A Mountaineer for Christmas

After more than two decades in Washington, D.C., my family and I moved to Morgantown in July, and soon thereafter joined Spruce Street United Methodist Church.

One Sunday in August, Pastor K Almond invited the congregation to join her in visiting our homebound members. My 14- year-old daughter, Kate, a freshman at University High School, responded, and she and Pastor K spent the day visiting shut-ins. Kate particularly connected with and has continued to visit Dorothy Alsip, who has been in Mon Pointe Continuing Care Center for some time. Dorothy is 88 years old, blind in one eye, and confined to a wheelchair. Dorothy was long ago widowed and has no children, so she's pretty much alone in the world and really appreciates Kate's visits.

On one visit they watched a WVU away football game on television, even though Dorothy couldn't see it very well. Dorothy has followed the Mountaineers for more than 70 years, beginning at the behest of her late husband who played high school football.

She never understood the game terribly well, but she loves WVU and cares a lot about the team. She told Kate that she wished she could see the TV well enough to really "see" the Mountaineers. Kate immediately realized the only way Dorothy could "see" the Mountaineers would have to be up close, in person.

Kate came home and wrote head football coach Rich Rodriguez a letter, telling him about Dorothy, and asking if he could send a player to visit her. Kate told the coach she wanted to "get Dorothy a Mountaineer for Christmas." Within a couple of days, she received a letter from Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach John McCallister, promising to bring someone to visit Dorothy.

Saturday evening, December 20, redshirt freshman linebacker Marc Magro and McCallister met us at Mon Pointe to visit Dorothy, who was thrilled, surprised and astonished to "get a Mountaineer for Christmas." Dorothy expressed some concern that Marc is too slender to play football and she wished she could cook him a good meal, complete with the cakes and cookies she used to love to bake. Marc tried to reassure her that he's a linebacker, not an offensive lineman, and it is okay for him to be leaner than she thought he should be.

He patiently answered Dorothy's questions about football fundamentals, then encouraged her to watch for him on the sidelines on New Year's Day and on the field next year. Marc Magro is an extremely gracious, patient, and kind young man. We are proud to have him wear the blue and gold, and grateful that he, John McCallister, and all those in the Mountaineer football program would take the time out of busy preparations for the Gator Bowl to do a kindness for a lonely woman at Christmastime. Merry Christmas, Mountaineers!

Magro explains some football techniques to Dorothy Alsip

Asst Strength Coach John McCallister, Jane Donovan, Magro and Kate Donovan (L to R) visit with Alsip.

Editor's Note: Jane Donovan and her family are longtime Mountaineer fans who are very active in the community. The represent the best of West Virginia! We thank them for this article, the use of their photographs, and most importantly, the helping hands and support they have provided to people in need.

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