Puckett named Concord Univ. Grand Groundhog watcher - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Puckett named Concord Univ. Grand Groundhog watcher

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ATHENS, W.Va. – Greg Puckett has been named Grand Groundhog Watcher for the 36th Annual Concord University Groundhog Day Breakfast. The gathering, which includes a prediction by famed groundhog weather prophet Concord Charlie, will be held on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 at 8 a.m. in the Jerry and Jean Beasley Student Center Ballroom on the Athens campus. (Please note that the date has changed from Jan. 31 as previously announced.)

       The Grand Groundhog Watcher honor is bestowed on an individual who has positively impacted life and culture in West Virginia.
       Puckett is a native southern West Virginian with a passion for community.  As a graduate of Princeton Senior High School and a 1993 Concord University alumnus, Greg has worked diligently with communities across the state to bring in special projects and initiatives in the hopes of preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs among youth and their families. 
       Although he has held a number of positions in the local community prior to serving as Director for the Mercer County Drug Free Community Support Program in 2001, his employment at Community Connections Inc. (CCI), the County's Family Resource Network, has allowed him to continually reach across county and state lines to help guide the prevention and community revitalization process.
       In 2006, Greg spearheaded the charge to support funding for Teen Courts throughout West Virginia, and has continually advocated for the establishment of local community based coalitions in every county.   He has continually challenged the community cultural norms, and within Mercer County, he helped the local Creating Opportunities For Youth (COFY) community coalition become recognized by America's Promise as a four-time winner of the 100 Best Communities For Young People from 2005-2010.  
       As Director of the Drug Free All Stars (a nationally recognized evidence-based pilot prevention initiative), he has overseen the development of a program dedicated to giving back to each community it serves, and works to inspire a generation of youth.
       In his role as Executive Director of Community Connections, he currently serves on several state committees including the Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction: Juvenile Justice Subcommittee, the WV Drug Endangered Children Taskforce, the state Underage Prevention Workgroup and WV MADD Leadership Committee.
       He is part of a team of local businesses and individuals passionately dedicated to revitalization and economic stabilization through the Princeton Renaissance Project (a partnership with the West Virginia HUB initiative).  
       Nationally, Greg serves on the National Coalition Advisory Committee for CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) and works in close partnership with Federal Legislators and other national organizations such as SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to carry out a host of national initiatives and pilot programs.
       He is the proud father of two children, Lauren (age eleven), and Joseph (age seven), that keep him dedicated to making positive change happen, and leaving a legacy for the next generation to follow.
          Puckett will address the Groundhog Day Breakfast audience sharing the spotlight with Concord Charlie. Charlie has a standing appointment with the University's President each year to offer his predictions and insights on the duration of winter. The President relays the forecast to the breakfast guests.
       According to Groundhog Day tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow the morning of Feb. 2, six more weeks of winter can be expected. An early spring will be on the way if he doesn't see his shadow.
       Charlie just wasn't satisfied with Concord's Groundhog Day celebration being held in January as the University previously announced, so he requested that the date be changed to Feb. 3. "Let Phil and all the others make their predictions before me," he said. "We will see who is right!"
       The Concord Charlie tradition was originated in 1978 by the late Professor R.T. "Tom" Hill. As chairman of both the geography department and the Appalachian Studies program at Concord, Hill started the Groundhog Day Breakfast as a means to celebrate a bit of Appalachian heritage and highlight the program.
       Cost per person for this year's breakfast is $11 in advance for current members of the Concord University Alumni Association (2013-2014) and $13 in advance for all others. All tickets at the door are $15. Advance reservations must be made by Monday, Jan. 27. Reservations are requested and may be made online at www.concord.edu (click on the Groundhog Day Breakfast billboard), by emailing advancement@concord.edu or calling 304-384-6311.
       For additional information about the breakfast including payment options contact the Concord University Office of Advancement at 304-384-6311 or advancement@concord.edu
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