CHIEF LOGAN STATE PARK — Chad Pennington thinks the Chief Logan Rec Center is “awesome”.
Pennington, a former Heisman Trophy candidate as quarterback at Marshall University and later one of the top QBs in NFL history, took a tour of the Chief Logan Rec Center on Thursday morning.
Pennington was touring southern West Virginia and visiting sites that had received grant money from his 1st and 10 Foundation.
In 2010, Pennington, through his 1st and 10 Foundation, gave a $15,000 grant to the Rec Center to help purchase fitness equipment as the center was just getting started.
On Thursday, Pennington got a good look at how the grant money was spent and said he was pleased to see it went to such a great cause.
“You have a certain expectation when you come and visit a facility and this recreational center exceeded my expectations,” Pennington said. “It blew me out of the water because of all the great things going on here. What makes the center is the people. It’s great to see what good the center is doing and the excitement and enjoyment people are getting here, because that’s what it’s all about. That’s why you build facilities like this. The Chief Logan Rec Center is an amazing place.
“You couldn’t ask for anything better. When we look at our grants throughout the year, we try to pick organizations that will use the money appropriately and to benefit citizens in multiple communities. The Chief Logan Rec Center is the epitome of that.”
According to the foundation’s website, www.1stand10foundation.com, Chad Pennington and his wife, Robin, created the 1st and 10 Foundation in 2003 with the mission to build stronger communities by funding programs and institutions that seek to improve the quality of life throughout southern West Virginia and the tri-state area as well as east Tennessee, where Pennington was born and raised.
When Pennington gave the funding to the Rec Center, Logan County was the unhealthiest county in the nation. Now, the Rec Center has more than 2,100 members and is getting ready for an expansion. The county’s population is also getting healthy, and Pennington said the Rec Center is playing a big role in that improvement.
Pennington said the Rec Center impressed him and so did the people’s desire to get healthy.
“This facility is the epitome of what our foundation, our goal and mission statement is and that is to work in the smaller, rural areas of southern West Virginia and be able to support centers and programs that are trying to improve the quality of life,” Pennington said. “These smaller areas deserve to have opportunities, not only for kids, but for all age groups to be able to come in here and have a great social connection with each other and, more importantly, while you are experiencing that social connection, you improve your quality of life through your health,” Pennington said. “We’ve been given a great blessing by our Good Lord called life and to be able to enjoy that and to be able to enjoy the quality of that is where a place like the Chief Logan Rec Center comes in. That’s what it’s all about.”
Pennington said living a healthy lifestyle takes hard work and that’s what he sees going on at the Chief Logan Rec Center.
“Living a healthy lifestyle is a simple concept when you think about it, but it’s not easy,” Pennington said. “Having a rec center and motivated people to run it and do it the correct way is where it’s at. When you have that, it makes the path for the local citizen much smoother. They can come and be a part of the rec center and its programs and they can feel good about the work they’re putting in, feel good about having friends around you to motivate you and get you up off the couch and step out of the comfort zone and come in here and do something. Once you experience it, you really enjoy it and take pride in it.”
West Virginia Senator Art Kirkendoll was Logan County Commission president when the Rec Center idea was first pitched to then-Governor Joe Manchin, who told Kirkendoll and commissioners Danny Godby and Willie Akers and a group of business people led by Wally Thornhill, that if the county could find a way to run the facility, he’d find the money to build it.
Kirkendoll, who toured the facility with Logan County Commission President Danny Godby, Commissioner Willie Akers, County Administrator Roscoe “Rocky” Adkins and Rec Center Director Terry Mullins, said he was pleased that Pennington wanted to come to Logan to visit the Rec Center because it shows his commitment to health and fitness for southern West Virginia.
“Chad touring the facility today showed what a quality guy he is. He believes in kids having the ability to be healthy and fit,” Kirkendoll said. “Him coming here shows he is committed to healthy living. We made a commitment, along with the county commissioners, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Sen. Joe Manchin and we have such a great facility here in southern West Virginia. It’s not only a workout place, it’s a health facility and I want to stress that. It is also a safety sanction. because we’re teaching our school kids, at an early age, how to swim, which on vacation is always dangerous when they are around water.
“I want to thank the county commission and Logan County Schools for their commitment and Sen. Manchin and Gov. Tomblin, because we all worked together in one of the most cooperative efforts ever. This is a testimony that not only does southern West work hard and try to do the right things, but we’re also trying to make everyone healthy.”
The website said that in less than a decade, the 1st and 10 Foundation has granted more than $1 million to its three geographical areas. Numerous programs and initiatives have also been established to create opportunities and experiences for the citizens of these areas.
A Heisman Trophy finalist in 1999, Pennington led the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team to a perfect 13-0 season. That same year, Chad was also a Rhodes Scholar finalist. He established numerous school records as quarterback at Marshall, including touchdowns with a total of 123, passing yards with 14,098, completion percentage at 63.3 percent, completions with 1,084, attempts with 1,712 and yards in total offense with 14,036 yards. Pennington was a GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team pick, and a two-time recipient of the Anson Mount Award, given by Playboy Magazine to the nation’s top student-athlete.
