Courtesy of Angie Mollette
Induction ceremonies for this year's Oceana High School Hall of Fame will take place Saturday, May 5, 2018, at Oceana Middle School. A social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria, followed by dinner at 6 p.m. The induction ceremony will be held in the school auditorium at 7 p.m.
Candidates for induction are: Larry Belcher, Class of 1969; James "Jimmy" Gibson, Class of 1977; Jamie Lester, Class of 1992; Randall Morgan, contributor, Baileysville High School Class of 1963; Michael "Todd" Paynter, Class of 1993; Herbert "Gene" Reid, Class of 1965; Dennis Sizemore, Class of 1975; and Robert Toler, Class of 1960.
LARRY D. BELCHER
Larry D. Belcher, Class of 1969, is the son of the late Fred and June Hawley Belcher. He currently resides in Charleston.
After graduation, Belcher attended Marshall University until the tragic plane crash that killed 75 members of the school's football team in November 1970. He began working in the mines at Lynco where he worked as a belt man. Later, he took a position as Safety Technician and was later promoted to administrative assistant to the Corporate Safety Department before returning to contract labor. He also received his foreman certificate and was appointed section foreman.
He formed Natural Images, Inc. in 1978, working out of his home. His studio was moved to a one-room school house on Kopperston Road and later to Beckley. He took photos for schools and sports as well as on-site and family portraits. Some of his photos were displayed at the Library of Congress and he was a Kodak winner with photos displayed in the Statue of Liberty. Belcher was a three-time winner of the most creative photographer in West Virginia by the Professional Photographers of West Virginia and received various other awards. He is a charter member of the Oceana Chamber of Commerce and is on the Board of Directors for the Wyoming County Arts Council.
Belcher accepted a job with the State of West Virginia, first taking a position as Governor Gaston Caperton's personal photographer and later working as a photographer for the Department of Parks and Tourism. He was offered a job as legislative photographer but had to decline because of failing eye sight.
He volunteered in an advocacy position with a nonprofit organization called the West Virginia Consumers Association where he became the executive director. The organization represented people with mental illness.
At the age of 40 and still working, Belcher decided to further his schooling. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia State College, a Master's degree in Humanities from Marshall University and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling at Boston University (ABD). He later moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to enter the private sector of healthcare.
Belcher is an educator, administrator and team builder with more than 30 years of experience in adult education, human resource development and safety-technical skill development.
After retiring and living through quadruple by-passes and being a cancer survivor, he created the group "All of Us West Virginians." After four years the group has grown to over 100,000 members.
JAMES "JIMMY" GIBSON
Jimmy Gibson, Class of 1977, is the son of the late Seldon and Patricia Gibson. He has one brother, Steve, and two sisters, Vicky and Deanza, all of whom attended Oceana High School.
Following graduation, Gibson went to work in the coal industry. He worked for several mining companies, including National Mines, located near Pineville, from 1977 to 1995; Eastern Associated Coal at Kopperston; Peabody Coal at Wharton, and Mingo Logan Coal Company at Wharncliffe. While working at Mingo Logan, he worked on safety issues, which would become his passion.
Gibson left the coal industry in 1995 and moved to Georgia to work in the Dimensional Stone Industry. Gibson, along with a cousin, formed Continental Mining Company and contracted quarrying operations for Georgia Stone Industries. Continental Mining managed operations in Oconee, Georgia, Kershaw, South Carolina, and Culpepper, Virginia.
He left Continental Mining in 1999, and took a position with the State Grants Program for the State of Georgia as a Mine Safety Trainer and Consultant.
Gibson, along with Anthony Whitworth, formed Mine Safety Training Inc., an independent training firm, in 2001. During that time, he became a Certified Mine Safety Professional and helped develop material for a review course for aspiring safety professionals. While working with Mine Safety Training, he worked in three-fourths of the United States and two countries.
Gibson decided in 2011 that the travel was too difficult for him, so he came back home to West Virginia and took a position with Patriot Coal as a Training Specialist. Blackhawk Mining purchased Patriot in 2015. A short time later, Gibson's kidneys failed, which led to dialysis and eventually to a kidney transplant.
Gibson began preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 2012, and is currently the pastor of Bright Prospect Baptist Church.
He is married to Janet Belcher Gibson and they reside at Cyclone. They have two children, Joshua, of Elberton Georgia, and Kelli, of Cyclone. They have six grandchildren.
