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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 11, 2008
Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame unveiled September 20
BIG STONE GAP, VA – Twenty-three sons and daughters of Southwest Virginia will be honored as the initial inductees when the Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame is unveiled on the grounds of the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap, Va., Saturday, Sept. 20. A public induction ceremony begins on the museum’s grounds at 5:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend.
The Walk of Fame is made up of tiles with the name and area of discipline for each of the inductees. The group includes three Virginia governors, a former major league baseball player, war correspondents, authors, musicians, pioneers and an Academy Award-winning actor. There is also an accompanying brochure with biographical information on each of the honorees.
The Walk of Fame was created to advance the knowledge and appreciation of Southwest Virginia’s heritage. The walk’s creation and unveiling are part of the ongoing celebration of the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park’s 60th anniversary. The walk was funded through a donation from the Slemp Foundation.
The foundation, established by C. Bascom Slemp, donated the core of the museum's collection and made it possible for the state to acquire the mansion that houses the museum to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1946. Slemp was a former congressman and secretary to President Calvin Coolidge. The museum, opened as a part of the Virginia State Park system in 1948, is listed as a Virginia Landmark and National Historic Place.
The museum solicited nominations for the initial class of honorees. To qualify, nominees had to have been born in the far southwest counties of Virginia, lived in the area for more than five years, or spent their formative or creative years in the area. Their accomplishments had to be of state, national or global importance.
The initial 23 Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame inductees are:
Dock Boggs – signer, songwriter, musician
Daniel Boone – pioneer, statesman
The Carter Family – musicians, credited with helping popularize country music
Ollan Cassell – Olympic track star, former AAU director
John Fox Jr. – journalist, novelist, short-story author
Dr. Junius Griffin – war correspondent, Pulitzer Prize nominee, Motown executive
Helen Timmons Henderson – first woman elected to Virginia House of Delegates
Napoleon Hill – reporter, author, motivational speaker
Gov. Linwood Holton – Governor of Virginia 1970-74
Willie Horton – former major league outfielder, had his number retired with the Detroit Tigers
Gov. George C. Perry – Governor of Virginia 1934-38, Congressman 1923-29
Darrell “Shifty” Powers – member of 101st Airborne, participated in D-Day, member of “Band of Brothers”
Francis Gary Powers – Air Force captain, U-2 pilot
Glenn Roberts – Emory & Henry basketball player 1931-35, prolific scorer, first college player to use the “jump shot,” high school basketball coach
George C. Scott – actor, won 1970 Academy Award for Best Actor for role in Patton
C. Bascom Slemp – congressman, secretary to Calvin Coolidge
Lee Smith – novelist
Gov. Henry C. Stuart – Governor of Virginia 1914-18
The Stanley Brothers – bluegrass musicians, formed Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946
Dr. William Starnes – world’s leading expert on chemistry of vinyl plastics
Dr. Andrew Still – physician, father of osteopathy
Adrianna Trigiani – television writer, novelist
Don Whitehead – war correspondent, Pulitzer Prize winner, author
For more information on each inductee, go to www.swvamuseum.org. For more information on the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park or the Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame, call the park at (276) 523-1332.