BUCKHANNON – The Southern Upshur Business Association is always looking for new members and volunteers, but that search has become more urgent over the last several years as membership continues to dwindle.
But first, what is SUBA anyway?
Glenn Hawkins, current president of SUBA, said the organization is like southern Upshur County’s own Chamber of Commerce.
“SUBA is an offshoot of the Chamber of Commerce from Buckhannon,” Hawkins said. “We work like the chamber, but in the southern part of the county and we try to work with that end of the county.”
Vice President of SUBA Kevin Campbell talked about some of the projects SUBA has been involved in throughout the Rock Cave area.
“SUBA instrumental in bringing in Tri-County Health Care, which is now part of Community Care and it was instrumental in getting a Progressive Bank branch down there,” Campbell said. “Community Care is now the biggest employer in Rock Cave, probably followed by the IGA.”
Hawkins said one of his favorite projects has been Fidler’s Mill.
“I was really proud when we got Fidler’s Mill on the National Historic Register,” Hawkins said.
Campbell explained SUBA legally owns Fidler’s Mill.
“Being responsible for Fidler’s Mill is both a tremendous asset and a tremendous burden,” Campbell said. “SUBA membership right now is aging, and the number of members is dropping and we have all these projects we have going on currently – Fidler’s Mill, the Memorial Wall, Groundhog Festival, Christmas parade – these are all SUBA functions.”
A rededication of the Veterans Memorial Wall is slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the intersection of Route 20 and Route 4 in Rock Cave.
Campbell said he enjoys working with Fidler’s Mill, but they don’t always have the necessary manpower to keep up with necessary maintenance.
“I had Fidler’s Mill open twice this year for photography clubs, one made a nice donation, but I never managed to organize the manpower to get down there and do a thorough cleaning which is needed every spring,” Campbell said. “There are two other projects that need to be done down there – one is to put up a shed that was donated a long time ago and the other thing is we need to build a restroom in the corner somewhere because someone donated a composting toilet but we need to build the stall.”
He said the 2019 Groundhog Festival was the fourth time SUBA had organized the festival.
“The Groundhog Festival has grown dramatically, but Jo Ann (Hawkins) is going to have to slow down like the rest of us eventually and I don’t know who’s going to continue that,” Campbell said. “We do have help from the Wildlife Center and that is a great help.”
He said joining SUBA gives people an opportunity to work within the Rock Cave community.
“Historic preservation is certainly something some people would be interested in and just growing in the community,” Campbell said. “Buckhannon has Create Buckhannon and Festival Fridays, they have Rotary, they have all these other groups that congregate. Rock Cave has a few organizations, but SUBA has been the community organization like its own Chamber of Commerce for a long, long time.”
One project SUBA is working on currently is the Veterans Memorial Wall in Rock Cave and he said that has been ongoing for a number of years.
“We need people to want to care about the community they live in and keep that up,” Campbell said. “There’s that sense of ownership of something in your community. The monument was started many years ago, and when I first came to town, it was brand new.”
He said the wall had started to deteriorate over the years, and that’s why Glenn Hawkins started a campagn to rebuild the wall with all the previous names engraved in granite.
“It would be nice to have some new blood,” Campbell said. “We will continue to work in the community, and we will continue to hope people want to volunteer.”
SUBA meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Banks District Volunteer Fire Department/Rock Cave Civic Center. Dues are $20 and year, and you can join even if you don’t own a business.