Council, Audience on Hand Gives Standing Ovation to City Youth Football Team for Gesture of Kindness

By Jeff Toquinto on November 28, 2017 via

On a night where the Bridgeport City Council gave the green light that will lead to a project nearing $200,000 and the next step in one that could cost up to $35 million, it was a gesture by a bunch of youth that drew the most applause.
During Monday’s Council session, members of the Bridgeport Youth Football Midget Division team that were recognized for recently winning a championship. However, it was what the team did well before winning the title that drew the praise of Council memer John Wilson and a subsequent standing ovation by the city’s governing body and adults in attendance.
Back on Oct. 29, in the first round of the playoffs, the Bridgeport squad hosted a team from Summersville. The coaching staff for the Little Bears out of Nicholas County contacted the Bridgeport staff about possibly letting their team manager get into a game.
When asked, Bridgeport Coach Jason McCall was all in. The reason for it was, as McCall had said in an earlier article on Connect-Bridgeport was that it was “a no-brainer.”
The team manager was young John “Lake” Eary. Eary was born with a condition known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It’s a debilitating disease that impacts the workings of the body’s muscles, but didn’t impact his actual impact on the team and how much everyone rallied around him.
Late in the game, Eary came into the game on his wheelchair. The ball was snapped to him and he went the distance for the touchdown.
Both teams celebrated with the youngster. The Bridgeport team even presented him with a signed game ball. Wilson made sure everyone was aware of just how important the entire event was, not only for Eary, but for the youngsters playing and for both communities involved.
“I know that this Council, this city owes you a round of applaud to thank you and … Jason McCall. A wonderful decision sir,” said Wilson to the team’s coach. “On behalf of the city, it was very much appreciated.
“ … You and your actions will stay with you the rest of your lives and I hope each of you understand that,” Wilson continued. “It’s a very positive reflection on your parenting,”
After the discussion there, Council moved forward with the two big ticket items and both were unanimously approved. The first involved approving Omni & Associates for architectural services at the Bridgeport Public Library.
The contract pays Omni $19,500. The cost will include schematic and electrical design, construction documents, bidding documents and construction administration. Back during City Council’s last meeting of July, funds were approved for the renovation of the library totaling $170,000. Lighting, ceiling repairs and other items were discussed as part of the extensive renovation by Council during that gathering.
Omni was one of two firms interviewed. Community Development Director Randy Spellman said, along with himself, the committee included Bridgeport Safety Manager Matt Looker, City Engineer Beth Fox, Library Director Sharon Saye, Assistant City Manager Jimmy Smith and Library Board member Sue Goodwin.
Council also gave an okay to a resolution approving the recent selection of Crews & Associates to serve as a placement agent as it relates to the issuance and sale of bonds for the facility. The amount of the bonds is not to exceed $35 million.
Crews & Associates, said City Clerk Andrea Kerr, will be tasked with securing the bonds. The bonds will pay for the design, construction, equipping, furnishing and operation and maintenance of the complex. The cost for the services and the facility are being funded by the 1 percent sales tax that has been in place since July 1, 2016.
Council member Jeff Smell, who chairs the Indoor Recreation Complex Finance Committee, talked about the selection along with fellow Council and committee member Dustin Vincent.
“It’s another spoke in the wheel of the whole process of how we fund the process of the indoor recreational center,” said Smell, who added that they’ll be looking at the best interest rate for the project’s funding mechanism. “ … We want to save as much money as possible.”
In other business Monday, Council:
  • Presented a proclamation to members of the Bridgeport Middle School’s Robotics team for their achievements this year.
  • Approved a request to accept Dunham Road and Marcellas Way into the city’s infrastructure system. The roads in question are located at the Meadowbrook Industrial Park. Spellman said the roads in question already meet the city’s specifications and now will be subject to upkeep, maintenance and snow removal similar to other city roads.
  • Heard from Mayor Andy Lang who expressed congratulation to the Bridgeport High School football team for their run to the Class AA semifinals. The Indians fell 37-14 to Bluefield on Friday.
More from this meeting later this week on Connect-Bridgeport.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Mayor Andy Lang, right standing, with the team after the proclamation. Second photo is of Council member John Wilson during Monday's work session, while Coach Jason McCall is shown in the third photo. Bottom photo shows Council members Dustin Vincent, left, and Jeff Smell going over items during the work session.

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