Free showing of ‘Captain Phillips’ part of speaker announcement

STEUBENVILLE – Organizers of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Herald-Star Concert and Lecture Series are preparing to announce the name of their next speaker, and they’d like to invite residents from across the Tri-State Area to participate in the event.

Details about this spring’s presentation will be released at 5 p.m. Feb. 4 in the lecture hall at Eastern Gateway Community College. That announcement will be followed by a free showing of the Academy Award-nominated movie “Captain Phillips” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“Since its inception, our series has brought outstanding speakers to Steubenville,” said Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. “We’re sure that our next presentation will extend that tradition and allow us to continue to provide quality events.”

Admission to the announcement and film is open to the public and free, but tickets will be required. Tickets, while the supply lasts, can be obtained from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the business offices of the Herald-Star, 401 Herald Square. Requests for tickets must be made in person, and there is a limit of two tickets per request.

Presenting sponsors for speaker series include Eastern Gateway, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Em-Media and Trinity Health System. Special support is being provided by the Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley, WTRF-TV, Bayberry House Bed and Breakfast, Apollo Pro Cleaning, Piergallini Catering, Newbrough Photo, Thrifty Car Rental and Steubenville City Schools.

“Eastern Gateway Community College proudly supports the speaker series as it brings another educational and entertainment opportunity to Jefferson County and the Ohio Valley,” said Laura Meeks, college president. “The series gives our residents a wonderful chance to hear from and interact with key figures involved with current and past historical events.

“Eastern Gateway believes the speaker series also gives the college’s students opportunities that they otherwise may not have in the local area,” she added.

Those who attend the event will learn about the speaker and have the opportunity to participate in giveaways for several items, including a VIP package to the April 3 presentation. That package includes admission to the meet-and-greet with the speaker and front row tickets to the presentation, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Steubenville High School auditorium.

Other items to be given away include a signed copy of Richard Phillips’ book “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS and Dangerous Days at Sea,” which was the inspiration for the movie; a DVD of the film; and tickets including bus transportation to the June 28 Steubenville-Weirton Community Night game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets at PNC Park.

Only those who attend the announcement prior to the showing of the movie will be eligible to participate in the prize drawings.

“I am really proud of the good work done by all those associated with this speaker series. We’ve had very generous sponsorship from local businesses, and lots of time and effort from volunteers to make these events possible, all with the goal of bringing something special to our community,” said John Cucarese, chamber board chairman.

The April 3 presentation will be the third in the local series. Retired Secret Service Agent Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin were the first speakers in the series. Their appearance in November 2012 attracted more than 900 residents from around the Tri-State Area to the Steubenville High School Auditorium.

Antonio Mendez, the former CIA agent whose involvement in the rescue of six American hostages from the Canadian embassy in Tehran was dramatized in the Academy Award-winning film “Argo,” was joined by his wife, Johnna, in the second presentation last April.

“This will be our third speaker, and I expect another terrific event. The stories told by our speakers, first by Clint Hill, then Antonio Mendez and by this year’s speaker, represent important slices of our country’s history. From both an educational and entertainment perspective, what this speaker series brings to our community is quite wonderful. I’m certain the community will continue to attend, support and appreciate these events.”

The movie “Captain Phillips” tells the story of Phillips, the Merchant Mariner who was captain of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama when it was hijacked by Somali pirates in April 2009. Phillips was held by three pirates in a small lifeboat before being rescued by Navy SEALS.

He was hailed as a hero after surviving his ordeal.

The film, which stars Tom Hanks in the title role, was nominated for several Oscars, including best picture, best supporting actor (Barkhad Abdi), best adapted screenplay, sound mixing, sound editing and film editing.

Tickets for the April 3 presentation will be available during the Feb. 4 event.