Wheeling Hall of Fame Honors Historian, Trainer and Benefactors

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a series of four articles profiling the Wheeling Hall of Fame’s newest members in advance of Saturday’s induction ceremony.

WHEELING — A historian who educates and inspires the public, a multi-sport athletic trainer and a couple who donated their fortune for charitable purposes are among the Wheeling Hall of Fame’s 2017 inductees.

The honorees include Margaret Ann “Peg” Brennan, chosen in the category of education and religion; the late Charles P. Saad, named in the category of sports and athletics; the late Harry S. Sands and his wife, the late Helen Turner Sands, being inducted jointly in the category of philanthropy. They and six other people will be honored Saturday during a ceremony and dinner at WesBanco Arena.

Brennan, an educator and scholar, makes history alive in the community, while documenting current events for future generations.

“Through research, writing, lectures and activism in the fields of historic preservation and education, she inspires the citizens of today to value and learn from their yesterdays,” the Hall of Fame board stated.

A Wheeling resident, Brennan taught history at Wheeling Central Catholic High School from 1968-79 and was a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph for 25 years.

The board stated, “Margaret left her mark as a schoolteacher, but it has been outside the classroom where she has made — and continues to make — her most significant impact, educating the public about the history of our nation, state and community and their institutions and organizations.”

She served as the first archivist for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston from 1979-85, then worked on historical projects for the former Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy and Crittenton Services.

She has produced historical projects for several entities, including East Ohio Regional Hospital, Wheeling Hospital, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, First Presbyterian Church and Browne Brothers Tailors.

Brennan has served on numerous boards, groups and committees, including the Wheeling Area Genealogical Society; Martins Ferry, Marshall County and West Virginia historical societies; Ohio Valley Civil War Roundtable; Wheeling Hall of Fame; Wheeling Historic Landmarks Commission; West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation; West Virginia Archives and History Commission and Friends of Wheeling.

Saad, who died in 2014, had a 30-year career in athletic training for major and minor league baseball, professional basketball and college athletics from 1951-81. In the off-season, he worked 33 years at the Wheeling YMCA.

During 15 years in minor league baseball, Saad was an assistant trainer for the Columbia (S.C.) Gems and Memphis (Tenn.) Chicks and head trainer for the Indianapolis Indians.

In the off-season, he was an all-sports trainer for West Virginia University, the University of South Carolina and U.S. Military Academy.

He served as a trainer for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers for five years. In major league baseball, he was head trainer for the Chicago White Sox from 1967-78 and head trainer of the Oakland A’s and California Angels during spring training camps from 1979-81.

The Sandses, who both died in 1952, established a trust that has given more than $7 million to charitable organizations in the Wheeling area.

They also donated their farm, Sandscrest, which is now owned by the Sandscrest Foundation Inc. and is used as a religious and spiritual retreat of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia.

Harry Sands, a Fairmont native, married Helen Virginia Turner of Baltimore in 1893. They moved to Wheeling in 1894.

They lived on Wheeling Island before moving to Sandscrest, where they raised prized Holstein dairy cattle and conducted other farming endeavors.

Professionally, Harry Sands was an electrical engineer, banker and businessman. He was involved in establishing Wheeling’s first electric power company, bringing the first X-ray machine to the area and manufacturing and distributing other electrical devices for consumer and residential use.

In 1896, he founded Sands Electric and Manufacturing Co. and electrified coal mines and industrial plants in the area. He also was vice president and director of Security Trust Co., treasurer of Penn Mold & Manufacturing Co., president of Carle Electric Construction Co. of Akron and vice president of Engineering & Equipment Co. of Wheeling.

The Hall of Fame ceremony dinner is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the arena box office, 304-233-4470, or through members of the Hall of Fame board.

Board members are chairman Robert DeFrancis, vice chairman Jeanne Finstein, secretary-treasurer Patricia Pockl, Jon-Erik Gilot, David H. McKinley, the Rev. Bob Willits, Dianna Vargo, Cheryl Harshman, Maureen Zambito, Wayne Barte, Gary Sacco, C.J. Kaiser, David Javersak, Jay Frey, Philip Stahl, Douglas Huff, Richard Coury and William Nutting. Wendy Scatterday is the Wheeling City Council representative.