Morning Air Show

THESE PEOPLE ARE EXTRAORDINARY

It would be embarrassing if it were not so humbling.

Hours after the West Virginia mine explosion Monday, scores of journalists from all over the country started arriving — in a very rural area with no communications or places to sleep closer than an hour's drive away.
When the governor began giving press briefings at Marsh Fork Elementary School (this week happens to be spring break, so the children are out), journalists began getting comfortable at the site a few miles from the mine entrance, and we never left. By Tuesday, a couple dozen satellite trucks filled the parking lot, and classrooms with tiny chairs and paintings on the walls were turned into newsrooms and bedrooms.
And all of a sudden there was food — a lot of food. Pepperoni Pizza. Pulled pork and beans. Fried chicken, potatoes and green beans. Cookies. Crackers. Doughnuts of all stripes.

Usually I lose a few pounds while covering stories like this. The deadlines are too tight, the access to food often limited. This time, I'll be going home a little rounder, and with a touched heart.

The food was cooked by residents and donated by businesses in this community. Some of it came by way of a local Red Cross, a Wal-Mart and a United Way, but even more was the home cooking of kind West Virginians who just wanted to take care of us.
Imagine, here we are, an aggressive and hard-charging bunch of journalists in the middle of this devastated community, and it's THEY who are taking care of US!
The kindness hasn't been lost on any of us. By Thursday, two plastic jars — "school collection" and "community collection" — were put out, and by Friday both had a few hundred dollars. I feel like we owe this school and these people so much more.
When I asked interim principal Shelly Prince how folks could be so giving at a time like this, she said that many felt it was soothing to help others. This situation made them feel helpless, and helping others was doing something. She also said it gave people a chance to show the world what West Virginians are "really like."
"Often on TV, we are not portrayed in such a good manner. We often are portrayed as ignorant and backward," she said. "But we are just ordinary people who live ordinary lives."
I have to disagree. These people are extraordinary.
Peter Prengaman, multimedia editor at the AP's South Desk in Atlanta, is in West Virginia to help cover the coal mine disaster.
 

PRESIDENT PICKS WVU

President says...the winner of the WVU-Duke game will win the National Championship. And it appears he favors West Virginia. Watch the video. Talk about his bracket and WVU near the end of the Video.
 

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WVU & MAKE A WISH BASKETBALLS

Indianapolis – Some 51 years ago, the West Virginia Mountaineers basketball team came within a point of winning the national championship, losing to California 71-70 in the dramatic title game. Now the Mountaineers are back in the hunt for that elusive first national title, just two games shy of winning it all.
Reserve yours by calling 1-800-345-2868 or visiting www.nikcosports.com

To honor this inspirational story that has captivated the entire state of West Virginia and college basketball fans all over, Nikco Sports announced it will produce a limited edition, full-sized commemorative Wilson basketball to salute the Final Four appearance by the Mountaineers, a project that will also raise $7.00 per each basketball sold for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of West Virginia to help youngsters who have life-threatening medical conditions. In recent years, Nikco Sports has raised more than $1.7 million for children’s charities.

Only 5,000 basketballs will be produced and these “Season To Remember” NCAA Final Four basketballs to honor West Virginia’s first Final Four appearance in 51 years can be reserved by calling 1-800-345-2868 or visiting www.nikcosports.com. Each basketball comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity to enhance the value and collectibility of the product.

The full-sized basketball features 4 white panels, one of which will contain the colorful official Final Four logo, and another the official Wilson logo, which is the basketball used during the Final Four tournament. The other two white panels will recap the Road to the Final Four, with results of every tourney game played by West Virginia through the Final Four, positioned around the official West Virginia school logo.

The final white panel is headlined A Season To Remember and will list the scores and opponents of each West Virginia regular season game, so that fans will have a complete recap of this historic season which has resulted in a 31-6 mark to date..

“This has been a terrific run for this West Virginia team and I know Mountaineer fans are really thrilled to be back in the championship hunt after 51 years. It truly is an inspiring story,” noted Nikco Sports president and CEO Craig Bidner, whose company has continued to give back to the community since its inception in 1992.

“We are honored to be a small part of recognizing their achievement, and presenting a commemorative item that will certainly be the envy of any West Virginia Mountaineers fan, while at the same time recognizing a great group of youngsters who depend upon the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of West Virginia.”

About the Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Born in 1980 when a group of caring individuals helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 65 chapters in the U.S. and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants more than 12,600 wishes a year and has granted more than 168,000 wishes in the U.S. since inception.