“Giving back to the community” is not just a cliché for the Vecellio Group, parent company of Ranger Construction Industries.
It’s a fact, with more than $1.96 million in college scholarships awarded thus far by the Group’s charity arm, the Vecellio Family Foundation.
“We believe in the value of a good education and in giving back to the communities where our company’s roots were formed,” said Leo Vecellio, Jr., CEO of Ranger Construction and the Vecellio Group, which was founded in 1938 as Vecellio & Grogan (V&G) in Beckley, W.Va.
Specializing in heavy/highway construction, the privately held company prospered over the years and in 1973, family members established the foundation.
Independent review boards administer the scholarships, choosing recipients from selected West Virginia high schools, a state-wide conservation program, and among dependents of Vecellio Group employees.
To date, 239 scholarships have been awarded, with 11 granted last year worth $10,000 each. Three went to employee dependents Jordan Pratt, Guinevere Pressley and Stephanie Yoder.
Jordan, son of V&G equipment operator Glenn Pratt, is attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. Guinevere is the daughter of Bill Pressley, helicopter pilot for the West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Vecellio Group; she is majoring in theater at Florida Atlantic University. Stephanie, daughter of Estimator Bill Yoder of subsidiary Ranger Construction Industries, also based in West Palm, is studying physical therapy at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
Eight scholarships were awarded through the West Virginia programs.
Jared G. Lilly of Daniels, representing Shady Spring High School, was selected for a Leo A. Vecellio, Sr., Memorial Scholarship, named to honor V&G’s late co-founder. Liberty High School graduate Tiffany Jenkins, of Glen Daniel, also received a Leo A. Vecellio, Sr., Memorial Scholarship.
At Woodrow Wilson High School, three students received scholarships: Kristin A. Carnes of Beaver, with a Rick Vecellio Memorial Scholarship, named to honor the late brother of Leo Vecellio, Jr.; Leslie N. Lagowski of Mabscott, who earned a Leo A. Vecellio, Sr., Memorial Scholarship; and Andrew F. Conner of Beckley, who received an Al Janutolo Memorial Scholarship, named for a long-time V&G employee.
A Leo A. Vecellio, Sr., Memorial Scholarship was also given to Nicole M. Goddard from Independence High School.
In McDowell County, Joni M. Cline of Roderfield was awarded a Dr. Dante Castrodale Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of Leo A. Vecellio, Sr.’s brother-in-law, who served as a physician in the area for many years.
Heather M. Gillich of Martinsburg received the Rick Vecellio Memorial Conservation Scholarship/Youth Conservation Award.
With operations throughout the South Atlantic states and beyond, the Vecellio Group is one of the country’s top 200 contractors — top 30 in heavy/highway construction — as ranked by Engineering News-Record.