By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Early Friday morning, Erik Robinson said he felt like the loneliest guy in town when he arrived at Mitchell Stadium to start setting the stage for the 2013 Second Chance Rocks the Two Virginias concert, but that feeling disappeared quickly when wave after wave of volunteers started showing up to share the burden of getting the job done.
“That’s my stage crew out there right now,” Robinson said as he pointed in the direction of a dozen or more young men gathered near the middle of the June O. Shott Field. The young men were almost all seniors on the Bluefield High School football team, with one adult, Jake Lilly, keeping them on task.
“I’ve been working with the Beaver linebackers this year,” Lilly said. Lilly is now in his senior season at Concord University. He was recently named a pre-season All-American by Beyond Sports Network, and has been attracting attention from professional football teams. He volunteered last year and came back for more in 2013. “I’ve been blessed,” Lilly said.
“I had Graham Middle School students in here helping me set up chairs in the morning and Graham High School seniors out here to finish up,” Robinson said. “Jacob Keesling was a big help in getting us off to a good start.”
Kent Martin, production manager with Roanoke, Va., based SRO Productions said that after the derecho-shortened concert last year, he received calls from several other concert stagers asking him when he knew he had to stop the music. “They were trying to know what we did so they could prepare themselves for what might happen.”
Shadeed Fitzgerald and Charles Ross — both seniors on the BHS football team — said they enjoyed getting the stage set up last year, and even enjoyed working the concert.
“It was great with all of these people in here,” Ross said.
“It was crowded, but we all had a good time,” Fitzgerald said. “We helped get the equipment off the stage when one of the performers finished, and helped get equipment back on stage for the next act.”
“Don’t do anything foolish tonight,” Martin said to the young men as they were leaving Mitchell Stadium. “Remember, we need you here at 7 a.m., and we’ll be working a long day.”
Eric Bowles of BowlesBBQ.com in Glenwood was working to set up a 65-foot-long complete restaurant along the inner fence in the north end zone of Mitchell Stadium. “We were here last year — both times — and we learned a lot,” Bowles said. “It was so hot that first time that people were drinking a lot of water. Anyone who brought a lot of water for the second concert, carried it right back out with them because it was cooler.”
Charlie Stacy, eastern district representative on the Tazewell County, Va., board of supervisors, didn’t get home from the Thursday night meeting until 1:30 a.m. Friday morning, yet he, and his son Nick worked in the hot sun to transport materials from one end of the stadium to another.
“Good job,” Charlie Stacy said to his son after they finished lashing the guidelines of a canvas canopy around a block. Nick Stacy’s favorite part appeared to be traveling in the Gator 4-by-4 four wheeler — always while wearing a seat belt.
“I just checked the Weather Channel and they have changed the partly sunny forecast for (today) to partly cloudy,” Danny Robinson, Erik Robinson’s dad said. “I think we’re going to have great weather for the concert — not too hot and just right.” Danny Robinson is a railroader with Norfolk Southern Railway, but he took his vacation this year to be able to volunteer throughout the show and to help wherever he is needed.
“These boys — Erik and Billy Wagner, really care about the people here,” Danny Robinson said.
“There are more volunteers here this year than there were in either of the first two years,” Stacy said. “I think that more people are just finding out how much fun it is to volunteer for this event.”
Gates open at noon today and the music starts at 1:30 p.m.
— Contact Bill Archer at email@example.com