Greg Puckett Named Grand Groundhog Watcher for Annual Concord University Breakfast

For Immediate Release: 
Jan 21 2014

CONTACT: Sarah Dalton
Concord University Office of Advancement PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712 (304)384-6312,


ATHENS, W.Va. – Greg Puckett has been named Grand Groundhog Watcher for the 36th Annual Concord University Groundhog Day Breakfast. The gathering, which includes a prediction by famed groundhog weather prophet Concord Charlie, will be held on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 at 8 a.m. in the Jerry and Jean Beasley Student Center Ballroom on the Athens campus. (Please note that the date has changed from Jan. 31 as previously announced.)

The Grand Groundhog Watcher honor is bestowed on an individual who has positively impacted life and culture in West Virginia.

Puckett is a native southern West Virginian with a passion for community. As a graduate of Princeton Senior High School and a 1993 Concord University alumnus, Greg has worked diligently with communities across the state to bring in special projects and initiatives in the hopes of preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs among youth and their families.

Although he has held a number of positions in the local community prior to serving as Director for the Mercer County Drug Free Community Support Program in 2001, his employment at Community Connections Inc. (CCI), the County’s Family Resource Network, has allowed him to continually reach across county and state lines to help guide the prevention and community revitalization process.

In 2006, Greg spearheaded the charge to support funding for Teen Courts throughout West Virginia, and has continually advocated for the establishment of local community based coalitions in every county. He has continually challenged the community cultural norms, and within Mercer County, he helped the local Creating Opportunities For Youth (COFY) community coalition become recognized by America’s Promise as a four-time winner of the 100 Best Communities For Young People from 2005-2010.

As Director of the Drug Free All Stars (a nationally recognized evidence-based pilot prevention initiative), he has overseen the development of a program dedicated to giving back to each community it serves, and works to inspire a generation of youth.

In his role as Executive Director of Community Connections, he currently serves on several state committees including the Governor’s Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction: Juvenile Justice Subcommittee, the WV Drug Endangered Children Taskforce, the state Underage Prevention Workgroup and WV MADD Leadership Committee.

He is part of a team of local businesses and individuals passionately dedicated to revitalization and economic stabilization through the Princeton Renaissance Project (a partnership with the West Virginia HUB initiative).

Nationally, Greg serves on the National Coalition Advisory Committee for CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) and works in close partnership with Federal Legislators and other national organizations such as SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to carry out a host of national initiatives and pilot programs.

He is the proud father of two children, Lauren (age eleven), and Joseph (age seven), that keep him dedicated to making positive change happen, and leaving a legacy for the next generation to follow.

Puckett will address the Groundhog Day Breakfast audience sharing the spotlight with Concord Charlie. Charlie has a standing appointment with the University’s President each year to offer his predictions and insights on the duration of winter. The President relays the forecast to the breakfast guests.

According to Groundhog Day tradition, 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.

Charlie just wasn’t satisfied with Concord’s Groundhog Day celebration being held in January as the University previously announced, so he requested that the date be changed to Feb. 3. “Let Phil and all the others make their predictions before me,” he said. “We will see who is right!”

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.

Cost per person for this year’s breakfast is $11 in advance for current members of the Concord University Alumni Association (2013-2014) and $13 in advance for all others. All tickets at the door are $15. Advance reservations must be made by Monday, Jan. 27. Reservations are requested and may be made online at (click on the Groundhog Day Breakfast billboard), by emailing or calling 304-384-6311.

For additional information about the breakfast including payment options contact the Concord University Office of Advancement at 304-384-6311 or

2014, Mr. Greg Puckett Advocate for youth, community servant, Concord alumnus 2013, Ms. Lou Stoker Volunteer, playwright, actress, community leader 2012, Mr. Pete Ballard Artist, educator, Concord alumnus 2011, Mr. Scott A. Martin Film industry personality – actor, director, producer, started Sorry Dog Productions in 1998 2010, Ms. Beverly Wellman Executive Director, Retired, Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau 2009, Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAF (Ret.) United States Air Force General (Retired); Executive Director, Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation (ALEF) 2008, Mr. Everett Lilly (deceased) West Virginia bluegrass artist and inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor 2007, Ms. Barbara Hawkins Political correspondent, columnist, investigative reporter 2006, Ms. Kate Long Writer, bluegrass musician 2005, Mr. Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams Congressional Medal of Honor recipient 2004, Dr. Ancella Bickley West Virginian and African American educator, historian and author 2003, Dr. Jay Banks Retired physician and author, lives in Union, W.Va., with his wife, “Marty” 2002, Dr. J. Douglas Machesney Concord’s Vice President for Development from 1986 through 2002 2001, Mr. Andy Ridenour, Mr. Larry Groce Ridenour is originally from Washington, D.C.; Groce is originally from Texas; and both are with West Virginia Public Radio 2000, Mr. Andrew Paterno President and Chief Executive Officer of Acordia Mid-Atlantic, a Concord alumnus and Kanawha County native 1999, Mr. Jerry Jarrell Retired Director of the National Hurricane Center, a Concord alumnus and Raleigh County native 1998, Recent Concord Retirees Harold Bailey, John Seago, Paul Morgan (deceased), Bill Ryan, Bill Wells, Beryle Santon (deceased), Violet Martin (deceased), Kevin O’Sullivan (deceased), Ed Lowe, Dale Geiger, Carl Chapman, Shelva Rarick, Bernard Kiernan (deceased), Karl Fezer, Kenneth Baker 1997, Dr. J. Elliott Blaydes, Jr. Retired Bluefield eye specialist and philanthropist 1996, Mr. Frankie Ferrante (deceased) Owned Mercer County restaurant, Frankie’s La Salute, and was an active civic and community leader 1995, Mr. Thomas Conlin Former West Virginia Symphony Artistic Director and Conductor 1994, Ms. Denise Giardina McDowell County native, successful novelist focusing on the vibrant culture of the coalfields 1993, Ms. Katharine Tierney (deceased) Bluefield civic leader and longtime friend of Concord 1992, Ms. Jean Battlo Published poet and playwright from McDowell County 1991, Ms. Nelrose Richards Price (deceased) Retired Registrar of Concord, 41 years of service 1990, Dr. James Bailey (deceased) Co-founder of Veterinary Associates of Princeton and a Mercer County civic leader 1989, Reverend Harry Christie (deceased) Former pastor of Princeton Presbyterian Church 1988, Mr. R. T. Hill (deceased) Father of the Concord Groundhog Day Breakfast and former Professor of Geography at Concord 1987, Mr. Edward J. Cabbell Appalachian scholar, founder of the John Henry Foundation 1986, Mr. Ken Hechler Former W.Va. Secretary of State and former Congressman 1985, George A. Daugherty “The Earl of Elkview,” a prominent Charleston attorney 1984, Dr. Charles Kenneth Sullivan Executive Director of the West Virginia Humanities Council 1983, Mr. James Dent (deceased) Humor columnist and cartoonist for The Charleston Gazette 1982, Mr. Don West (deceased) Director of the Appalachian South Folklife Center, Pipestem, W.Va. 1981, Dr. E. Meade McNeill (deceased) Professor of Biology at Concord 1980, Mr. Shirley Donnelly (deceased) Historian and columnist for Beckley Newspapers, Inc. 1979, Mr. Jim Comstock (deceased) Editor of The West Virginia Hillbilly 1978, Mr. A. James Manchin (deceased) Former Secretary of State and State Treasurer of West Virginia
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.