This holiday season, a Monongalia County realtor was on a mission to make the holidays a little brighter for residents.
For realtor Pat Stewart, showcasing homes in Monongalia County is typically all about business. But this year, a milestone anniversary for Stewart, she decided to do something a little bit different while making a difference in her community.
"This is my 40th anniversary in real estate. I went to the Meals on Wheels luncheon and found out it was their 40th anniversary. So I thought we ought to do something together," said Stewart.
Stewart decided to host the Holiday Home Showcase, a good old-fashioned competition in which residents submitted pictures of their houses, all decked out for Christmas.
"Some of these houses light up the neighborhood," said Stewart.
To judge the competition, she enlisted the help of some familiar faces in the community: Chief Ed Preston of the Morgantown Police Department, community leader Betty Puskar, and architect Larry Martin.
"We patrol these residential areas all the time. This is one of those unique times where instead of going out and looking for somebody doing what they're not supposed to, we're looking for good stuff," said Preston.
I had the privilege of joining them as the fourth judge, so we set out together to find a winner. But it wasn't as easy as we'd thought.
"I like very simple, but a few of them, they did a lot of work on it," said Puskar.
"My criteria was, would my granddaughter get excited if she saw it? If my granddaughter would get excited, I'd get excited," said Preston.
"[I looked for] originality, and in my case, I just like simplicity," said Martin.
Finally, we decided the winners: First place winner Kimberly Maynard of Cheat Lake received a prize of $1,000 from the Clear Mountain Bank.
Second prize went to Kevin and Katrina Schnopp of Elmhurst Street, who won a $500 gift certificate from Chuck's Furniture. The Schnopps also won the "People's Choice Award."
Rick Cartright of Herman Avenue was awarded third place, with prizes from Davis Lynch Glass Company and the Morgantown Mall.
All entry fees submitted by the homeowners will benefit the Morgantown Meals on Wheels.