HARTS - The world became a lesser place after the passing of Debbie Dingess.
It was a big blow, not only for the Dingess family but also to the Harts and Chapmanville communities.
Dingess, the wife of Chapmanville Regional High School assistant football coach and special teams coordinator Larry Dingess, coached little league and high school softball for 13 years in the Harts area.
Dingess, a Harts High School graduate, was also the former Principal of the Harts PK-8 school, a Marshall University graduate and huge fan of the Thundering Herd.
Dingess passed away at the age of 63 on December 27, 2018 after battling a litany of heath issues, including Parkinson's Disease, as well as kidney and heart failure.
The Harts/Chapmanville communities will be coming together on Wednesday, June 19 with the first ever Debbie Dingess Memorial Football Camp at the Harts football field. The free camp runs 3-6 p.m. and will be conducted by the Harts Middle School and CRHS football staff.
Larry Dingess credits Chapmanville Regional head coach Rob Dial, assistant Zach Belcher and Harts Middle School football coach Andy Bender for coming up with the idea for the camp as a way to honor Debbie.
"They decided to put this together and thought it would be a great way to honor Debbie. It will be just that," Larry Dingess said while taking a break on Wednesday during the Chapmanville football team's 7-on-7 event at Marshall's Chris Cline Athletic Complex. "She gave a lot to the community. She was a teacher, a coach and a principal. She never really got a chance to enjoy retirement because of her health."
Bender said the football camp will be a good tribute.
"We are so proud to honor Debbie and her family at our small community," he said. "We have had so much support. It is truly amazing. We plan to make this a yearly event."
Bender said as of mid week, 37 had so far signed up and he expects more than that closer to time.
"We will also be having a hot dog sale that day," he said. "Harts Middle and Chapmanville Regional High School staff will work together to help mentor the young athletes that participate."
CRHS assistant coach and newly named Defensive Coordinator James Barker agreed with Bender saying the football camp is a great way to honor Debbie.
"It's a great thing for the community and a great way to honor a great woman," Barker said.
Each camper will receive a free camp T-shirt.
If you haven't seen those yet they are pretty cool, as T-shirts go.
In the center of the shirt there is a fusion of the Harts Lions and Chapmanville Tigers logos in the center with red lettering saying "Debbie Dingess Memorial Football Camp."
Debbie Dingess was a big sports fan her entire life.
She faithfully attended the boys' basketball state tournament every year in addition to her coaching duties.
Debbie was a voracious reader and excellent cook. She loved to travel and was passionate about her hometown, the Thundering Herd and education.
Debbie served as a teacher at Atenville Elementary for 28 years and had only recently retired as principal of Harts PK-8 after serving as an administrator for 13 years.
Her entire adult life was spent in the service of thousands of children in the community of Harts. Throughout her career she received numerous awards and recognition including Lincoln County Teacher of the Year in 2000.
She was a National MicroSociety Training Consultant, served as a Teacher Leader on the Action Research Team at Atenville Elementary School, and nationally published two articles. She presented at Harvard University and was honored by the International Educational Research Association.
Her team's work led to Atenville Elementary being named a West Virginia School of Excellence, and recognized in Redbook Magazine as one of the "Best Schools in America."
She often said that she never worked a day in her life because she truly loved the faculty, staff, and students of Atenville and Harts PK-8. She created a family environment everywhere she went and was both loved and admired by those who worked for her and with her.
Debbie lived a lifestyle of service and leaves behind an incredible legacy.
She was survived by her mother: Ruth Dalton; husband: Larry Dingess; daughter: Katie (Justin) Endicott; son: Isaac (Brittany) Dingess; grandchildren: Emma, Noah, Rowan, and Sophia; brothers: Rick (Valerie) Dalton, Scotty Dalton; best friends: Cheryl Dingess, Darlene Dingess-Adkins, Jackie McCann, Rhonda Cremeans, Donna Collins and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
The football camp is sponsored by the Harts Buddy League.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org