‘Mad Max’ named third ‘Cornerstone’

PARKERSBURG – Larry “Mad Max” Maxwell is the third “Cornerstone of Our Community” recognized by Our Community’s Foundation-Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates through its 50th anniversary awards program sponsored by Superior Toyota. Maxwell receives a gold Fenton vase and the honor of awarding $1,000 for charitable purposes.

Foundation Executive Director Judy Sjostedt said, “A cornerstone is the fundamental building block on which the foundation of something is built. Chosen to represent the fields of education and youth, Maxwell took that extra step while teaching at Parkersburg South High School to ensure every student felt special.

“I started writing athletes first and at the end of school one year. These two little girls came up and one said that she had received four letters. She was an athlete, and the other said she did not receive any,” Maxwell said. “That’s when I decided that every kid deserves some recognition and from then on I decided to write every kid in school. The principal, Tom Eschbacher, agreed and our school paid the postage.”

That was about 15 years ago and Maxwell has averaged about 6,000 letters a year, writing many students multiple times, including welcome letters to all new students. When asked about his inspiration for the project, Maxwell said, “I had a scoutmaster who would write to us and it was great to get a letter from him.”

Letter-writing is a longtime passion of Maxwell’s. “I am also an Air Force veteran, and, before computers, I remember how great mail call was when I was stationed in Vietnam. I would write and receive about 10-12 letters a day.”

Maxwell has also served as sight chairman for the South Parkersburg Lions Club, fielding and fulfilling requests for eyeglasses from those unable to pay for them. He and his wife are Carpenter’s Club members, working with Habitat for Humanity. He also volunteers with the New Era One Room Schoolhouse in Mineral Wells. Maxwell’s dedication to his community, and especially his devotion to serving youth, earned him the foundation’s “Cornerstone of Our Community” award.