ROCKSPRINGS — The newest class of Meigs Local Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni and Service Award recipients were honored on Friday evening during a pregame ceremony before the Marauders’ Homecoming football game.
The 2019 honorees were Dodger and Brooke Vaughan, Tony Hawk, Adam Williams, and Gary and Karen Walker. Presenters included Meigs High School Principal Travis Abbott, Meigs Supt. Scot Gheen, and Meigs Local Alumni Association Co-Presidents Gary Coleman and Carolyn Kesterson. State Rep. Jay Edwards was also in attendance to present commendations to the honorees.
Dodger Vaughan (Class of 1996) and Brooke Vaughan (Class of 2000)
Dodger Vaughan is a life-long resident of Meigs County. Dodger has nearly 20 years of experience working in youth ministry and is currently employed as the Director of Reach Out on Campus, a college ministry at Ohio University. Dodger is also the Director of Ohio Teens for Christ and sits on the Board of Directors for Crossroads Missions, a national service organization. He has served as a Dean at Ohio Valley Christian Assembly for over 10 years, working with hundreds of high-school aged youth from southeast Ohio. Dodger also has a passion for short-term missions and has led numerous trips to New Orleans, North Carolina, the Dominican Republic, Mountain Mission School in Virginia and White Mountain Apache American Indian reservation in Show Low, Arizona.
Brooke Vaughan has been employed at Ohio University as an Assistant Clinical Professor since 2012, and was runner-up for the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award in 2019. Brooke has presented at several national conferences on her area expertise, Parkinson’s disease, and is recognized by the Parkinson’s Foundation as a Physical Therapy Faculty Scholar. Brooke also serves as the Director of PEP!, a pro-bono exercise class for people with Parkinson’s and Respite, a free in-home relief service for caregivers of adults with disability.
The Vaughans met while both working at Vaughan’s Supermarket and have been married for 18 years. They currently reside in Pomeroy with their two children, Trey, a sophomore at Meigs High School and Ella, a third-grader at Meigs Intermediate School. They are members of the Middleport Church of Christ and in their free time Dodger and Brooke enjoy attending their children’s activities, hiking and traveling.
Tony Hawk (Class of 1984)
Tony Hawk has been a loyal Marauder for over 25 years. He got his start from mentor, Jim Soulsby, affectionately known as “pops”. He began announcing 7th and 8th grade football games and selling programs, serving in the Meigs Athletic Boosters for over 20 years. He served as vice president and president of the Meigs Marauders Athletic Boosters for two terms and continues to be involved in nearly every aspect of Meigs athletics. Hawk announces every football game Friday night on WJOS-TV20, with friend and cameraman, Paul Gerard. He shares the booth with radio duo, Rick Ash and Jimmer Soulsby. Tony also announced radio with Jimmer, on 1390 WMPO & the Frog WYVK. Tony has not missed a football game in nearly 25 years. In 2014, he was awarded the “respect the game” state award by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Hawk’s love for his Alma Mater goes beyond Friday night football — he is involved in both boys and girls sports. He continues to announce 7th and 8th grade football games. He also announces girls and boys varsity basketball games and varsity baseball games. Most recently, Hawk volunteered his time to announce the track meets and district track meets, for the past two years, with the assistance of Bill Meyer. Hawk also announces cross country meets and has a special interest in recognizing past Meigs athletes. He was responsible for organizing the 1980 girls softball state-semi finalist ceremony to honor the team and coach Rita Slavin. He was also responsible for placing the athletic signs on the softball dugout, the baseball complex, and the entrance to Holzer Field.
Adam Williams (Class of 1999)
Adam Williams is married to Amy Evans Williams. They have five children, Brogan, Bralynn, Briggs, Braisley, and Bronson. He is a union Boilermaker Local 667 Winfield W.Va.
They started Smok’em If You Got’em BBQ in 2009. They are blessed by the support of the local people around. They started in competition BBQ and have won multiple awards including: 2009 Top BBQ team in Ohio, four time winner of Ohio’s best ribs, four time winner of the Ohio State Fair Pork Off, and multiple other awards.
