Marshall Memo: Remembering Sonny Allen; and Ham, Bacon & Eggs Sale

A remembrance of Moundsville native Sonny Allen who played basketball at Marshall University and coached at Old Dominion University was scheduled to take place a week ago in Norfolk, Va., but because of COVID-19 it didn’t happen as planned.

However, there was a smaller version attended by Allen’s daughter, Jackie Eldrenkamp, and seven members of her family who live in North Carolina.

One of the announcements at this year’s game between Marshall and ODU was that $146,000 had been raised toward a scholarship in Allen’s honor to benefit men’s basketball players at Old Dominion,

As to the scholarship, it came about five months ago following Allen’s death as ODU alumnus and retired media executive Dick Fraim texted Jay Hoeseker of the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation, stating that he wanted to volunteer to help lead a scholarship effort in Allen’s name. Hoeseker in turn passed on Fraim’s message to athletic director Camden Wood Selig, who became a friend of Sonny’s son, Billy, from 1965-75 when Sonny was the basketball coach at ODU.

I had an opportunity to speak by telephone with Dave Twardzik this past week about Sonny.

“I hate to think where I would be without Sonny Allen’s influence in my life. Almost everything I have, I have because of Sonny.”

Allen was impressed with Twardzik’s play while at an all-star game in Central Pennsylvania, and asked him to fly to Norfolk to visit the campus.

Twardzik, whose only scholarship came from Allen, went on to become a college All-American, followed up by being in the NBA as a player and general manager.

By the way, Twardzik, who contacted former ODU players pertaining to the scholarship in Allen’s name, told me that the scholarship goal was originally $150,000 has now been increased to $250,000.

For the past 42 years Cameron High School FFA members have gone through the crowd showing their Hams, Bacons and Eggs they were selling.

However, this year this will not be the case and instead there will be a virtual sale.

Restrictions caused by COVID-19 have forced this year’s auction to be moved online, and will be handled by Behm’s Auction & Real Estate Service.

The number of items to be sold will be about the same as a year ago, that being 50 hams, 50 bacons and 20 dozen of eggs. The past sales have been the biggest annual fundraiser for the organization.

Before getting into details related to this year’s event, I will go back 42 years to the first sale which took place at Glen Dale Motors, and since that time it has been held at John Marshall High School, the Grave Creek Mound Museum Auditorium, one year at Cameron High, and in recent years at the Marshall County Fairgrounds.

There will be an in-person preview held on March 2 in the Cameron High Meat Lab from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. No more than two buyers will be permitted to enter the facility at a time.

The actual sale will begin online at 6 p.m. on March 4.

Persons with questions can call 304-686-2207.

John Marshall High School senior students may now through March 26 submit application for the John Marshall Scholarship Trust Fund.

There are several scholarships available and senior students may submit as many scholarships as they so desire.

The JMSTF was created by the school faculty senate members Joe Komorowski, Doug Pettit and David Gaudino working with the legal staff of Phillips, Gardill & Altmeyer, and JM graduate Robin Capehart who developed the fund in association with the Community Foundation of Ohio Valley.

The fund began with contributions from the John Marshall faculty as a part of their Friday “Jeans Day.” Since its founding, contributions have come from persons from the local and national levels thus the funds have grown to as many as 14 scholarships each year to deserving John Marshall graduates.

The first year of the fund three scholarships were awarded, those in memory of former John Marshall Curriculum Coordinator Dr. Gary Buskirk. Buskirk was influential in the development of the innovative curriculum of the school.

The award is presented to the”Student of the Year” selected by the Trust Committee.

Upon her passing, Nancy Buskirk made a generous contribution to the Trust to award a scholarship each year to students with significant financial need. These awards are made by the trust committee based on the trust fund scholarship application form.

Through the generous contributions of former Union High School graduates Bob and Mary Lou O’Brien of Sun City, Fla., several other scholarships have been added. The first of these scholarships being the Cochrane, Moneske, O’Brien Scholarship that is awarded to a top student from the former Union High School enrollment area.

The O’Briens have gone on to award additional scholarships. These being the James Henry Cochrane “Unsung Hero” Award given to a JM student selected by the faculty and approved by the trust committee, and the Mary O’Brien music scholarship selected by the faculty.

For more than 12 years, Marilyn Wehrheim, who was a JM counselor for nearly 40 years, has awarded a scholarship in memory of her parents, George Wehrheim and Marie Messino Wehrheim. This scholarship is presented to a student who has outstanding academic achievement and who also has completed extraordinary community service projects in the area.

Brad Paisley awards a scholarship in Performing Arts or Communications to a John Marshall graduate who plans to major in music performance at either West Liberty University or Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn..

Upon his passing, the estate of William Nice established the William Nice Memorial Scholarship in his memory that is selected by Trust committee, and is awarded to an outstanding student with significant financial need who plans to attend college.

More than 10 years ago, Dr. Victor Canestraro established the Ron Canestraro Memorial Scholarship in either dentistry or dental hygiene in memory of his father, Ron.

The Kylie McClead Memorial Scholarship was established by the John Marshall Special Education faculty members in memory of John Marshall graduate Kylie McClead.

The Abby Frohnapfel Memorial Scholarship was established by her family in memory of the former John Marshall student who passed during her years at John Marshall.

The Nick B. Gaudino Memorial Scholarship was established by the family in his memory. Mr. Gaudino was multiply handicapped fighting in the South Pacific in World War II, but still went on to complete college and worked as an accountant for more than 30 years.


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