Sarah M. Pritchett
Concord University
Office of Advancement
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6312,

After 4 p.m.
Office: 304-384-5211
Cell: 304-320-6405

February 2, 2022


Princeton Rescue Squad CEO Stacey Hicks Serves as Grand Groundhog Watcher

ATHENS, W.Va. – Concord Charlie is predicting an early spring! That’s the news guests at Concord University’s Groundhog Day Breakfast heard as they gathered in University Point’s Pais Fellowship Hall this morning (Wednesday, Feb. 2).

Concord Charlie, the University’s famed weather prognosticator, has a standing appointment with the school’s President each year to offer his predictions and insights on the duration of winter. The forecast is then reported to the breakfast guests.

Mr. Dan Fitzpatrick, Concord’s Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer, shared groundhog Charlie’s message with the gathering this year on behalf of CU President Kendra Boggess.

“Charlie has advised Dr. Boggess that he in fact has not seen his shadow,” he said. “Charlie is predicting an early spring,”

According to Groundhog Day lore, 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.

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.

Joining Concord Charlie in the spotlight this year was the 2022 Grand Groundhog Watcher, Mr. Stacey Hicks. Hicks is the CEO of Princeton Rescue Squad and has been at the helm of the organization for nearly two decades, including navigating it during the pandemic.

The title of Grand Groundhog Watcher is bestowed on an individual who has positively impacted life and culture in West Virginia. Hicks jokingly admitted that when he learned he had received the honor, he “didn’t even know what it was.”

He shared with the audience how Concord has played an important role in his life and that of his family.

“Both of our boys attended Concord and graduated from here,” he said. “They learned how to be businessmen right here at Concord.”

“My mother worked here at Concord College, back when it was Concord College…she raised seven kids…without Concord, I probably wouldn’t be here because Concord fed me as a child,” Hicks said continuing his heartfelt remarks.

He also acknowledged an agreement between Concord University and the Princeton Rescue Squad whereby certain training provided by the rescue squad may be applied by the participants toward a Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) degree at Concord. “We’re proud of the partnership,” Hicks said.

Stacey Hicks is a lifelong resident of Princeton, W.Va. where he met the love of his life, raised his family, and built numerous businesses. He and his wife, Kim, have been married for 40 years. Together the couple raised two sons, Brandon and Chad, both graduates of Concord University. Nearly five years ago Stacey and Kim welcomed their first granddaughter, Aria.

Stacey has diligently served as the chief executive officer of Princeton Rescue Squad for the past 17 years. Before assuming that role, he was co-owner of The Club/ The Douglas Center in Princeton – a gathering place for many professionals in the community.

Much of Stacey’s life has been dedicated to the children of this community. He served as a coach and director for the little league football programs for 26 years. He was instrumental in the development and execution of bringing the Hunnicutt Sports Complex to its current state, offering an unrivaled playing and viewing experience.

Stacey continues his life of service today by serving on the Mercer County Board of Health, the 911 Board of Directors, the Oakvale Road Public Service Board, the Princeton Health Care Center Board, and as a proud member of the Princeton Rotary Club.

One of the causes closest to Stacey’s heart is that of the Shiners organization. Stacey was a Shiners child, and he now is able to give back by serving as the Transportation Director for Southern West Virginia Shriners Crippled Children where he organizes and facilitates free transportation to children in need of life-altering surgeries, a service he himself needed as a child.

Grand Groundhog Watcher Stacey Hicks 

Concord University Vice President of Advancement Sarah Turner, right,
presents Grand Groundhog Watcher Stacey Hicks with a certificate of appreciation.

Please note that the state of the COVID-19 pandemic and Concord’s adherence to CDC guidelines
 could impact how and if events are held. For the most up-to-date information, always check

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In keeping with the CDC guidelines, Concord recommends double-masking. 
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Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086, if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.

Stacey Hicks speaking at the grand groundhog watcher