The Clarksburg community gathered in the rain last night at the Clarksburg High School football field to dedicate a memorial boulder to the four members of the 2016 senior class that have died in the last year.
Friends and family gathered for the ceremony to honor Cary Greene, Jacob Dennis, Patrick Shifflett and John DeReggi. Greene, Dennis, and Shifflett were killed when the pickup truck they were riding in left the road and hit a tree in June. They were all members of the Clarksburg Coyote football team. John DeReggi was killed by an Amtrak train in September 2015. All four boys were good friends.
According to Ibi Sofillas, president of the Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce, the memorial came about through partnerships with a number of Clarksburg community organizations including; the Chamber, and Clarksburg Boosters, Clarksburg High School, and the Clarksburg High School Parent, Teacher, and Student Association.
As the Clarksburg Coyote football team opens up is 2016 season against Churchill High School tonight, each Clarksburg player will honor their fallen teammates by touching the memorial boulder before the game.
In July, Clarksburg Head Coach that football team is staying strong and honoring their lost members at every off-season weight-training session and workout and the team will especially honor the boys each time the take the field this season.
“We have always had a tradition of raising four fingers to symbolize the fourth quarter and staying strong, many teams have done that,” said Hurd. “But this year, we are going to be taking the field with four fingers up to symbolize the four men we’ve lost. The thumb held inside meaning Clarksburg Strong, and the four fingers are meaning J-J-C-P – meaning John, Jacob, Cary, and Pat.”
The stone for the memorial was donated by Bruce Allentuck, of Clarksburg-based Allentuck Landscaping. “It hits the hearts strings,” said Allentuck. “I can’t imagine what those parents are going through.” Allentuck, who lives in the Wootton community, said he has a daughter that lost classmates in the crash that killed two Wootton High School students in June of 2015. “It’s our community. Our families. When it comes to something like this, you just do it. It is a labor of love to help remember those kids.”
“There are maybe another two or three years of kids at Clarksburg High School that can remember their friends every time they walk onto that football field and maybe understand the value of life, but in years to come those kids won’t know the boys the passed away, but they will know their story.” He hopes the memorial might serve as a physical representation of the cautionary tale for future Clarksburg High School students. “Sometimes things like that can be more valuable than parents saying it. More than anything, I hope it gives some peace to the friends and family of those boys.”
Top: Thursday night the Clarksburg community came together to dedicate a memorial boulder to the four fallen members of the Clarksburg High School Class of 2016.Members of the Clarksburg High School football team raise four fingers in honor of their fallen teammates.
Next: The memorial rock with the names of Cary Greene, Jacob Dennis, Patrick Shifflett and John DeReggi.
Next: Clarksburg High School students paying their respects at the memorial boulder.
Photos by Ed Sheahin.