Molly Varner headshot

Member Spotlight: Molly Varner

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Varner has been a member of WOUB since 1986

ATHENS, OH – Molly Varner has always had the ability to collaborate, organize and plan. In college, she majored in political science and planned to use those skills through a career in politics and government.

“I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and after college came to southeastern Ohio to take a job with what is now called the Buckeye Hills Regional Council in the Area Agency on Aging. I wrote lots of plans and devised systems by which people could submit applications for grants,” said Varner. “Then, I worked for Ted Strickland when he was congressman in his Marietta field office. I eventually went back to Buckeye Hills and retired from there in 2001.”

But retirement didn’t stop elected officials from reaching out to Varner when her skill set was needed.

“As soon as I retired, I got a phone call from the Washington County Commissioners,” said Varner chuckling. “They asked if I would help them put together a plan to implement 9-1-1 in the county. Building that plan wasn’t so simple because first we had to establish a house numbering system. I know it’s hard to believe, but homes in rural Washington County didn’t have an orderly address system that emergency responders could follow.”

Varner is proud of the work that she did to get that system in place for the people of Washington County. She lives east of Bartlett and says she saved the letter they got in the mail that gave them information about the new address for their home.

“I am prideful about it. My husband was very active in starting the Wesley Township Fire Department, and I watched the struggles they had finding the homes where emergencies were happening,” said Varner. “You couldn’t just continue to say, ‘Go to the oak tree on the corner by the red barn.’ Every time I hear about a fire or a crime, and the address is listed, I know I was part of the group that made that happen.”

Varner and her husband Howard, a retired plumber, are now enjoying their golden years together. One of the things they both love is WOUB.

“WOUB TV has got great stuff,” said Varner. “Growing up in Pittsburgh, I watched the original Fred Rogers show on public television. Now, we enjoy programs like Victoria, The Great British Baking Show, Austin City Limits and Finding Your Roots. We also enjoy WOUB radio. I like Morning Edition and All Things Considered. I know the news that they report is fair and truthful and well researched.  I do like knowing that WOUB news is reliable and factual.”

Varner is also a member of Rotary, Zonta, an international professional women’s organization, and the Women’s Giving Circle through the Marietta Community Foundation. Additionally, she is active in supporting the work of the Domestic Violence Shelter in Marietta.

The Varner’s also have established a scholarship through the Marietta Community Foundation called the Howard and Molly Varner Scholarship. It grants a Warren High School graduate a $2500 scholarship for college.

“It’s important to encourage young people to go to college and pursue higher education.”

When she’s not out doing work in the community, Varner enjoys cross stitching and reading crime fiction books. She also loves to travel and plans to take a cruise in the fall.

Varner says no matter what is going on in her life, WOUB is always a part of it.

“I want WOUB to go on forever and ever and ever,” said Varner. “The programming is just wonderful, and it’s crucial to have honest, fair, straightforward and factual news. I depend on it.”