Athens-Concord Town Social Announces 2016 Award Recipients

For Immediate Release: 
Aug 10 2016

CONTACT:  Sarah Dalton

Concord University

Office of Advancement

PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712

(304) 384-6312,


After 4 p.m.






ATHENS, W.Va. – Award recipients being honored at the upcoming Athens-Concord Town Social are being announced by the event’s planning committee. The annual social will be held Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the front lawn of Concord University in Athens and features craft and food vendors, informational displays, live musical entertainment and children’s games.

Individuals and businesses that have enhanced the community and campus life of Athens and Concord University are honored each year at the gathering. The Town Social will be presenting the following awards: Total Community Involvement – Amanda Cole; Elder Citizen – Dr. William “Bill” Ofsa; Extra Miler – Sharon Griffee; and Business Longevity – BB&T. Jean Ann White will be honored posthumously with the Elder Citizen Award.

The Athens Lions Club will announce the Citizen of the Year and the Beautification Award recipients at the Town Social. Several scholarships will also be presented to Concord University students.






Amanda Cole is dedicated to community service and offers her assistance and talents to a number of organizations and activities.

Amanda taught at Mercer School in Princeton for three years until her daughter, Maddie, was born. Now she works full-time volunteering.

She has been a Girl Scout leader for three years and is involved with the organization on many levels. Along with working locally with scouting, she helps facilitate regional meetings. Amanda has also been on the Read Aloud Mercer County board for three years. She organizes Read Aloud at Athens School and she also reads to the students herself.

Her service to Athens School extends to leadership roles with the PTO. A past treasurer of the group, she is currently serving as president. Among the important accomplishments of her work with the PTO is helping coordinate the removal of the old buildings from behind the school allowing the playground to be expanded.

She and her family live in Athens.





Bill Ofsa was born on April 21, 1929 in Keystone, W.Va.  He graduated from Elkhorn High School in 1947.  His mother encouraged him to go to college and he moved to Athens to attend Concord College.  His family couldn’t afford to send him to college so he worked his way through by washing dishes.  After trying out different majors, he settled on English and graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education, teaching English and speech.

He continued his education at WVU earning a master’s degree in 1953.  He returned to McDowell County where he taught at Northfork-Elkhorn High School, Elkhorn Junior High and Welch High School.

Ofsa began his teaching career at Concord in 1958 and ten years later he had tenure.  He received a fellowship which allowed him to return to school and earn his doctorate at the University of Illinois in 1975.  He has always loved what he does and has enjoyed working with young people.  He has been Chairman of the Division of Language and Literature and has taught extension courses around southern West Virginia.

He’s known for his Sunday morning basketball games, remembered fondly by many folks who participated over the decades.  He’s also known for his love of jazz and his large collection of jazz tapes.

Doc Ofsa married Barbara Couch in 1952 and they had four children.  He’s presently married to Sharon Cheatwood Ofsa, who has a daughter.  Doc has 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.





Sharon Griffee has lived in Athens 13 1/2 years, moving here on March 26, 2003 after living in Las Cruces, New Mexico for over 40 years. She says she was originally concerned about moving here, but very quickly made friends and got involved in the community.  “Our two daughters and their families, one who lives in Athens, were the reason for the cross country move,” she said.

Sharon started volunteering with the Town Social the first summer she was here after being recruited by Anne O’Sullivan to work with the vendors.  She said this was very helpful in getting to know the community. Sharon continued serving on the Town Social committee and coordinating the vendors for 13 years. She continues to host the breakfast each year for workers and volunteers the morning of the Town Social.

Sharon worked as an elementary school teacher for 27 years, after receiving degrees from the University of Northern Colorado in education and from New Mexico State University as a reading specialist.

Family is the center of her life.  Sharon finds great joy in her five grandchildren, four of whom were educated at Athens Elementary School, and both PikeView Middle and PikeView High schools.  Her daughter Karen Griffee and son-in-law Rod Klein are Concord professors. Sharon’s husband is Galen “Griff” Griffee.

Sharon enjoys spending time with the friends they have made here.  Travel is nearly an obsession for her and she has visited all 50 states and many countries.  She is a member of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Beckley. Sharon says she enjoys helping out worthwhile causes behind the scenes.





While the bank’s name and location have changed several times through the years, BB&T continues to be an important part of the landscape and history of Athens and Concord University.

BB&T’s corporate legacy had its beginnings in 1872, the same year that Concord was established. The local presence of the bank dates back to January 1905 when the Bank of Athens was chartered. In April 1905, the Bank of Athens began operating at the site where the Athens Town Hall is now located.

The main focus of the institution was offering banking services to Athens residents and to individuals in neighboring communities along with area farmers and merchants.

The bank’s second facility in Athens was built across Unity Road from Town Hall at the site where the Shumate Store once stood. This is where the current bank’s parking lot is now located. The second bank location was later demolished.

At an open house on Jan. 25, 1975, the bank’s third and current location officially opened. This event also marked the bank’s 70th anniversary in Athens.

The Bank of Athens became part of Mercer County Bank in 1984, One Valley Bank in 1986 and BB&T in November 2000.





Jean Ann Doyle White was born Dec. 12, 1929 in Pettry, W.Va. She graduated from Athens High School. During her summer high school vacations, she worked at Cole’s Bakery in Bluefield, W.Va., Celanese Corporation in Narrows, Va., and National Electric Coil in Bluefield. Jean Ann then became employed at Maiden Form, Inc., in Princeton, W.Va., for a number of years. While working there, she was elected president of the Ladies Garment Workers Union Local 260 and remained president until her departure.

Jean Ann graduated from Concord College with an Elementary Education major and an English major. She graduated from the WV Graduate College with emphasis on elementary education. She attended Marshall University and received credit for 45 hours in Safety Education.

Jean Ann is listed in two publications of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She began her 35 year teaching career at Memorial Elementary in Bluefield, then transferred to Elgood Elementary and served as teaching principal until the school closed. She spent most of the 35 years teaching at Athens Elementary.

Jean Ann respected each student as an individual and her goal was to motivate and inspire each person to achieve their full potential. She enjoyed her teaching profession and truly loved all of her students. She and her husband Argil White owned and operated a beef cattle farm. They lived on the farm for over 50 years. They were married for 67 years. Jean Ann loved vegetable gardening and reading.

She was a member of the Church of Christ at Pettry for over 70 years and was the oldest attending member of the church. She taught the youth and adult classes for a number of years.

She passed away on July 5, 2016.


Attendees should note that photographs, possibly for publicity purposes, will be taken at the Athens-Concord Town Social.




Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086

if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.