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‘Mickey’s House’ opens for homeless students

Parkersburg resident Mary “Mickey” Welch has enabled a house for homeless students to be built in North Charleston, S.C.

Welch cut the ribbon on “Mickey’s House” on Nov. 1 for Project H.O.M.E.’s house for homeless or displaced teens.

The newly built house will give students at R.B. Stall High School in North Charleston a place to stay while finishing their studies for graduation.

Kim Wilson, a 1970 graduate of Parkersburg High School, led the nonprofit Project H.O.M.E. (Helping Others Mirror Excellence) effort. Wilson is a former principal at R.B. Stall High School and the 2014 South Carolina High School Principal of the Year.

He is now executive director of secondary learning for the Charleston (S.C.) County School District. Wilson is Welch’s son-in-law.

About 1 1/2 years ago, Wilson learned about a house for homeless students in Missouri. It was like a real home for these teens who needed a safe, nurturing place to live while going to school.

Wilson and others set out to build a similar home in North Charleston so homeless students could attend Stall, a Title I high school in an urban setting.

While principal at Stall High School, Wilson said, several juniors and seniors in the school were homeless, resorting to “couch surfing” or living in cars.

Wilson told Welch about the project and she wanted to help. So did many others, including a 10-year-old girl who contributed her savings of $100.

“We had no shortage of help,” Wilson said. “It was a project of love.”

The group raised $500,000 for the house.

A maximum of four males, 17 years old and older, can live in “Mickey’s House” at any given time. House parents live in the home.

The goal is to build a house for homeless females in South Carolina and to replicate this project across the United States, Wilson said.

Of Welch, Wilson said she is “so generous and humble. She cares about disadvantaged kids.”

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Gene Haynes of Parkersburg got plenty of well-wishes and cake for his 90th birthday this week. Haynes, a State Farm insurance agent for the past 59 years (he still works), was surprised with a cake last Saturday afternoon in the press box facility’s Carol Steinhagen Suite at Don Drumm Stadium at Marietta College during the Marietta-Otterbein football game. Haynes, a 1945 graduate of Parkersburg High School and 1953 graduate of Marietta College, has been instrumental in raising money for the Marietta College football team. Haynes was a lineman and fullback on the Pioneer football team. Last Saturday night, Haynes was “kind of surprised” by a birthday party in his honor at his Market Street home, organized by his daughters Stacey Archer of Morgantown and Leslie DuBeau of Nyack, N.Y. Haynes’ sister, Rosalie Owens of Columbus, was among the family and friends at the “very nice” party. On Wednesday, Haynes’ birthday, he was surprised with a cake at a State Farm district breakfast meeting at the Blennerhassett Hotel. On Thursday, Community Bank delivered cookies and a card to Haynes at his Emerson Avenue office.

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Buddy James of Vienna likes the Beckley newspaper column that appeared shortly before his induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, West Virginia Chapter on Oct. 29 in Charleston. Wayne Bennett, longtime wrestling coach and referee and wrestling columnist for the Register-Herald in Beckley, wrote the following on Oct. 24 about James in connection with his wrestling hall of fame induction: “In January 1977, I was in Parkersburg for a high school wrestling match between the Big Reds and Beckley’s Flying Eagles. Parked near the entrance of Parkersburg’s field house was a new red Thunderbird with a Big Reds license plate. Believe me, this car was nice. I later saw the athletic director, Sam Mandich, and jokingly pointed to the T-Bird and asked, ‘Did you get a new car?’ He laughed and said, ‘No, I’m afraid not. That belongs to Coach James. The community bought it for his team winning the state football championship.'” Bennett wrote that he had never heard of such a “coaching reward in this state.” Bennett noted that Buddy James also received a new conversion van from the community when he retired from coaching in 1990. James’ football teams at PHS won state championships in 1976 and 1978. Bennett’s entire newspaper column can be found at register-herald.com/sports/sports–columns. Troy Owens, assistant wrestling coach at Parkersburg High School, also was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, West Virginia Chapter on Oct. 29.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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