Pennington keynote speaker for Marshall event tonight

PARKERSBURG -The Mid-Ohio Valley will “Go Green” today when the Marshall University Alumni Thundering Bison Club of the Mid-Ohio Valley will conduct its annual Scholarship and Vision Campaign Fundraiser at Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna.

The fundraiser begins at 5:30 p.m. The theme of the event is “Investing in Our Youth of the Mid-Ohio Valley.” Guest speakers include Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp and Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick. The keynote speaker is Marshall Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Chad Pennington.

“We are looking forward to seeing all of our friends in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” Hamrick said. “But most important, it will be an opportunity for everyone to hear from one of our finest leaders and our most distinguished ambassador for Marshall University, Chad Pennington.

“I know his message will resonate with coaches, athletes and parents alike, and they will all be encouraged and challenged by Chad.”

Part of the night’s festivities will pay tribute to one of the area’s very own who has dedicated his time and efforts toward giving back to the same school he spent four years attending. North End Tavern owner Joe Roedersheimer is a 1972 graduate of Marshall University and is notorious for hosting the annual “Rally in the Alley” as part of the Thundering Herd Coaches Caravan.

“Because of Joe’s decades of hard work and the annual Rally in the Alley, Marshall University would not have such a presence in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” said Laurie Martin, who serves as president of the Marshall University Alumni Thundering Bison Club.”

Roedersheimer’s presence with Marshall University is not isolated to the tailgate-style atmosphere he creates behind the NET every year where fans can get up close and personal with coaches from Thundering Herd athletics. In the past, he conducted golf outings and is known to schedule bus trips as part of his fundraising for the university.

“I’m looking forward to Monday – it feels good to be honored by the local group,” Roedersheimer said. “Anytime you get recognized by your peers, that’s good.”

Roedersheimer is a native of the Mid-Ohio Valley and graduated from Parkersburg Catholic High School in 1968.

He was on campus at Marshall University in 1970 when an airplane crash near Huntington claimed the lives of all 75 individuals on board, including 37 members of the Thundering Herd football team and eight members of the coaching staff.

“After I graduated from college, I was one of those guys who could see things happening in this area – Marshall was a good quality school just like anywhere else in the country,” Roedersheimer said. “It needed more awareness and more money, and there was not a real effort to contribute funds in this area.

“I was down at Marshall when the disaster happened and I saw the way the community came together. I felt a connection and I continue to support the school as much as possible.”

After receiving his degree from Marshall, Roedersheimer was recruited by Wood County schools to become a special education teacher. Eight years later, he left the profession and became owner of the NET.

“I worked at a bar in Huntington and I learned a lot,” Roedersheimer said. “My mom was a great cook, so I enjoyed cooking. The general atmosphere at the NET is sports oriented. It’s a nice place for people to come in and talk about sports.”

Over the past four years, the Marshall University Alumni Thundering Bison Club of the Mid-Ohio Valley has awarded $29,000 in scholarships to local high school students and more than $14,000 to the MU Alumni Association and Vision Campaign.

Tickets for the event range from $50 to $100 per person based on the tier. Table sponsorships are $800 for 10 tickets. For ticket information, contact Laurie Martin, chapter president at or by phone at (304) 488-3297.