Pennington was chosen by the New York Jets in the first round of the 2000 draft as the 18th overall pick and the first quarterback chosen that year. Pennington ranks fourth in Jets history for all-time career passing yards and his 13,738 career passing yards on 1,919 attempts for 1,259 completions place him behind only Joe Namath (27,057), Ken O’Brien (24,386) and Richard Todd (18,241). Pennington ranks first in completions with 107, attempts with 178, yards with 1,166 and TDs with seven in Jets’ postseason history.
In 2008, Pennington was signed by the Miami Dolphins and he led the team to the greatest turnaround in NFL history. The Dolphins finished the 2008 season with an 11-5 record and an AFC East Division Championship.
During his 11-year NFL career, Pennington was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year twice, becoming the only player since the awards inception to do so. He finished second in MVP voting to Peyton Manning in 2008 and is the NFL’s all-time completion percentage leader.
In April of 2007, Pennington was a recipient of a JB Award presented by James Brown of CBS Sports’ The NFL Today show. This award recognizes NFL players who exemplify leadership, dedication and commitment to team and community. Recipients of the JB Award are nominated by their teammates at the end of the season for their commitment to achieve excellence off the field through building better communities and stronger families.
Pennington is currently an analyst with FOX Sports and said he has no intentions of returning to active competition.
Pennington said he is still looking at building his own recreational facility in southern West Virginia.
“As we move forward, 2013 is the 10th anniversary of the foundation, and now that I’m moving away from the game and away from the NFL, we’re looking forward to being more involved with building more facilities,” Pennington said. “To me, when I look at southern West Virginia, I see a need for more facilities so that we’re not fighting over the use of one building because we have kids programs, men’s leagues, women’s leagues, senior citizen programs and so that we have ample facilities to do all these great ideas that people have and want to be a part of.”
Pennington talked with Wyatt Scaggs, who has been one of the Rec Center’s major success stories.
Scaggs, the owner of Baisden Brothers Hardware, has lost 103 pounds by working out at the Chief Logan Rec Center. He started out swimming each day and continually worked to lose the weight he’d carried for so many years.
Now, Scaggs said he is maintaining his weight and actually is building more muscle mass the more he works out.
“I’m where I need to be,” Scaggs said. “Now, I’m working out and I’m getting stronger and putting on muscle mass.”
Scaggs was interviewed by Pennington’s film crew from Marshall University about how the Chief Logan Rec Center had impacted his life.
“The whole Rec Center has really changed my life. Three years ago, I weighed 298 pounds and today I weigh 195,” Scaggs said. “I come and work out and it’s made me feel so much better. I’m not on medicines like I was. I’ve lost weight and I feel better. I have more energy.
“I’ve seen several people throughout the community that are committed to it. And you have to commit to it to work out and lose weight. It’s been a change in lifestyle. The Rec Center opens at 6 a.m. and people are here when they close at 9 p.m. They come from all different social backgrounds. Different people come all day long. This has been a great thing for the community.”
Scaggs thanked Pennington for his generous donation.
“We used the money from the 1st and 10 Foundation to buy exercise equipment for adults and children,” Scaggs said. “We bought swimming supplies, elliptical machines and all different fitness equipment that is in use throughout the facility. The 1st and 10 Foundation’s donation has been wonderful.
“The center is for everyone. It’s not a country club. It’s a true community and recreation center for people not only in Logan County, but also for people in Boone and Mingo counties and even people as far away as Charleston who come down to use the facility.”
The Chief Logan Rec Center is a 64,000-square foot recreational center with three indoor tennis courts; an Olympic-style, 25-yard, eight-lane indoor swimming pool; an indoor walking track and a fitness room with commercial cardiovascular and resistance equipment.
The competition-size swimming pool provides area schools a venue for swim meets, children a place to take swim lessons
and families a place to swim together.
The climate-controlled fitness center featuring state-of-the-art workout equipment and the Rec Center offers numerous fitness programs, including zumba, sports yoga, water aerobics, karate, cardio kickboxing, spinning and step aerobics, among others.
“We have focused on providing our members with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, qualified instructors, professional and knowledgeable staff members, a wide range of educational opportunities and programs, in clean, convenient, accessible facilities,” the Chief Logan Rec Center’s website, www.chiefloganreccenter.org, says. “As the demand for quality fitness facilities has grown, so have we. Our mission continues to be offering fitness programs and services that will safely enhance the quality of your life—now, and for the future. Because how you manage your health today impacts how you enjoy the rest of your life.”
The Rec Center has already hosted two swim meets and two mixed martial arts tournaments since it opened nearly three years ago.
For more information about the Chief Logan Rec Center, visit its website at www.chiefloganreccenter.org or call 304-855-8591.
To contact Staff Writer Michael Browning, call 304-752-6950, extension 309, or email him at email@example.com.