‘Spirit of Beckley’ honors Richard and Beth Jarrell for years of giving back to community

Being recognized as the 34th recipients of the ‘Spirit of Beckley’ Richard and Beth Jarrell say they are honored, blessed, and grateful.

According to Richard, he never dreamed this big or this far. But to be able to come back and do it in their hometown makes it so special.

To look at the table with the pictures of all the folks who went before them, it’s a very rich legacy… Of those who believe in our community and what it means to give back. The Jarrels want to be that to a new generation.

“We want to teach new young kids who work for us or we work with in the community what philanthropy is about, what community is about and how to serve, as others have taught us,” said Beckley Chick-Fil-As owner/operator Richard Jarrell.

Of Richard and Beth, YMCA’s Jay Rist says they’ve long given of their time and resources to make our area a better place to work, live and play.

“They do so much, whether it’s the work with the Beckley Area Foundation, Raleigh County Board of Education, sponsoring things for the Y, leading the United Way’s campaign, there’s so much that has been done and it’s just a huge list,” said the YMCA of Southern West Virginia CEO.

Rist says the YMCA and Chick-fil-A’s philosophy on giving back and how you affect the community are aligned — the Jarrells are excellent recipients who’ve paid it forward then some. In terms of what they raised for the Y’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

“He and Beth and I kinda looked at each other, we kinda smiled… ‘let’s go get it,'” Rist said. “In all seriousness — I’m happy to announce that we not only met it, we exceeded it. Just letting you guys know, we met our goal of $150,000.”

Spirit of Beckley is the culmination of a lot of hard work by many volunteers and donors. That it’s in its 34th year Rist says shows how our small, tight-knit community always steps up to the plate. Richard and Beth Jarrell are everywhere and embody energy to the nth degree.

“There’s get to’s in life and there’s got to’s… and we get to do what we do together. We get to do life together, we’ve done a family together, and we get to do community together. So that’s what makes it what it’s all about,” said Richard.

The owner/operator says he was once that 11-year-old kid who was taking lessons and going to camps.

“And hanging out at the Y,” the Chick-fil-A CEO said. “I needed that Y to make me the man that I am today. It’s important that we keep that tradition and that opportunity there for these kids.”

When it comes to retirement, Richard says they have a couple of years in them to keep impacting the community… then they want to just enjoy it together.

When people think of Chick-fil-A the cows make them smile.

According to Richard, that’s what he wanted to do at the 2023 ‘Spirit of Beckley’ event — make people smile, laugh, and even cry.


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