Mayor David McCauley presents Dr. Paul Richter with the Buckhannon Exemplary Service Testimonial award Thursday night.

Paul Richter is always putting his BEST foot forward

BUCKHANNON – Did you know Dr. Paul Richter was among the five original founding members of the Buckhannon River Watershed Association?

Buckhannon City Council and those attending its bimonthly meeting learned as much Thursday evening.

Richter, a professor emeritus of biology at West Virginia Wesleyan College, and four other people co-founded the organization in February 2001.

The organization’s mission is to preserve, conserve and monitor the health of the Buckhannon River Watershed and promote West Virginia heritage through public awareness and education, according to its website.

It was for these efforts and a host of others that Buckhannon mayor David McCauley honored Richter at Thursday’s council meeting as the April recipient of the city’s Buckhannon Exemplary Service Testimonial, or BEST, award, which shines a light on individuals in the community who demonstrate outstanding volunteerism.

In a proclamation declaring Richter the seventh BEST award recipient, McCauley wrote, “During his 18-year association with BRWA, Paul has vigilantly protected our community’s water supply, having spent the past several years administering one of BRWA’s large grants, overseeing six acid mine drainage projects and beginning a seventh totaling $1.7 million.”

But his efforts through the channel of BRWA aren’t the only way in which Richter has worked to better Buckhannon and Upshur County. He’s also been a Meals on Wheels volunteer when the program operated out of First United Methodist Church and assisted in cultivating the Upshur Parish House’s community garden, McCauley noted.

“Dr. Richter has long helped us all in our B-U community to be happier and healthier in countless ways since 1965,” the mayor concluded.

On Oct. 18, 2018, council voted to establish the BEST award in conjunction with the founding of the Buckhannon Volunteer Center to honor Buckhannon-Upshur community residents who engage in extraordinary community service and display a kind and giving spirit of volunteerism.

Richter joins prior recipients Amanda Hayes, Zachary Mutchler, Robin Keough, Shirley Tinney and Bill Nicholson and Dr. Joe Reed in receiving the honor.

A BEST bench bearing placards inscribed with the names of the seven honorees – as well as future ones – will be installed in Jawbone Park.

“May every resident be mindful of community service and giving of one’s self and be inspired to give selflessly for the benefit of others as we pay tribute to the many substantial contributions of our exceptional volunteers, including our seventh BEST honor, Dr. Paul Richter,” the April 18 proclamation reads.

To learn more about the work of the Buckhannon River Watershed Association, visit

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