SISTERSVILLE - Family, friends and community members gathered Saturday morning at the Sistersville Ferry landing to pay tribute to John Eckels and the late Allan Maxwell as the landing and new boat docks were dedicated in their names.
Eckels was one of the original members of the ferry board, taking the position when the city purchased the boat in 1980. For more than three decades, he has devoted much of his time and energy into ensuring the ferry remains a part of the city's culture.
"It is important for us to appreciate a man who invested energy and time to keeping the ferry in service," said Charles Winslow, president of the ferry board.
Phil Konopacky removes a tarp Saturday from the John Eckels Landing memorial marker as Eckels looks on.
A granite marker was revealed to Eckels, his wife Patricia and his family during the ceremony. The John Eckels Landing stone thanks him for "21 years of community service as President of The Sistersville Ferry Board." Eckels smiled as the tarp was removed from the stone, and said he was honored by the dedication.
"The ferry and the Wells Inn are two of the most important things to this community, and we want to keep them going," he said. "The ferry is also important because ties both sides of the river together."
Also during Saturday's ceremony, new boat docks near the ferry landing were dedicated to Allan Maxwell, who passed away March 7. Maxwell's children and grandchildren were on hand, as were other members of his family, to pay tribute to a man who, much like Eckels, dedicated time and energy for the greater good of the community.
"Both men are prime examples of what it means to be a part of a community," Winslow said. "They stepped up, discussed the work that needed to be done and did it to help the town out."