48th Annual Fountain Ceremony honors 75 lost

The forty eighth annual Memorial Fountain Ceremony honoring those who died in the 1970 plane crash took place Wednesday, Nov. 14.

With a crowd of alumni, families, students, faculty and the Herd football team watching, the Memorial Fountain was shut off once more in remembrance of the worst sports related air disaster in U.S. history.

Speakers at the event expressed their pride in being part of the Marshall community that has never forgotten their 75.

“No one has what we have here at Marshall,” Mike Hamrick, athletic director, said.

Seventy five white roses were placed on the edge of the Memorial Fountain by current players and the families of the 1970 team in honor of each person who perished in the crash.

Head football coach, Doc Holliday, spoke to the crowd with an emotional tone and directly addressed the families of those lost in the crash.

“Our players don’t play for themselves,” Holliday said. “Our players don’t play for me. Our players play for you, the school, the community, and most importantly, they play for the 75.”

Speakers expressed the significance of this event and why it is important to continue to memorialize those who were lost.

“This tragedy is such an integral part of the Huntington community,” Hunter Barclay, student body president, said. “This is a time to honor them.”

Hamrick added, “We will never get over it. These sacrifices shaped our community.”

The keynote speaker of the event was Leslie Deese Garvis, the daughter of the charter coordinator of the Southern Airways flight that crashed.  Garvis spoke of her father, Danny Deese, saying she grew up not knowing him since he passed away when she was six months old, but she said she found him through Marshall’s legacy.

“My soul grows restless, and seems to only be quieted when I finally arrive in town [Huntington],” Garvis said.

Despite the tragedy of 1970, Marshall has continued to persevere and prevail, said Jerry Gilbert, president of Marshall University.

“Resiliency is the fabric of Marshall University,” Gilbert said.

The Memorial Fountain Ceremony continued to serve as a hopeful reminder of the Herd’s past.

“Just like a football team that rose from the ashes, they wanted us to rise up, take the love we feel for them, and share it with one another,” Garvis said.

Meg Keller can be contacted at [email protected].