James Griffin Recipient of FBI Director's Community Leadership Award

James Griffin Recipient of FBI Director's Community Leadership Award

James Griffin Recipient of FBI Director's Community Leadership Award
 
BRIDGEPORT — The life, work and tireless dedication of Clarksburg native James Griffin were honored at the Pierpont Community & Technical College facility in Bridgeport Thursday when he received the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director’s Community Service Leadership Award. Griffin, who is involved with numerous local organizations, including the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival and the Monticello Ongoing Revitalization Effort (M.O.R.E.), was overcome with emotions several times while accepting the award.
 
“I accept this honor on behalf of my community,” Griffin said. “Because I feel like everything that I do, I do on behalf of our community and trying to better our community.”
 
The virtue of helping others was instilled in him from a young age, Griffin said.
 
“I come from a very large family; there were six of us,” he said. “One thing my mother always taught us was that we had to help each other. It started at home. I took that and went to my community and tried to do the same thing.”
 
Griffin said he often finds motivation in the words of President John F. Kennedy, who said: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
 
“I think that’s what I try to do,” he said. “Find out what I can do for our community. The time is always right to do what is right.”
 
As long as he can continue to inspire other people to strive to work towards positive change, he will know his time has been well spent, Griffin said.
 
“They’ve seen me do something that inspired them to go out and do something for the community,” he said.
 
Griffin said he plans to hang the award on his “wall of honor” in his “man cave” at home, next to other distinctions he has received.
 
While recognizing those who have helped him on the way to success, Griffin thanked his wife, Joyce, who was in the audience at Thursday’s event.
 
“She has been there in support of me,” he said. “She’s been my chief critic and my chief supporter. I’d like to thank her for all she’s done.”
 
Dr. Johnny Moore, Pierpont’s president, took a moment to acknowledge Griffin’s role in his own career.
 
“I want to thank you publicly,” More said. “If it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t be standing here.”
 
Douglas Lindquist, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Clarksburg, said each of the FBI’s 56 field offices give out one Community Service Leadership Award per year.
 
“This is something that recognizes community leaders in all of the areas that we work,” Lindquist said. “We have to work the public; we need that connection with the public. So we recognize the leaders and people of the public who make a difference. We like to make sure they are recognized for their efforts.”
 
After graduating from Washington Irving High School in 1965, James Griffin helped reactivate the Harrison County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and, at the age of 18, started his 15-year presidency of the group.
 
He began working at Union Carbide in 1966 and retired as a manager in 2007.
 
Griffin also served as Pierpont Community & Technical College's Chairman of the Board of Governors.
 
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