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July 28, 2018

Jane Matney Powell as recipient of its 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award


The Fort Gay WV High School Alumni Association has selected Jane Matney Powell as recipient of its 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award. Powell will be honored for her dedication to teaching and community service at the annual alumni banquet on August 31, 2018.

Jane Matney Powell, Class of 1961Jane Matney Powell, Class of 1961Powell graduated from Fort Gay HS in 1961. Being raised in a learning environment with a passion for reading, Powell resolved to pursue a career in journalism. She volunteered as a stringer for the former Huntington Herald Advertiser, and at Berea College she worked as a reporter for the local town newspaper, The Berea Citizen.

Powell graduated from Berea College in January 1965 with a BA in English. In March, she joined other Berea alumni, students and faculty in response to a call from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a historic civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, AL. Despite safety concerns, she marched with thousands of Americans in protest of restrictions imposed upon black voters. National coverage of the events in Selma-Montgomery was instrumental in passage of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal achievement during the Civil Rights Movement.

Powell moved in 1965 to Washington, DC, to live with her sisters and find work while she pursued postgraduate studies. She accepted a teaching job and internship through the Cardozo Project in Urban Teaching, a precursor to the National Teacher Corps, a federal program designed to improve elementary and secondary teaching in predominantly low-income areas. As an intern, Powell received training to more effectively teach students in inner-city schools. She was placed in the community where she taught and, when not teaching, she engaged in community service to enrich the lives of her students and build up her community. She often met with families in their homes after school hours, working with them as needed to address situations or problems that might adversely impact her students.

After completing the training, Powell accepted a teaching position in an inner-city DC school where she worked until 1969. She has said that her resolve to teach underprivileged youth was shaped by her DC experience. She would teach English and Spanish for 35 years, mostly in inner-city schools in Toledo and Dayton, Ohio. Powell retired from Dayton Public Schools in 2005.

Outside the regular classroom, Powell’s devotion to her profession included teaching adult and continuing education at nights. Through Upward Bound, she also helped

high schoolers from low-income families develop the skills they needed to get into college. She also worked as a GED test proctor.

Powell lives in Miamisburg, Ohio. Widowed since 2017, she writes, works on her family genealogy, crochets, and enjoys time spent with her five children and two grandchildren.

“Jane’s devotion to scholarship and her activism for civil rights are a reflection of strong character and warrant our special recognition. She is a deserving recipient of this year’s distinguished alumni award”, said Gary Huff, President of the Fort Gay alumni group.

The alumni banquet will be held at the First Baptist Church, 301 West Pike St., in Louisa, KY. It is open to all past graduates of Fort Gay HS and their guests. The banquet will also honor the Class of 1968 and introduce new inductees to the FGHSAA Sports Hall of Fame. Tickets can be purchased in advance by contacting Mrs. Rita Pelfrey, Banquet Chairwoman, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by dialing, (304) 525-5563.



July 28, 2018

My most embarrassing moment I recall while growing up:

The old Methodist church on the downtown corner of Main Cross and Madison had several features that I thought was unique to that particular building, or at least things it had things I hadn’t seen elsewhere. Today I am focusing on the moveable altar railing that was normally set against the raised platform in the front of the sanctuary. This was reconfigured on the first Sunday of each month to use for Holy Communion. When it was moved away from the platform it provided a space for the preacher to walk in front of the kneeling members and serve them elements of bread and wine. Once pulled apart the wooden rail also revealed a portion of the trim that had holes designed for the little communion cups, once they were emptied of the sacrament. As indeed it should be, Holy Communion was a solemn occasion that called for prayer and private internal reflections on our spiritual walk. It was a time of rededication and making new commitments. The Scriptures warns us not to take the sacrament lightly, or without confessing our sins.

