William Burkett Honored for Service to Legion, Baseball

William “Bill” Burkett has been the Earl Francis American Legion Post No. 3 baseball coach for the past 35 years, along with serving as the state Legion baseball chairman for the past 27 years. Thus, it was appropriate that former players, Post No. 3 members, and a number of past and present state Legion officers would be in attendance to honor him during a recent ceremony.

The co-chairmen, Dave Yeater and Wayne Koontz, wanted to make it a surprise and for some two months they were able keep it a secret as they knew once he found out about it, he would find something else to do that particular day. The date chosen for the event was that of the annual Past Commanders Banquet.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was the presentation to Burkett of a mounted acrylic sphere with a baseball etched in the middle.

Among those in attendance were current state Adjutant, past Department Commander and past National Commander Miles Epling.

Bob Blazer, past post commander of the Sons of the American Legion, and past State SAL commander, served as master of ceremonies.

Burkett, 78, a graduated from Moundsville High School in 1957. He played American Legion baseball as a youngster in the 1940s and 1950s, along with being a member of the Moundsville High School teams in 1956-57, He also was a semi-pro player for the Pepsi Cola team.

The Pittsburgh Pirates showed an interest in Burkett as a youth but they deemed him too small, as he was just 127 pounds at that time. Burkett said, “The Pirate scouts told me to go home and bulk up and come back the next year. I did go home for a brief period, but then I decided to enlist in the Army.”

His first assignment after basic training was with an engineering group, in which he was trained on how to build roads.

He would later end up in Mannheim, Germany in the motor pool. Burkett also played softball and basketball while stationed in Germany. It was in Germany that he found time to meet Elizabeth (Ilse), his wife of 54 years.

Getting back to Burkett’s involvement with Post No.3’s baseball team, during the past several years the local Legion teams have made yearly trips to North Carolina and other states, with Burkett assuming addition duties such as being in charge of all travel plans.

When asked why he does it, Burkett states, “I love baseball, I like working with these young men, helping them to grow up and to accept discipline and set goals, It is good for boys to have something like baseball to get them motivated.”

By the way, Burkett has been a member of the Moundsville Veterans’ Honor Guard since 1983. He is the second longest serving member of the Honor Guard. He has held all the offices of Moundsville Post 3 office, with one exception.

He has been the Moundsville post commander on several occasions. On the state level, Burkett has served in several offices, including those of sergeant-at- arms, and commander.

At the national level he has served as national sergeant-at-arms, on the Americana Commission, and currently serves as the alternate National Executive Committeeman. And yes, he has served as a member of the Baseball Subcommittee for the past 20 years. The latter group consists of member representing each state. The NEC and the Baseball Subcommitee meet twice a year for five days in Indianapolis, Ind., to make future plans and strategies to keep American Legion and Legion Ball alive and vibrant.

While on the subject of the American Legion, the First District Caravan will be held on March 16-17. On March 16, the car caravan will leave Moundsville at 8 a.m., with the first stop being at Cameron Post 18 for breakfast, followed by stops at Hundred Post 120, Pine Grove Post 81 and New Martinsville Post 28.

On March 17, the bus caravan will leave at 8 a.m. from Moundsville, with the first stop being at Chester Post 121 for breakfast. Other p-osts to be visited will be Newell Post 114, Weirton Post 10, Follansbee Post 45, Wellsburg Post 34, Wheeling Post 89, Wheeling Post 1 and Benwood Post 46, before returning to Moundsville at 7 p.m.

The 14-plus McMechen Post 5, have as their 2018 goal, a membership of 23-25 with Moundsville having the largest goal, that of 453.

The John Marshall High School Music Department will be starting a new holiday tradition this year by presenting a combined Christmas Concert.

The inaugural “Monarch Tidings” will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday on the stage of the JMHS Center for the Performing Arts.

The student-produced event will feature selections from a combination of ensembles including the Concert Band, Steel Band, Concert Choir, Monarch Choirs, Chamber Orchestra, String Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra.

WJMH Media students Serena Smith and Luke Utt will host the show.

Festive tunes such as carols from the British Isles and Winter Solstice, along with well-known favorites such as “The Christmas Song,” “Oh Holy Night” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” will deck the halls of the CPA Christmas cheer.

WJMH Media will record the concert, with the production to be shown on WLU-TV West Liberty University’s TV station on Comcast Channel l4 later in the month. DVDs of the production will also be available for purchase.

The concert is open to the public and an admission fee will be charged at the door.

The Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale will hold its annual Christmas Open House from 5p.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday. The theme will be “Christmas at Cockayne 2017.”

The historic home (c.1850) of the Cockayne family will be adorned for the holidays to transport visitors over 100 years into the past when the modern Christmas was taking shape

Caroling groups from local schools will be performing at 5, 6 and 7 p.m outdoors while inside, a children’s activity time featuring a reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas and crafting homemade ornaments will be held at 5:45,6:46 and 7:45 p.m.

The house will be open for tours or viewing the entire evening.

Activities and refreshments for the evening will be free of charge.

Monarch Choir — the select auditioned choral groups of John Marshall High School — will present a performance Saturday at St. Jude Church, Glen Dale.

The concert will include popular carols of the season and arrangements of Christmas favorites. There will also be some sing-along involving the audience.

David Scherrick, the JMHS choral director and also the St. Jude organist, will direct the performance, with the accompanist being Leslie Garrett, who currently serves as a staff accompanist at West Liberty University. She is a retired Marshall County Schools teacher.

Following the concert, there will be a reception with cookies and refreshments served by the St. Jude Women’s Guild.

The concert is free of charge and open to the public.

The combined churches of the city of McMechen will present a Cantata titled, “The First Noel” at 6 p.m. on Dec. 17 at the First Christian Church, 30 Fourth St. The Cantata will be under the direction of Bob Wheat. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The city of Moundsville will sponsor its annual House Decorating Contest on Friday.

Homes to be judged are those registering with the city clerk’s office by calling that office at 304-845-3394 by 4 p.m. on Thursday.

There will be three categories considered. They are: Most Original, Most Decorative and Honorable Mention. The prizes will be of $100, $75 and 25.

Anyone looking for a unique Christmas gift for the person who has everything may want to visit the gift shop at the former West Virginia Penitentiary during select dates this month. Among the items available are books about the prison, the people who worked there, and the community in general, along with books about local military heroes, mugs, T-shirts, hat, backpacks and more.

This marks the first time that the gift shop has been open in December.

In addition to the gift shop, tours will also be available, at 11 a,m, 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. today, and this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Also, a “Santa Tip” available through Christmas Eve is that of a Private Paranormal Investigation Ghost Adventure at this year’s prices.

If you drive or walk past the former West Virginia Penitentiary some evening, you will notice something different as the building is lit up in red and green.

Plans are for the lighting to be year-round.

Steve Jenkins, the team leader of the Marshall County Emergency Management Service, which services the southern part of Marshall County, informed the Marshall County commissioners on Tuesday that the EMS had its vehicles in the city of Cameron parade, and that many of the parade-goers expressed thanks for the service which was initiated on July 30 as the result of the county commission approving finances for this undertaking.

Moundsville City Council will be electing a new mayor at its Dec. 19 meeting as current mayor Eugene Saunders Sr., is not eligible to serve a third straight year. He and the other six council members are eligible to seek the vice mayor’s office. David Wood is the current vice mayor.

The new mayor and vice mayor will assume their duties on Jan. 2, which happens to be a council meeting night.

The main duties of a mayor in Moundsville are to preside at council meetings and also, represent the city at ceremonial events such as ribbon cuttings.