Communities that persevere and have citizens who work hard for a common goal tend to be rewarded for their efforts.
And in Portsmouth, Ohio, there’s certainly quite a few of those citizens.
For her efforts in improving the health of the Portsmouth community, Wendi Waugh, who is the Administrative Director of SOMC Cancer Services and Community Health and Wellness, will be throwing out the first pitch, as per tradition of the distinguished citizen.
However, she’s just one example of the talent and hard work that is present in this area.
Air Force veteran Bill McClurg, along with Clay tennis coach Bobby Blanton, are among the main list of honorees in the 2017 edition of Portsmouth Days, which will take place on Sunday, April 23 when the Cincinnati Reds close their weekend series with the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ballpark. Game time is set for 1 p.m.
In Lisa Carver’s eyes, it’s a special honor for Portsmouth to even have a day dedicated to it by the organization — especially considering the fact that those types of occasions are becoming more rare by the year.
It’s the efforts of Waugh, however, that make a small community like Portsmouth worth celebrating.
In addition to saving numerous lives through her work at Southern Ohio Medical Center, Waugh has used her own experiences through work by continuing to win a fight against breast cancer. Waugh, who was first diagnosed in 2006, has won that battle for nearly 11 full years as of today.
“We’re one of the few communities that the Cincinnati Reds’ organization still does community days with,” Carver said. “The chamber names someone in the area that’s performed distinguished work for our community every year, and Wendy really did extraordinary work in improving the health of our community. So she’ll be throwing out the first pitch on behalf of the Portsmouth community.”
Veteran Bill McClurg knows what it’s like to represent something with pride. McClurg, who was in the Air Force and served on active duty during the Vietnam War, will be honored for his service to not only Portsmouth, but the United States during the second inning of Sunday’s contest.
“Bill and a group of friends of his are going to be honored as hometown heroes at the beginning of the second inning,” Carver said. “Because they are having their reunion for the first time since bootcamp, they’ve decided to make a weekend of it and are meeting in Cincinnati (for the Cubs-Reds series) as part of their reunion.”
Bobby Blanton, who is the tennis coach at Clay, will officially begin the festivities when he unleashes a hidden talent by singing the national anthem on Sunday. Blanton, who coached basketball at Green and has led the Clay tennis program to a 10-3 overall record and an 8-2 mark in SOC play in 2017, heads up a strong-willed group of individuals.
“Bobby submitted a tape to us, among a couple of others,” Carver said. “We submit them to the Reds’ organization, and they choose (their participant). They really liked his submission.”
Carver’s pride, however, comes from the familiar faces that she knows that she’ll see at Great American Ballpark as play commences on Sunday — when Portsmouth takes over the esteemed ballpark for a day.
“I think that we’re all within three sections of each other,” Carver said. “It’s kind of neat to be in a huge ballpark like (Great American) and see everybody that you know. Even if you don’t know them personally, you recognize them.”
Tickets are no longer available with the Chamber of Commerce but can still be purchased online at the discounted price, which is $20 for Sun Deck and Moon Deck tickets, at http://m.mlb.com/reds/tickets/specials/portsmouth. Kids 14 and younger will also receive a free Joey Votto Fathead Wall Decal, according to the promotion.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7