A man worthy of support

Last fall, volunteer Washington High School Football Coach Mike Grant Big Mike received some bad news. He was diagnosed with brain cancer, and had a stage IV tumor removed from his brain. Determined not to miss his Patriots and son Michael play football against Handley the following Friday, Big Mike had his stitches removed and went to see the game. His diagnosis would not keep him from his Patriots.

Big Mike has coached in Jefferson County since 2000. He was one of my son’s first football coaches back in the 3rd grade and has been coaching him ever since. He would take the JCYFL Hurricanes’ to the tri-county championship along with coaches Troy Wilt and Scott Dinant before moving on to Washington High School with his son Michael. At Washington under the direction of Coach Hash, he has helped the team improve their record every season for the past four years.

Many football players train year round these days, lifting weights after school. Big Mike would drive from work to WHS, and help out in the weight room every day. He has been a constant fixture in the lives of many young men here in Jefferson County.

Having seen our share of tragedies at WHS the last three years, our football family was more than willing to step up and support Big Mike and his family through this difficult course of treatment.

The Friends of Big Mike now turn to the community to help us, help the Grants. There will be a Cash Bonanza Benefit at the Ranson Civic Center on April 14 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are $50, which will allow two adults in for dinner and provide them one chance at the 30 cash prizes, including a $2,500 grand prize. DJ Praz will entertain us as we bid on silent auction items, enjoy dinner and the fellowship of our community. We realize that a lot of events are happening on April 14, and hope you may purchase a ticket in support of Coach Grant even though you may not be able to attend. Ticket holders do not need to be present to win any of the 30 cash prizes.

As organizers we remain touched and overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received from our community in the form of donations for our silent auction. It is our hope that more will come forward to purchase tickets as we round the corner to April 14.

Our football players this year have learned more than plays, how to hold a football, and how to finish a tackle. They have learned how the power of a group can make a positive difference in the lives of others. More importantly they have learned a lesson about community and what it means to be a part of one.

We hope to see you at Coach Grant’s benefit, so you can meet a man with a smile that has meant so much too so many young men in our community. Big Mike, wife Paula, and children Michael, Melissa, and Matthew remain humbled by the support and thankful for the family they just found here in Jefferson County.

For ticket info., please call 304-261-8070, or join our Facebook page “Coach Mike Grant’s Cash Benefit Bonanza.”

Ronda Lehman

Friends of Big Mike

Mike & Marci Thomas

John Thomas

Kim Athey

A big thank you

On March 31, the Jefferson High Football Boosters delivered over 5,000 bags of mulch to local residents. The sale was a lot of work and a big success and I’d like to take time to thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication.

First we’d like to thank Pete Chaney and Francine Kidrick. They organized the mulch sale, taking orders, organizing deliveries, accounting for the payments and everything else. Pete and Francine don’t have sons playing JHS Football — they do this because they are great people who are dedicated to helping out the kids. Former organizer Laurie Ogden was a huge help this year too. Thanks, Laurie, for your past service and for assisting this year.

Next we’d like to thank the supporters who helped who also don’t have kids playing football: Laurie and Brandon Ogden and Laurie’s father, Bob Woodroome, and son Austin, Jim Schmitt, Neill, Kenna and Tiffany Banks, Pete and Jody Chaney and Dave and Brad Myers all worked many hours delivering mulch all over the county. These folks don’t have sons playing any more, but they helped assure this fundraiser was successful. I can’t express to them enough how much we appreciate their help.

Several parents, friends and family of current players also helped out. Bob and Brenda Dempsey and the whole Dempsey family, Angie and Bobby Hill, Becky McDonald and Dick Creamer, Chris Colbert, Tom Maiden, Scott Hostler, Joy Lewis, Regina Waldron and Jasmine Hughes.

Here’s an example of parental dedication: Scott Hostler is a C-5 Pilot. He arrived home from a flight to Afghanistan Friday and still managed to come out and help. missing his son Zach’s first baseball game in the process.

All of these parents and friends gave up personal time on Saturday and spent their own money on fuel for their trucks to help deliver mulch. Coach Mills and Coach Serian also delivered mulch and we thank them too!

Several current football players also helped: Dustin Marker, Casey McDonald, Taylor Carter, Tanner Cantrell, Geoff Walker, John Dempsey, Anthony Herbert, James Hill, Rynal Newman, Casey O’Brien, Ryder Sonday, Nelson Wolf, Hunter Colbert, Chandler Lewis, Tyler Penwell and Zach Hostler. They all worked several hours delivering mulch, handling thousands of bags. If I missed anyone, I’m sorry; it was a hectic day.

We’d also like to thank Clyde and Flo Best of U-Haul in Charles Town for donation of a 17-foot box truck. We could not have delivered the mulch without that truck. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Richard “Buzz” Bussard from Jefferson County Schools Transportation. Buzz ran a forklift all day Saturday. DL Lewis Construction in Shepherdstown provided a site to distribute mulch and the use of their forklift.

Finally, we’d like to thank Lowe Products of Shepherdstown. During their busiest season of the year, they helped us raise much-needed funds for the football team by discounting their mulch and delivering it to our site for distribution. They are a great, community-minded locally owned business and we appreciate their support.

As you can see, this fundraiser is a ton of work. We can’t express enough how much we appreciate the assistance provided by all of the volunteers and businesses above.

If you are interested in participating with the JHS Football Boosters, please contact us at jhsfootballboosters@gmail.com.

Thanks! And Go Cougars!

Eric Lewis, President

JHS Football Boosters


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