Gibson's health is "improving" and he is currently contracting safety training for Zero Zone Resources.
Jamie Lester, Class of 1992, is the son of Debbie Lester and the late Larry Lester. Lester lives in Morgantown and has three children, Hannah Lester, 19; Everett, 16; and Sophia 14.
After graduation, Lester attended West Virginia University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1997, with Ceramic Sculpture as his area of studies. He then formed Lester Sculpture specializing in bronze sculptures and fine artworks.
He entered a contest to design the obverse side of the West Virginia State Commemorative Quarter in 2003. His entry, depicting the New River Gorge Bridge, was selected and his quarter was minted as the West Virginia Commemorative Quarter.
Lester spent five weeks studying figurative sculpture in China in 2011. He created Vandalia Bronze, LLC, in 2012, to expand his art team. He also spent two weeks studying in Rome, Italy, in 2015, further improving his skills.
His award-winning bronze sculptures have shown in galleries in West Virginia, Maryland, and The Society of Fine Arts and Crafts in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 1997, he has sculpted thousands of bas-relief portraits and large scale statues. His awards include: WV Arts and Crafts Guild Exhibition 2008 Best of Show; The Figure Exhibition 2015 Benedum Gallery, Morgantown, WV, Best of Show; Professional Development Grant, West Virginia Division of Culture and History 2016 and Design of the WV Division of the West Virginia Commemorative Quarter 2005.
His works include sculptures of Mountaineer great Jerry West, Hot Rod Hundley, Don Knotts, Lonnie Poole Jr., Sean Stien, Jack Fleming, George Steinbrenner, Father Nelson Baker, and the World Golf Hall of Fame, where he has sculpted over 60 inductees since 2004. He was selected as the official bronze sculptor for the Boy Scouts of America, currently sculpting three eight-foot bronze statues of former Boy Scout leaders.
Randall Morgan, a 1963 graduate of Baileysville High School, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University in 1967 and began his teaching career at Oceana High School where he taught math and science.
Morgan left Oceana High School in 1968 and began teaching at Thoreau Intermediate School in Fairfax County, Virginia. He returned to OHS in 1971, where he continued to teach math for sixteen years (until 1987). While teaching, he also furthered his education at Marshall University, obtaining a Master of Arts degree in 1976. He was hired as a math teacher in 1987 and later served as a counselor at his alma mater, Baileysville High School, and remained at BHS until his retirement in 2001.
It was during his teaching stint at Oceana that he began a lifelong love of hiking and nature study. He sponsored the Hiking and Nature Club from 1975 to 1987 at OHS, where he instilled a love of nature to hundreds of students.
His interest in hiking the Appalachian Trail was piqued after reading an article from the OHS library. He obtained additional information from the AT headquarters at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Over the next few summers, he, and several Oceana High School students, as well as three of his nephews, hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail. Randall has covered about 1100 of the 2140 miles of the trail from Georgia to Maine. Since retiring, he has hiked on the AT twice, most recently August 2017.
Morgan is currently an active member of the First Church of God in Oceana, where he serves as music director. During his spare time, he volunteers at Mullens Elementary School and performs litter cleanup in the Baileysville community.
He and his wife, Diane, have one daughter, Betsy McNaughton.
MICHAEL "TODD" PAYNTER
Michael (Todd) Paynter, Class of 1993, is the son of Robert and Judy Paynter. He resides in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Ellen Bohon Paynter.
Todd has worked for the civilian forces and was in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom alongside military forces, the CIA and State Department. He also served on detail at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
Currently, he is Senior Contracting Officer directing United States Government global projects and missions valued at over $1 billion, which involve diplomatic security, cyber security, information technology, and national security through government contracting.
He has earned a master's degree in Acquisition Management from the American Graduate University, a master's certificate in Government Contracting from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management from Regent University.
Todd received the Office of Undersecretary of Defense award in 2011 and is a two-time recipient of the U.S. Department of State Meritorious Honor Award.
He is a member of the Capitol Hill Club and works with Hands on DC, a non-profit organization working to better the schools in the DC area, and the Wounded Warrior Project, a veteran's service organization that offers a variety of programs and services for wounded veterans.
HERBERT "GENE" REID
Herbert Gene Reid, Class of 1965, was born July 11, 1947, in Glen Fork, where he still resides with his wife of 50 years, Carolyn Cook Reid. They have one daughter, Rebecca, also of Glen Fork.
