Meigs to honor distinguished alumni, service award recipient

By Dave Harris - Special to the Times-Sentinel

ROCKSPRINGS — The 10th honorees of the Meigs Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni and Service Award will be recognized at the 2016 Meigs Homecoming football game on Friday, Sept. 23.

The 2016 Distinguished Alumni award recipients are Dr. Jared Sheets, SMSgt Christopher L. Knight, USAF, Ret., and Jackie Welker. Kathy Reed will receive the Distinguished Service award.

The ceremony will take place around 7:10 p.m., prior to kickoff of the Marauders game against River Valley at Holzer Field/Farmers Bank Stadium.

Sheets was the valedictorian of the Meigs High School Class of 1989. Following graduation from Meigs, he attended The Ohio State University College of Agriculture majoring in food science and nutrition. He was named one of the five outstanding seniors of the OSU Class of 1993, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

Sheets graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1997 and then went on to complete a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is currently the medical director for the Holzer Health System-Athens location and has served for the last five years on the health system’s Board of Governors.

In addition, Sheets is a clinical assistant professor in the Ohio University Heritage College of Medicine and for the last four years has served as a director for Farmers Bank.

In addition to his day jobs, Sheets is an elder in the Harrisonville Presbyterian Church, president of the Foothills Music Foundation, and is frontman and band leader for his family band, Mudfork Blues. Sheets and his family live on their fifth generation family farm “Somewhere near Harrisonville, Ohio.”

Knight is a graduate of the Meigs High School Class of 1993. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1995 as a ground radio maintenance technician. Throughout his 21 year career in the military, Knight gained extensive experience in communications systems maintenance to include air traffic control communications, land mobile radio networks, and mobile satellite systems. He served overseas for 13 consecutive years supporting the Global War on Terrorism with assignments in Japan, Guam and South Korea.

Knight’s last position in the Air Force was as the superintendent of the Nevada Test and Training Range at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. He was responsible for advising the commander on enlisted matters for 800 military, civilian and contractor personnel, maintaining the Department of Defense’s premier 2.9 million acre battle space in support of testing, training and tactics development.

Knight completed his associate degree in electronic systems in 2001 from the Community College of the Air Force. He currently resides with his 16-year-old son, Luke, in Las Vegas, and has recently begun his second career as the quality improvement specialist for the Southern Nevada Division of Southwest Gas.

Welker is a 1985 graduate of Meigs High School. Welker was the starting second baseman for the 1984 TVC champion Meigs baseball team and an all-TVC cornerback for the 1985 Meigs football team. While in high school, he was also a Buckeye Boys State delegate.

After graduation, Jackie attended Ohio University and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in recreation management. Upon graduation, he worked at Hocking College in the travel and tourism department and then as study abroad coordinator. In 1998, he decided to purchase the Court Street Grill in Pomeroy. Jackie turned the historic bar into a place where people came from all over the area to dine on locally sourced food, wines and spirits, and listen to local, regional and national touring music acts. While specializing in blues, other genres of music also appear.

Welker is a founding member and director of the Pomeroy Blues and Jazz Society, Rhythm on the River and Big Bend Blues Bash. The Rhythm on the River and the Big Bend Blues Bash are summer concert series featuring regional and national music acts bringing thousands of people to Pomeroy every year. Welker was selected by the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce as the winner of the David P. Baker, Meigs County Man of the Year award in 2003.

Welker served four terms as a member of the Pomeroy Village Council, including two as council president. He also served one term as mayor. Welker was honored at the state capital by Heritage Hill Country for promoting arts and economic development in Appalachia in 2015. Besides being owner and operator of the Court Street Grill, he is a partner in Maple Lawn Brewery in downtown Pomeroy.

Welker, his wife Jessica, and son, Jaycie, reside in Meigs County on the family farm in Hemlock Grove, Ohio.

Reed is a 1977 graduate of Florida State University. She began her teaching career at Frontier High School in Washington County. After three years at Frontier, she accepted a position with Alexander High School. In her seven years there, she served as the cheerleading advisor and was a member of the Doo Wops — the faculty’s ’50s singing group. She earned her master’s degree from Ohio University in 1986. After her marriage in 1987, Reed moved to Pomeroy and commuted to Alexander every day. One evening during that summer, then-Meigs Superintendent Dan Morris pulled up and said that he understood that she had a degree in home economics and asked if she would be interested in coming to Meigs Local. In the fall of 1987, she began her 25-year career at Meigs High School.

Reed jumped right in and became a Marauder immediately. Throughout her tenure, she took on the responsibly of Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) advisor, Meigs County Junior Fair advisor, National Honor Society advisor and her favorite job as the student council advisor. She also assisted Fenton and Jeanie Taylor with the Teen Institute. In a moment of weakness, she also volunteered to serve as the advisor for the Class of 2007. It’s not everyone who can wrap the gym in plastic and make it look amazing for prom.

During her time at Meigs, Reed was known as the go-to person for clothing. Every Monday morning, there would be a line of football players asking her to mend their uniforms from Friday’s game. She was also the seamstress for the band — creating flags and uniforms. Reed also assisted with costuming for the drama club, administered the ACT test for several years, and made the school flags for the MLAA to sell as their first fundraiser.

After her retirement in 2012, she, along with Cathy Cooper and retired Meigs Elementary teacher Karen Walker, purchased the Fabric Shop in Pomeroy. From sewing classes to renting tuxes, they are still a part of Meigs Local.

They have also been known to make emergency alterations to all types of uniforms. Reed and her husband, Tom, Class of 73, reside in Pomeroy. They are the parents of Dru, Class of 2007.

By Dave Harris

Special to the Times-Sentinel