William Wade

WELCH – The Gary and Northfork areas offer a pair of inductees each for the 2019 McDowell County Sports Hall of Fame that will take place Saturday, June 1 at Mount View High School at 1 pm.

That quartet offers sparkling qualifications, as well as interesting side stories, as a portion of their route to the Hall of Fame.

One of the Gary inductees played semi-pro baseball, with Satchel Paige as a teammate.

Another once scored six touchdowns in one high school game before embarking on a military career after high school.

One of Northfork’s honorees served as longtime President of the Blue Demon Booster’s Club and spearheaded a drive to purchase blazers and travel bags for team members. He worked in the concession stand at Northfork home games before becoming the unmistakable Voice of the Blue Demons on the Public Address System at football games.

The other representative from Northfork, an ordained minister, worked in the District Attorney’s office in one of the Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City on the fateful day of September 11, 2001. Had he not decided to stop at a restaurant to eat breakfast on his way to work, he would have been on the job when the Towers were attacked. On another occasion, he was accidentally wounded several times by mistake in a drive-by shooting.

These four inductees present four more stories of success, achievement and fortitude on their paths to the ninth induction class of the McDowell County Sports Hall of Fame.

Charles “Chick” Brown starred in football and basketball at Gary District under the leadership of Hall of Fame Coach James Wilkerson.

When he was a senior in 1941, the Bulldogs finished as national football runners-up to Roosevelt High School of Gary, Indiana.

He turned down a scholarship offer after graduation and went to work at U. S. Steel in Gary.

From 1940 through 1942, Brown played semi-pro baseball in Flint, MI, where Satchel Paige was one of his teammates.

In 2008, he was inducted into the Gary District High School Hall of Fame and has been inducted into the West Virginia All-Black Schools Sports and Academic Hall of Fame.

Chick and his wife Sophia are the parents of Karen, Tracy, Gary, Randall and Charles Jr.

Eddie Smith graduated from Gary District in 1957, having excelled in both football and basketball under Hall of Fame coaches James Wilkerson and Ergie Smith.

As a senior, he once scored six touchdowns in one game and was an All-State football selection as a senior.

After high school, Smith joined the Army and led the 25th Division in scoring on its football team in 1964. The next year, he was named Most Valuable Player.

Eddie coached little league basketball and football teams while in the Army, going unbeaten over a four year stretch.

Smith and wife Doris are parents of sons Charles and Lamont.

Roy Carson, the longtime Voice of the Blue Demons in football was actually a graduate of Big Creek High School, graduating in 1939 at the age of 16 after being double promoted.

After graduation, he joined the Army where he saw action in China, Burma and India as a tail gunner and mechanic during World War II.

He moved to the Northfork area after his military service and became associated with Northfork-Elkhorn and later Northfork, where he was longtime President of the Boosters’ Club. He was the Manager of the Elkhorn Public Service District.

Carson did whatever he needed to make the Boosters’ Club a success, from working in the concession stand to later moving into the Press Box in football to become the Voice of the Blue Demons.

His sense of humor spilled over onto the microphone, as he would say when Northfork faced a long distance to reach a first down, “Third down and more yards than I care to innumerate.”

Giving Northfork players nicknames was also a point of pride with Roy, as he named many of them, such as “Terrible” Tom Beasley, Wayne “Night Train” Carrington, and William Price, who became William, the Price is Right.

One of his proudest moments came when the Boosters’ Club, with Roy as President, purchased blue blazers for football and basketball team members to wear to games, as well as travel bags for the basketball players to carry their uniforms.

An avid baseball fan, Carson was known to take in a game in the afternoon at Welch’s Blakely Field and then drive to Bluefield to see another that same evening.

Roy will be honored posthumously.

He and his late wife Lil were the parents of daughters Linda, Carolyn and Glenna.

William Wade excelled in basketball, football and baseball at Northfork under the leadership of Hall of Fame coaches Jennings Boyd, John Brant and Henry Winkfield respectively.

He played on three state championship basketball teams for the Blue Demons, serving as Captain of Northfork’s basketball team as a senior.

Wade went on to play both basketball and football at Fairmont State College, where he was named Outstanding Freshman in basketball his initial year.

An outstanding student in both high school and college, William became an ordained minister.

On his way to work on September 11, 2001, he made the infrequent decision to stop for breakfast on his way to work at the World Trade Center.

That decision, no doubt, saved his life, as the Towers of the WTC were attacked while he was a safe distance away eating breakfast.

On another occasion, he was talking with some friends on the street when a drive-by shooter accidentally fired multiple shots that Wade’s body caught.

Wade and his wife Reporia are the parents of daughters Brenda, Reporia, Raquel and Raven.

These are four more brief bios of the deserving inductees into Saturday’s McDowell County Hall of Fame induction.

The Hall is sponsored by the Welch Lions Club.

Tickets are still available by calling Spencer’s Catering at (304) 862-2045 for reservations, or by making reservations online at welchlions@yahoo.com.


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