Being young, and the weak vessel that I was, I had a nature tuned more toward light-hearted thoughts and actions. I knew Holy Communion was a serious event and I understood its purpose. I, too, usually saw this time for personal reflection, but I was also too ready at losing focus. On one such Sunday, I carefully and quietly knelt upon the padded altar and bowed my head. After having received the ‘bread’, I saw the minister approaching with the tray of little cups that held the ‘wine.’ Taking my turn, I lifted a cup from the tray, but slightly bumped something in the process. The cup left my hand and landed askew on the tray spilling the juice on the polished silver tray. The cup made such a noise that I just knew was sufficient to be heard outside on the street. I felt every eye in the congregation sharing. The hair on the back of my neck stood at full attention. The minister, keeping his cool, offered the tray again that I might make another attempt. I took one, but I was already consumed with the urge to burst out with uncontrolled laughter. I suppressed it as best I could, but finally nature took its course and I sprayed the area behind the altar, barely missing the preacher. Coking on the bit of wine left in my mouth I tried to bit my lips. I stiffened my limbs in and attempt to control yet another outburst. The person beside me sent an elbow sharply my way that gave me the message that I was out of line. When it was over I had to march back up the aisle and take my seat. I’m certain that my face reflected my embarrassment, so I wanted to run from the church that day, but then again, I deserved having to stay through the following dry sermon.


My most embarrassing moment I’ve done as an adult

My wife and I had been on a day-long drive to explore a portion of the state. As shadows grew long in the day we became hungry. We had already eaten out at a restaurant a few hours earlier so we agreed this time to merely swing into a Walmart and buy some fried chicken. We could eat that while still on the road. After going into the store and rolling our shopping cart to the hot food section we scanned the display. I didn’t see the cut I had in mind, but just the fried drumsticks, thighs, and wings. The young lady working behind the counter came over and asked if she could help. Without thought I asked, “Do you have breasts?” She gave me a blank look as if she was reading my motives and gave a dry “Yes.” Then, realizing what I had said, I rushed to add, “Err, err, chicken, chicken breasts!”

It was too late. She turned red and said that she would get me some. With that she disappeared into the back. I was aghast when I looked around at my wife. She was nearly bent over try to suppress laughter. She was holding her hand over her mouth, but her eyes told me she had lost it. That’s all it took to turn my embarrassment into an uncontrolled blast of unbridled howling. When the girl came back out with the chicken she found my wife and I were each trying to hold each other up. Tears were running down our faces. Other nearby customers looked at us and scratched their heads wondering what had set us off, but we quickly grabbed the chicken, thanked the girl with a nod, and pushed our cart down the aisle in hopes of rapidly escaping the scene. We were afraid to look back. Suzie and I laughed and cried all the way out of the store. Even though years have passed, we still look at each other and laugh when we pass that particular Walmart.

Whether things go wrong while growing up or even after you are an adult, it is important not to take things too seriously. A mistake, a misunderstanding, or just a general loss of decorum, life is too short to worry or long fret about. Nothing endears a celebrity to his or her fans as much as showing they are human. We all slip and fail, but the real stars get back up, smile and press on. I wish that for you, dear reader. I am certain that God has a sense of humor, too. After all, He made us.

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July 26, 2018

Group has funded 59 scholarships to 26 scholars since 1999

Joe Damron Memorial Golf Tournament August 31


The Fort Gay High School Alumni Association will host the 6th annual Joe Damron Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday, August 31, 2018, at Eagle Ridge Golf Course at Yatesville Lake State Park in Louisa, KY.

The best ball tournament begins at 9:00 a.m. and is open to the public. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. “The golf course is in excellent condition again this year,” said Paul Salmons, the tournament chairman.

The Alumni Association hosts the tournament to raise money to support an endowed scholarship it established through the Marshall University Foundation Inc. Each year, a senior at Tolsia High School, Fort Gay, WV, is awarded a four-year academic scholarship to Marshall University. This year’s award winner will share $12,000 for the 2018-19 school year with three previous Tolsia graduates, all of whom are designated by Marshall as “Fort Gay Scholars”. The alumni group has funded 59 scholarships to 26 scholars since the initial grant in 1999.

The entry fee is $50 per person, or $200 to sponsor a team of four persons. The fee includes the cost for cart, green fees, a continental breakfast, snacks, beverages, and lunch. There also will be prizes and awards.

“If you are unable to play, you can still help us raise money for the scholarship by sponsoring a golf hole for $100,” added Salmons.

Please contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or (606) 652-4048, if you wish to play in the tournament or want additional details about hole sponsorship.