Debbie RolenStaff Writer
December 18, 2012
MAN – A man who has devoted his life to the schools, athletics, and community was honored at Man Middle School.
Donnie Joe Burgess was honored with a Distinguished West Virginian Proclamation from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, had the circle in front of the school named in his honor and dedicated to him with a sign, and received the key to the Town of Man from Mayor Jim Blevins.
Mayor Blevins introduced Sen. Art Kirkendoll to read the governor’s proclamation. Sen. Kirkendoll has known Burgess for a number of years, he spoke of Burgess as having “bled the Hillbilly colors his entire life.”
“It was always a treat to go see the Hillbillies play on Friday night. Donnie Joe would be there at the games and had everybody ready to roll. His name will always be remembered. He comes from a great family. He really believed and loved the Man Hillbilly sports tradition and the community. I’ve never met anybody who doesn’t like Donnie Burgess. He represents Man very well. It’s truly an honor to be part of this,” said Kirkendoll.
The Proclamation reads: The State of West Virginia, Earl Ray Tomblin Governor, Whereas Donnie Joe Burgess was born July 20, 1966, in Logan General Hospital ,to Joe Keith and Louise Burgess of South Man, W.Va., and Whereas Donnie Joe Burgess has always been fascinated with sports attending as many practices and games as possible and where Donnie Joe Burgess is very involved in community services and enjoys spending time working at the food pantry and Whereas Donnie Joe Burgess attends Man First Baptist Church and works alongside his pastor to help others in need, and Whereas Donnie Joe Burgess is highly respected by his peers, as governor, I commend him for this outstanding contribution to his community. Therefore, I, Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor of the State of West Virginia, do hereby proclaim Donnie Joe Burgess to be a Distinguished Mountaineer.
Also attending were the President of the Logan County Commission Danny Godby and Commissioner Danny Ellis, Logan County Delegate Rupert “Rupie” Phillips and several members of the Logan County Board of Education, including Mark McGrew, Dr. Pat J. White, Jim Frye, and Board President Phyllis Adkins.
Mayor Blevins introduced Logan County Commissioner Willie Akers . Akers talked about knowing Donnie Joe when he was a coach at Logan High School. He said he used to run into Donnie Joe either at home or in Man and every time, Donnie would say, “We’re going to beat you today.”
”Everybody at Logan loved him, because he talked to everybody. I think he was one of the most remarkable men to be found anywhere. Donnie Joe is a legend in Logan County,” said Akers, “This is a great thing you are doing for him here today and I’m sure everybody here is proud of him.”
Continuing, Akers told of another time when Donnie came to see him and told him, “You know Coach, I really didn’t hate you. I’ve joined the church and I love you now.”
The principals of the elementary and middle school presented Donnie Joe with school colors for all the Man schools.
Mayor Blevins followed with the presentation of the Key to the Town of Man.
“In honor of Donnie Joe, I am privileged to present the Key to the Town of Man. Donnie Joe, this is your day,” said Blevins.
The beautifully landscaped traffic circle in front of the school was named in Donnie Joe’s honor. He and his mother cut the ribbon to the circle together and Mayor Blevins, with a little help from Delegate Phillips, unveiled the sign.
Donnie Joe was very humble and proud, and said he was surprised by the honors. “I had no idea they were going to do this,” he said.
The school hosted a reception after the ceremony.