PC to honor Sandy Hook victim Tuesday

The Newtown, Conn., school shooting in December has affected a lot of people -maybe more than any other such tragedy since it involved mainly young children.

One can only imagine what transpired that fateful day at Sandy Hook Elementary, but Parkersburg Catholic High School head baseball coach Tom Harvey has looked at the incident from a different viewpoint than most of us in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

That’s because Caroline Previdi, the 6-year-old daughter of one of his Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers from Bethany College, was killed that day.

”At the time we were in school, our chapter only had about 25 to 30 guys, so we were a close-knit group,” said Harvey. ”Jeff Previdi (from Newtown) was one year ahead of me in school, but we both played football my freshman year at Bethany and lived across the lounge from one another.”

So it affected Harvey personally the morning of Dec 14. ”As soon as the name Newtown came across the computer, my phone was buzzing non-stop,” he related. ”All of the guys we went to school with were asking if anyone had heard from Prev. It was a very nerve-racking time.

”Finally, his college roommate received a message from Prev. All it said was: ‘She’s gone.’ ”

Harvey said that ”almost immediately, all of our group decided to do something to honor Caroline, so we came up with an idea for a scholarship fund.”

The initial response from Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers from all over the country totaled nearly $15,000 in just one week and now has raised almost $50,000 with an ultimate goal of $100,000.

Ever since the terrible news became reality that December day, Harvey has ” looked for a way to do something here in Parkersburg to benefit the fund we set up.”

And after John Bowers – Morgantown High head football coach and also a fraternity brother of Harvey at Bethany -along with his players, school staff and students held a fundraiser that netted $2,000 to $3,000, ”that got me thinking about the idea of using one of our baseball games for the same purpose,” said Harvey.

Since Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Charleston Catholic is the Crusaders’ only game at Bennett Stump Field in City Park this season, ”I picked it because we’re playing a pretty good team,” said Harvey. ”So I’m hoping to get a big crowd to raise some money in Caroline’s memory since Jeff was a real good friend of mine, and it just seems like something we should do.

”Whatever we can raise Tuesday will be peanuts to what we eventually raise as a group, but we just want to make a contribution from Parkerburg Catholic baseball and remember Caroline.”

The general fraternity of Beta Theta Pi is administering the scholarship fund, with a yearly scholarship of $1,325 to be awarded to an education major or someone in the education field who’s either a Beta Theta Pi or a graduate of Sandy Hook Elementary.

Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at shemmelgarn@newsandsentinel.com