WHEELING – A West Virginia attorney has won the Good Samaritan Award for 2017 for his work in helping impoverished families and at-risk youth in the community.
In announcing the award presented by the Youth Service System, a nonprofit youth shelter, achievement and transitional living center, YSS board member Marc Abraham called Jay T. McCamic a great man for his efforts on behalf of people living in poverty.
McCamic said he is humbled to receive the award.
“I’m pleased to be recognized, but this is not about me,” McCamic told The West Virginia Record. “It’s about the YSS and the great work they do. It’s a fantastic organization with a lot of can-do people who help people in need. I’m proud to be involved with such an organization.”
McCamic attended school and grew up in Wheeling. He still lives today just a few houses away from where he spent his boyhood.
“I came from a family of lawyers,” he said.
McCamic is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and attended West Virginia University College of Law (WVU). He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1975 to 1981 and today is president of the law firm McCamic, Sacco & McCoid.
McCamic is well-known in West Virginia for his defense work in federal court and participation in high-profile legal cases including those involving the death penalty. He was appointed criminal justice resource counsel for the U.S. Northern District Court of West Virginia and also served as a faculty member of the WVU Law School. He is a notable speaker at local and state legal conferences.
YSS officials lauded McCamic for his involvement with at-risk young people and helping youth receive internships and scholarships. He said he initially became involved in helping impoverished families as an attorney assisting juvenile offenders.
“It was usually a kid in trouble, but the trouble was mostly minor and not big,” he said. “Then I became involved helping families with transitional living needs and youth (at risk) and drug issues. Through the work a mentoring program for youth was established.”
YSS is involved in substance abuse prevention, youth skills training, before-and-after school care, psychological counseling for youth, life skills and individual and family therapy to name a few of its services.
McCamic said the best thing people can do to help troubled youth and their families living in poverty is to first become involved.
“If you know someone who needs help, help them,” he said. “We’ve got to have more one-on-one involvement from all of us, people helping people. It doesn’t have to be some grandiose big thing. Just one small act of kindness can make a difference, for example, making sure a young person has a decent pair of shoes to wear to a job interview. Every little bit helps.”
The Good Samaritan Award will be presented to McCamic at a YSS annual dinner to be held Aug. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in Wheeling Park’s White Palace.