A young woman with Ohio Valley roots was among the dozens of people who sustained serious injuries in the stage collapse that killed five people at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis Saturday, Aug. 13.
As of Thursday, Aug. 18, Meagan Toothman, whose maternal grandparents, Carole and Ed McCorkle, live in Bellaire, remained in a coma in Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis. She was injured critically when a 60- to 70-mph gust of wind caused the stage to collapse at the state fairgrounds.
Toothman, who is from Cincinnati, was in the audience waiting for the band, Sugarland, to take the stage when tragedy struck. According to Toothman's family, the members of Sugarland sent an arrangement of flowers to her hospital room Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Meagan is the daughter of Melissa McCorkle Oakley and Tim Oakley, and Ronnie Toothman. Melissa "Missy" Oakley grew up in Bellaire. Her parents (Meagan's grandparents) and her brother, Ed McCorkle Jr., still in Bellaire.
Meagan's cousin, Allison Babka, a former Bellaire resident now living in St. Louis, said Meagan's immediate family now lives in Cincinnati. Meagan has a sister, Victoria Oakley, and a brother, Sam Oakley.
Meagan is the cheerleading coach at her alma mater, Turpin High School, in Cincinnati. Her mother is a teacher at an elementary school in the same school district.
According to family and media accounts, Meagan is a 2005 graduate of Turpin High and a graduate of Wittenberg University. She returned to Turpin as cheerleading coach two years ago. She earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2010. She is working on completing a program for school psychology, family members said.
Media in Cincinnati reported that one of Meagan's former cheerleaders (a 2011 graduate of Turpin) and that young woman's mother also sustained serious injuries in the stage collapse and were hospitalized in Indianapolis.
In the hours and days after the Indianapolis tragedy, Glen Dale native Doug Paisley, father of country music superstar Brad Paisley, posted several Facebook messages of prayers and support for the victims and their families. The elder Paisley noted that they are friends of Sugarland's band members and crew.
This past week, Doug Paisley has been in London, England, and Dublin, Ireland, because Brad Paisley and his band were performing "across the pond."
Brad Paisley played a concert at the O2 Arena in London Wednesday, Aug. 17. He was slated to perform in Dublin Friday, Aug. 19, and in Castlebar, Ireland, Saturday, Aug. 20. He is set to play in Killarney, Ireland, today, Aug. 21.
The European tour will take him to Scandinavia this week for concerts in Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; Goteburg, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Back on the homefront, Brad Paisley is included in a photographic feature in the Aug. 22 issue of People magazine on celebrities' most unforgettable childhood summer days.
Paisley mentioned a summer that he "went fishing in West Virginia." The magazine spread features a photo of a very young Brad holding a very tiny fish on a dock. In the caption, the country star recalled, "I spent many hours every summer fishing. This is one of my big catches from one of my favorite places - Sperling's Dock on the Ohio River in Glen Dale."
A great person passed from this realm when the Most Rev. Bernard W. Schmitt, bishop emeritus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, died Tuesday, Aug. 16, one day short of his 83rd birthday.
A man of God, Schmitt also was a man of the people, inspiring, teaching, encouraging, comforting, challenging, serving and leading his flock as a priest and bishop. A native of Wheeling, he never left his roots. With a warm, smiling face and a hearty laugh, Schmitt showed genuine interest in people, from all stations in life and from diverse faith backgrounds, and he enjoyed engaging in conversation with them.
Earlier this year, Schmitt was inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame. It was a well-deserved tribute for his hometown to bestow. He received the honor with joy, gratitude and humility.
As bishop, he also was a guiding force in ecumenism in the Mountain State, working with other faith leaders in a variety of programs to explore issues, to celebrate common ground and to respect diversity. For example, he and the Episcopal bishop of West Virginia established and continued an annual series of Anglican-Roman Catholic prayer services for the two dioceses.
Rest in peace, good and faithful servant. May light perpetual shine upon him.
Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net