God is key for ex-NFL player

Meigs County is fortunate that Mike Bartrum returned home.

While playing 13 seasons in the National Football League, Bartrum brought his family back to Ohio from New Jersey in 2001 and is making a difference in the lives of children and adults in the county where he grew up.

Bartrum, an All-American tight end at Marshall University in 1992, is beginning his third year as head football coach at his alma mater Meigs High School in Pomeroy and is a Meigs County commissioner.

He is a devoted father to his four children and a role model to youth in this rural county along the Ohio River.

Eight years ago he started a religious-based flag football program for Meigs County youth. He and his wife, Jennifer, started a Christian preschool and Mike co-founded the Meigs Local Enrichment Foundation, which built a football stadium and track at Meigs High School and community walking trails.

Bartrum brought his inspirational message of listening to God, never giving up, helping others, working hard and following your dreams to a dinner to benefit the Circles Campaign of the Mid-Ohio Valley Inc. Thursday at Stout Memorial United Methodist Church in Parkersburg.

Circles is a community-based initiative that assists families in poverty through education and relationships as they work to attain self-sufficiency.

Bartrum, 43, told of working through adversity at Marshall when he was moved from quarterback to tight end and later suffered a severe knee injury.

Although upset at being moved to tight end, Bartrum learned that things happen for a reason. “I got to be a decent tight end at Marshall,” he said, which led to a long career in the National Football League and being inducted into Marshall’s Hall of Fame.

Bartrum told of being “fired” by three NFL teams and suffering serious injuries, but being determined to persevere through adversity – with God as his foundation.

“It’s not what happens in your life; it’s how you deal with it,” Bartrum said. “Treat people the way you want to be treated.”

Bartrum enjoys working with local youth, teaching them about responsibilities and being class acts on and off the football field.

Bartrum spoke Thursday on the need to follow the word of God.

“We need to listen, take a step back and do what God says,” Bartrum told the Circles Campaign audience.

“Work for the Lord and not man. And don’t quit,” Bartrum said.


Gene Butler of Williamstown is promising “smokin’ BBQ” when he opens his restaurant by the end of May in the former Paradise Grille location in Vienna. Hickory-smoked beef, pork, chicken and turkey, along with homemade sauces to spread on them, will be offered in the family-friendly restaurant at 1403 Grand Central Ave., Butler told me this week. Customers will be able to walk up to the kitchen window and watch as their meat orders are sliced and prepared. Butler, who owns the Polo Club on Depot Street in Parkersburg, is removing the bar that graced the Paradise Grille for many years before the restaurant closed in January. Autumn Moore, former owner/chef at the Paradise Grille, is now executive chef at DaVinci’s restaurant in Williamstown. Butler said his Southern roadhouse-style restaurant will offer takeout service for the brisket, ribs, wings and pulled pork sandwiches, catering and seating for about 80 people in booths and at picnic tables. The interior of the building is being repainted and redesigned. “I’ve liked this building and thought it would be good for a barbecue place,” said Butler, who owned the former Fishbone Grill nearby.


Melissa Traugh of Vienna has moved her Freedom Vapor e-cigarette store in Marietta, while looking to open a third location in south Parkersburg. The first Freedom Vapor opened last September at 1509 Grand Central Ave., Suite 5, in Vienna, followed by a store at 206 Putnam St. in Marietta in December. The Marietta store recently relocated to 450-H Lafayette Plaza, next to Peebles department store, where the foot traffic and parking are better, Traugh said. Overall, business has been good at the two locations selling electronic cigarettes, said Traugh. The Food and Drug Administration this week proposed rules regulating the products.

Contact Paul LaPann at