Todd Heslep of Parkersburg has been experiencing difficult times. He has undergone surgery for brain cancer and is being treated with radiation and chemotherapy.
Last Sunday's adventure raised his spirits and "got me back in the game ... a little bit," he said. Heslep, a longtime chef at area restaurants, and his friend Curt Travis prepared and delivered a meal for .38 Special before the rock group's concert at the Parkersburg Homecoming.
Heslep said they prepared shrimp kashmiri, Cajun chicken wraps, red-skin potato salad, fresh fruit salad, homemade chocolate chip cookies and sweet dill pickles Heslep had canned. The two talked to the musicians on their tour bus, received VIP passes to the concert and met with .38 Special after the performance, Heslep said.
"What a night. They put on a great show," Heslep told me Tuesday. "I had my arms on the stage. It was awesome."
Travis, a 1972 Williamstown High School graduate who works in the restaurant business, arranged for Heslep's outing through his friendship with the sister of .38 Special's lead singer and co-founder Don Barnes. Travis said he received an e-mail from Barnes saying the Parkersburg crowd was wonderful and the band appreciated the home-cooked meal.
Anna Kiger relocated after Hurricane Katrina pounded New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005, even though her home in suburban Slidell, La., was not damaged. "The water reached six inches from our front door," she told me this week. "Almost every house in our neighborhood lost roofs and had massive water damage. We had china, toilets, roof shingles and roof rafters on our lot" after Katrina.
Kiger and her family moved to Dallas in February 2007 because the New Orleans area hospitals where she worked were heavily damaged by Katrina. Kiger, a 1977 graduate of Parkersburg High School, is senior director of patient care services for Tenet Healthcare Corp., based in Dallas. She has a nursing degree from West Virginia University, a master's in nursing from Duquesne, a master's in business administration from Averett University in Virginia and a doctorate from Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is studying for her doctorate in nursing from Texas Tech.
Kiger celebrated her 50th birthday last Saturday at a Hawaiian-theme party at her mother's (Audra Kiger) house in Vienna. Kiger said she plans to retire in the New Orleans area. She enjoys the fresh seafood, cultural amenities, lifestyle and Southern charm of New Orleans.
Connor Louden of Vienna is following in the footsteps of his father, Barry, and brother, Asher, at West Virginia University School of Medicine. Connor, who majored in psychology at Princeton University where he also played football, is a first year medical student at WVU. Dr. Barry Louden, a Parkersburg neurologist, received his medical degree from WVU in 1976 and completed an internship in neurology at WVU. Dr. Asher Louden, a Parkersburg dermatologist, graduated from Princeton and received his medical degree from WVU in 2004, before heading to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for his internship and residency. Jo Ellen Louden, Asher and Connor's mother, was pleased her sons were both elected to Sigma Xi science honorary at Princeton. Family tradition may have swayed Connor's decision a bit to attend WVU School of Medicine, his father said. Connor's uncle, Mark Louden, is an emergency room physician in Raleigh, N.C., and his grandfather, Dr. Jack Stark, was a longtime local physician.
Diane Hartley of Parkersburg appreciates the efforts of the emergency medical staff and Homecoming volunteers who rushed to her aid during The Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon last Saturday. Hartley, 60, collapsed after finishing the 13.1-mile race but was quickly caught by volunteers before she hit the pavement and was wheeled to a tent for a medical examination. Hartley said her legs gave out, but she feels fine now. In her fourth Parkersburg half marathon, Hartley, who uses a walker because of balance problems, finished third in the walkers division for 60-69 year-old women, with a time of 3 hours 9 minutes and 15 seconds.
Contact Paul LaPann at firstname.lastname@example.org