New Martinsville Native Bequeaths $50,000 to CCWVa to Aid Poor of Wetzel County

By D.F. Kratzer NEW MARTINSVILLE— Mary Marcella Herrick, a New Martinsville native who passed away May 5, bequeathed $50,000 to the Northern Region of Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) with the express intent of its use to provide assistance to the poor of Wetzel County. Her gift will be known as the Herrick Fund for the Poor of Wetzel County, West Virginia. This “significant” and “generous” donation, said Sister of Charity Mary Louise Lisowski, executive director of CCWVa, will have a large impact on the area. As she understands, “it is going to be set up … so it will keep on giving forever and it will also have an opportunity to continue to grow.” Pamela Billeter, outreach coordinator for CCWVa New Martinsville, said Marcella’s gift is “a wonderful thing” that will help the poor of the area. Leo Herrick, Marcella’s brother, was not surprised by her gift to CCWVa and said she had told him of her intent to make a substantial contribution to the diocese’s charitable outreach organization. Marcella, a parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in New Martinsville, graduated from Magnolia High School in New Martinsville and St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was “very generous in all of her dealing,” giving a great deal to the Church and charitable organizations throughout her life, Leo said. He continued by saying that after working for the FBI in Washington and Mexico, Marcella returned to New Martinsville, where she opened Marcella’s Gifts, a small card and gift store, where she worked very hard for many hours—but never on a Sunday—and cared for the less fortunate of her hometown. “She had a lot of Catholic spirit in her,” Leo said. “She especially wanted to help poor people. … That is what she felt. She wanted to help the poor people of Wetzel County,” evidenced by the way she lived her life and the gifts she left in her death. “We are very happy that she left the money for this reason, rather than going to the general fund,” Leo said. “We are very glad that Catholic Charities are going to work with us on it” and the family would like for it to be a lasting gift, continually benefiting those in need, those Marcella wanted so much to help. The family is working with CCWVa to earmark specific outreach efforts the Herrick Fund will benefit, adhering to Marcella’s wishes, and many decisions about the fund and its use are pending, said Angela Zambito, assistant director of stewardship and development for CCWVa. However, she said that the fund will be established in a way that will aid in its continual growth via interest and supplementary donations from others. The interest accrued by the fund will make Marcella’s gift, and any gifts added to it by others, “more of a longtime gift than giving directly to Catholic Charities,” Zambito said. In addition, Zambito said, the hope is that approximately 20 families will benefit from the fund each year. “I think that would truly help carry out Marcella’s dream,” she said. The close collaboration between the Herrick family and CCWVa is an important part of assuring Marcella’s gift’s longevity and putting the resources to work for the poor of the area, Zambito said. “This fund will help them grow certain service areas. … The fund itself was set up for the poor of Wetzel County, so now we are trying to look at the areas we can actually effect change there and get specific areas that they can work to help.” Leo encouraged others to give to CCWVa because, “if they give to this charity, they can designate where their money goes.” This, he said, ensures that one’s gift is used in the intended manner, serving specific groups or areas. CCWVa New Martinsville provides numerous services, including a food pantry, referral to area services and emergency, utility and prescription assistance. The office also does special projects, such as painting homes and purchasing items for those in need, and coordinates programs with area churches to provide substantial outreach. In 2007, Billeter said, the office served 281 families via its direct services and some of these services will benefit from Marcella’s gift. For more information about CCWVa New Martinsville, contact Billeter at 455-9740 or at Donations to the Herrick Fund for the Poor of Wetzel County, West Virginia, may be sent to the main CCWVa offices at 1218 Eoff Street, Wheeling, WV 26003 and should include “Herrick Fund” in the memo line.