm just outside of the city limits.
They have instilled in their children the same belief of giving back to the community, as one of the their daughters helps out with a local hospice. They always give back, said Clara.
Howard served in the Marine Corps, and was stationed in San Diego, but he wanted to come home even though he had several opportunities to stay in California.
"I would have stayed, I have to admit that," said Clara. "But he wanted to come home."
Howard jokingly comments how it was all his fault they came home, though Clara states that she has never regretted their decision to come home.
Clara is a retired school teacher, spending 21 years working in the Buckeye Local School District teaching fourth, fifth and sixth grade.
"My father (who was a teacher in Jefferson County) influenced me, I think, to become a school teacher. But I decided when I was in the fourth grade, I wanted to become a school teacher. It was just something I wanted to do," said Clara. "I weighed being a nurse and school teacher, and I decided I wanted to get married and have a family, and school teaching would be better than nursing to raise a family."
Much of the lessons of giving back to their community, friends and neighbors came from several sources, including growing up in Smithfield, the Marine Corps and lessons passed down from their families.
"I think our families did influence us a lot. They were good members of the community," said Clara. "They were always giving. It just seems like things like that are either born or instilled into you as you grow up."