2024 WV Spirit of the Mountains

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

5:30 – 7:30 PM

West Virginia State Capitol – Great Hall

RSVP Information Below


Lewis N. McManus YLA Service Award

The Lewis N. McManus YLA Service Award is presented to a person whose life reflects the values of YLA and Lew’s life. The recipient of this annual award demonstrates a life-long commitment to helping others, hard work, responsible citizenship and building better futures for all, especially youth.

The award presentation is the highlight of an annual fund-raising campaign to support the Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association’s Youth in Government program in West Virginia. Our other programs are local YLA chapters in schools and communities across the state, YLA Model United Nation and YLA Camp Horseshoe.

Our 2024 Honoree: George Manahan

The West Virginia Youth in Government Committee is proud to announce George Manahan as the 2024 recipient of the Lewis N. McManus YLA Service Award. 

George grew up in Morristown, New Jersey and came to West Virginia in 1979 to attend Bethany College. He is the CEO and founder of The Manahan Group, an issue-oriented public relations advertising and digital marketing agency in Charleston, West Virginia. The Manahan Group’s statement is ~ do good work, make money, have fun, and give back. George lives by those principles in his life and business.

Giving back has been a huge part of George’s life. George exemplifies the virtues the Lewis N. McManus YLA Service Award stands for. Not only does George support the youth of West Virginia as a mentor with students at the University of Charleston and Bethany College but after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, George helped organize the West Virginia Parkinson’s community along with the West Virginia Fox Trot Race for Parkinson’s Research.

In 2023, George was honored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research as its first recipient of the Hero of Advocacy Award in recognition of his steadfast dedication to advance new treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. Dedicated to serving others, he has served on many boards of directors including the Capitol Market, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic and the American Lung Association of West Virginia. George has also served as the small business chairman of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and help coordinate Leadership West Virginia’s Choose West Virginia campaign as a member of the Class of 2018.

As a great supporter of West Virginia, we are honored to recognize George Manahan and ask you to join with us in honoring his legacy.

Past Recipients

2023 Justice Thomas E. McHugh

2022 Roger Hanshaw, WV Speaker of the House

2018 Dr. E. Gordon Gee

2017 Brad D. & Alys Smith (Intuit)

2016 Governor Earl Ray & First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin

2015 Major General James A. Hoyer

2014 Sylvia Mathews Burwell

2013 Gaston Caperton

2012 David King

2011 James H. “Buck” Harless

2010 Gayle C. Manchin

2009 Bill Raney

2008 John D. Rockefeller, IV

2007 David and Susan Hardesty

2006 Edward H. Maier

2005 Cecil H. Underwood

2004 Jessica Lynch

About Lewis N. McManus

Lew began volunteering with HI-Y and the Ohio-West Virginia YMCA (now known as YLA and the Ohio- West Virginia Youth Leadership Association) in 1964 when he first entered the House of Delegates. Lew stepped forward to help Hi-Y members participating in this new HI-Y Youth in Government citizenship education program for high school students just launched by Governor Cecil H. Underwood in 1958.

From that year on, Lew was always there to help HI-Y teens, to build support for every HI-y program and to advocate on behalf of young people. Lew’s actions further advanced these youth programs as Vice President of the West Virginia HI-Y Youth in Government Committee from 1988 to 2002, member of the Ohio-West Virginia YMCA Board from 1990 – 2002, President of the Board from 1994 – 2001, and President Emeritus until his death on December 18, 2002.

Lew’s legacy lives on as he left one-third of his estate to the Ohio-West Virginia YMCA endowment to forever help children and teens in local HI-Y programs, HI-Y Youth in Government, HI-Y Model United Nations and Camp Horseshoe. Lew was a strong supporter of Horseshoe’s Youth Opportunity Camps for needy West Virginia 7 – 12 year old boys and girls.

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