Local candidate donates plaques to first responders across Mercer County

MERCER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – A candidate for local office decided that on this anniversary of the tragic events on 9/11, he would go around Mercer County thanking first responders for their service.

Ronnie Oakley is a candidate for Mercer County Commission, but he’s also a retired fireman. He and his wife designed hand-made plaques to give to every first responding agency in the entire county. 

“Me and my wife, we own a internet woodworking business. We thought it’d be nice since most of everything’s kind of shut down, no memorial ceremonies for 9/11, we thought it’d be nice to make some plaques up for all the first responders.  The fire departments, volunteer fire departments, police departments,” Oakley said.

He says making the plaques has been a lengthy but rewarding process. It’s taken them the better part of a week to get all of them made. There are 19 in total, one for every fire and police department, rescue squad, and one for the 911 agency. 

“We made them from rough cut lumber. And then we cut them and had them designed. And the lady that works for her helped paint them on there. It was an all-day effort yesterday. We started probably a couple days ago, and then yesterday started painting them and getting the designs put on there.”

Oakley was a fireman for 20 years when he lived in North Carolina. He says he personally knows that first responders need to be taken care of and appreciated by their communities. 

“We definitely need to make sure that law enforcement and fire is taken care of. Make sure that they’re looked after and not forgotten about. And do what we can in the near future and get them what they need.”