BLUEFIELD — At about 8:15 a.m., Saturday morning, Erik Robinson, executive director of the Second Chance Learning Center was folding chairs and placing them in stacks on the turf of the June O. Shott Field at Mitchell Stadium.
Friday had been a rough night. With record-high temperatures, and an outdoor concert that had been in the works for nearly a year, Robinson appeared to have a lot on his mind as he folded and stacked chairs before more volunteers along with city employees started showing up to help remove the chairs and return the stadium to top shape.
He smiled, laughed at jokes, fielded questions and remained on task. He and his friend, Billy Wagner, have been remaining on task for the past few years by helping high school students to stay in school, and even helping most of them take the next step toward college or job training.
“I know my name was mentioned a lot last night, and not in a good way,” Robinson said as he continued to fold and stack chairs.
“These guys — Billy Wagner and Erik Robinson — saved lives last night,” Kent Martin said at about noon on Saturday, when he and members of the Bluefield High School football team were dismantling the elaborate stage and stowing it in the trailer of a semi-truck. Martin, a 30-year veteran of producing outdoor concerts, said that the stage would have to be unpacked again in Roanoke, Va., and checked for structural integrity.
“The stage moved last night,” Martin, production manager of Roanoke-based SRO Productions said. “When that wind came through, it moved the stage. To tell you how strong the wind was, it moved a Jersey Wall that was beside the stage,” he said pointing to a section of concrete traditionally used to separate lanes on interstate highways. He said each Jersey Wall weighs more than 5,000 pounds.