A drive-thru parade was held in Chattaroy this past weekend to celebrate the 99th birthday of local icon Thomas G. Allen.
Allen, a U.S. Army Veteran who served during World War II from 1942 to 1946, turned 99 on Saturday, Aug. 29.
Many old friends, neighbors, and family members along with local law enforcement, fire departments, a Scout troop and others all participated in the drive-thru parade, to Allen’s delight and surprise.
Allen’s daughter, Deborah Allen Ward, and son, Col. Thomas “Tony” Allen Jr., were visiting their father and planned the surprise drive-thru parade without his knowledge.
Allen was married to the late Audrey Ford Allen and they had six children, including Williamson High School Hall of Fame members Alvena Allen Elliot and the late Erwin “Erkie” Elliot as well as Beverly “Bea” Allen Houston and the late Felicia Gail Allen.
Allen was also a former recipient of the Mr. King Coal Award in 2013. He moved to West Virginia from Chattanooga, Tennessee, around 1948 and worked in the coal mines for over 35 years.
Allen was a good athlete, playing baseball and basketball while in school in Tennessee and while in the Army. He then played locally for the all-black team that was a part of the Coalfield League, which was baseball teams that played against one another that were owned by former coal companies.
The Chattaroy Volunteer Fire Department, Lenore Volunteer Fire Department, and Mingo County Sheriff’s Department assisted with the parade, which was organized by Action in Mingo President and community volunteer Jada Hunter.