After finishing his elementary education at Glen Fork Grade School in 1960, he attended Oceana High School in 1961. He chose to come to Oceana High School so he could play football, since Glen Rogers High School did not have a football program during that time.
While at Oceana High School, he was an honor student for all four years he attended the school. He participated in basketball, football and track. He was also elected as a class officer from his sophomore through senior years.
After completion of high school, Reid entered Concord College (now Concord University) in the fall of 1965. He majored in social studies, with the intention of becoming a school teacher and basketball coach in the Wyoming County school system upon graduation.
He and his wife were married in 1967. He took a job teaching on an emergency certificate in the fall of that same year. He taught social studies and coached basketball in multiple Wyoming County Schools for the next 35 years. As a high school head coach for boys basketball, his teams won nine sectional tournaments, seven regional tournaments and several conference and invitational tournaments, including the Coal Classic (now the Big Atlantic Classic). The 1998 Mullens High School team he coached, in their final year of existence, won the Class Single A State Championship; and the 2002 Wyoming East team won the Class AA State Championship. This was the first boys basketball championship for the newly consolidated school.
Reid joined the Gideons International in 1985, and is still an active member in that organization. He has served in several capacities for the Gideons.
He and his wife are members of the Russell Missionary Baptist Church of Glen Fork, where he has served as the Adult Sunday School teacher and the Teen teacher for Vacation Bible School for more than 25 years.
Reid stated, "I am truly humbled that you have selected me for the Oceana High School Hall of Fame. There are many already inducted that I hold in such high esteem. Again, thank you for this honor."
Dennis Sizemore, Class of 1975, is the son of the late John and Irene Sizemore. He married Sherri Cashion Sizemore in 1980, and they have two children, Grant, 33, and Caitlin, 29. They currently reside in Ohio where he is owner and president of Global ATM'S and Parts, Inc.
After graduation from OHS, he attended Marshall University, obtaining a degree in Business Administration in 1979. During his time at Marshall, he was selected as one of 30 students to participate in the International Business Program and spent a semester studying in London, England. Sizemore was then hired by NCR Corporation. He started as a Sales Account Manager. Sizemore became an ATM Specialist in 1983, and eventually went to work at NCR's World Headquarters as the US ATM Product Manager. He began working for the ATM Exchange, Inc., in 1995, as their vice president of sales. He formed his own company, Global ATM's and Parts, in 2001, where he is owner/president. His company has garnered several honors, including the Landsworth Cuo Award and the Landsworth Million Dollar Award as the top Sales Company in the U.S.; and the Landsworth Exceeding Quota Award for achieving 112% of annual sales quota.
Sizemore is involved in various organizations and community service activities. He was a co-den leader for the Boy Scouts; and served as a coach for youth sports in baseball, basketball and soccer. He is also involved with several charitable organizations. After studying in London, he noted that he started to enjoy traveling for business and pleasure. He has visited Hawaii, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy and Mexico.
Sizemore said, "I have been married 34 years and have two wonderful children. My family is, and has always been, the most important thing to me."
ROBERT L. TOLER
Robert L. Toler, Class of 1960, is the son of the late Pierce F. Toler and Pansy M. Toler. While stationed in Homestead, Fla., he met and married his wife of thirty-two years, Maureen, who passed away in 1994. They have two children, Tracy L. Toler-Phillips and Lori A. Toler-Sigmon. He also has two grandsons with whom he enjoys spending time.
Following graduation, he and his brother, Harold, joined the United States Air Force. After completing his service obligation, he began working as a full-time electronic technician for aircraft and marine electronic equipment. Toler worked many years at Motorola, receiving several patents, numerous promotions and continued his education. During this time, he enrolled at the University of Miami in the engineering department. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. After graduation, he continued to work for Motorola as an engineer. He furthered his academic success by earning a Master of Electrical Engineering from Florida Atlantic University and later a master's degree in Business Administration from Nova University.
While employed with Motorola, he assisted in opening factories in Texas, Florida, and Georgia. He became vice president of AmeriCom Corporation in 1987, until taking a position for USA operation for Panasonic. He started his own company with two other colleagues in 2000. They formed Uber Technologies, LLC., offering engineering services, project management, forensic analysis and product evaluations. He continues to work in this capacity and says "he plans to do so for the foreseeable future."
Toler currently lives in Atlanta where he is active in his church and belongs to a number of professional organizations. He also participates in service projects. Among the programs he started was FLAG (Florida Association of the Gifted) for gifted and talented students. He also tutors local students in Math and Science.