Williams loves helping out and raising money for the Meigs Alumni Association on Homecoming weekend. He also enjoys events with his church family at River City Fellowship in Gallipolis, Ohio.
Adam always enjoys talking and teaching anyone the art of backyard and competition BBQ.
Gary and Karen Walker — Distinguished Service Award
Gary and Karen are both life-long Meigs County residents. Gary is a 1965 graduate of Southern Local Schools and joined the US Air Force in 1966 during the Vietnam War. After training at the Air Force Electronics School at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, Gary was sent to Okinawa for his tour of duty.
When the position opened up for the second year of the Vocational Electronics Program at MHS, Gary applied and was hired to be the junior year instructor. During that year and the next, he spent time with the Ohio State University’s Vocational Education Instructor’s Program. Along the way, Gary served on the Yearbook Staff as the photographer and also acted as spotter for the play-by-play announcer in the press box for football.
In 1975, Gary met and dated Karen Humphrey. They married in May of 1975 and have a daughter, Jennifer, who is married and resides in Chicago.
Karen started teaching in 1975 at Harrisonville Elementary teaching Title I Reading. That led to a position at Salisbury Elementary the next year and eventually to a job as the 4th grade teacher at Salisbury. Besides 4th grade she taught hands-on science to 4th, 5th and 6th grade. While at Salisbury, she coached Volleyball from 1976 through 1983. She made the move to the new building at Rutland in 2003, where she taught and also was one of the Archery coaches until she retired.
Gary retired from teaching in 1996, then returned from 1996 until 2001 as a computer and networking tech. Karen taught for a total career of 36 years and retired in 2011.
Karen is currently part owner of the Fabric Shop in Pomeroy. Gary is the Racine United Methodist Church Secretary and enjoys working with the River City Players Community Theater Group.
Previous Distinguished Alumni/Distinguished Service Award winners were as follows:
2007 — Distinguished Service, James A. Diehl Jr.; Distinguished Alumni, Colonel Mark Morris, Gary Nakamoto, Dr. Franklin Rizer II.
2008 — Distinguished Service, James and Susie Soulsby; Distinguished Alumni, Master Sgt. Roger Carpenter Jr., Dr. Kevin King, Lt. Col. Jennifer Menchini Kirby.
2009 — Distinguished Service, Coach Charles Chancey; Distinguished Alumni, Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey Shiflet and Connie Grueser Carleton.
2010 — Distinguished Service, Jack and Rita Slavin; Distinguished Alumni, Dave Hoffman, Jan Michael Long, Morgan Mathews, and Evan Shaw.
2011 — Distinguished Service, Fenton and Jeannie Taylor; Distinguished Alumni, Christopher Hall, John Krawsczyn, John Morris, Paul Reed.
2012 — Distinguished Service, Toney Dingess; Distinguished Alumni, Mike Chancey, Mary Holman Funk, Jennifer Buck Mouat, Milisa Rizer, and Scott Powell.
2013 — Distinguished Service, Paul Gerard; Distinguished Alumni, Karen Griffith, Bill Kerr, Rick Van Matre and Dr. Rob Wyatt.
2014 — Distinguished Service, Judy Sauer Crooks; Distinguished Alumni, Kenny Napper, Frank Blake and Dr. Jay Dewhurst.
2015 — Distinguished Service, Dale Harrison; Distinguished Alumni, Tom Cremeans, Chrissy Weaver Musser, the late Dr. James L. Schmoll and Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary.
2016 — Distinguished Service, Kathy Reed; Distinguished Alumni, Dr. Jared Sheets, SMSgt. Christopher L. Knight, and Jackie Welker.
2017 — Distinguished Service, Jennifer Lohse Sheets; Distinguished Alumni, Michael Bartrum, Tom Reed and John Tannahill.
2018 — Distinguished Service, Dave and Jamie Deem; Distinguished Alumni, Phillip Moon, Gary Coleman, and Jillian Wilt-Kranyik.
Additional coverage of the Meigs Homecoming events and Reunion on the River will appear in an upcoming edition of The Daily Sentinel.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.