Spielman a powerful speaker

Looking back at the last week or so:

If you didn’t attend Monday’s annual dinner meeting of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, you missed an opportunity to hear a powerful speech delivered by Chris Spielman.

We knew that the former star football player at all levels of the game – from his high school days at Massillon to his collegiate days at Ohio State to his time spent with Detroit, Buffalo and Cleveland in the National Football League – had very little to prove on the football field.

After hearing him speak, though, we learned that his transformation from “… Chris, who defines himself as a football player …” to “Chris, the guy who wakes up every morning and pleads with God to be the weakest man in the world, because when you do that, you will be the strongest …” can give everyone something to think about.

He remains active in the fight against breast cancer, helping to raise money for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, a project Chris and his wife started before her death from the disease on Nov. 19, 2009, at the age of 42.

All money donated to that fund goes to research at the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State.

When Spielman and his late wife started the fund, they hoped to raise $250,000. To date, $12 million has been collected.

Spielman told chamber members and supporters who had gathered at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville that they can be sure that none of that money is wasted. He said that well-intended efforts are not enough – the work must produce results, or the funding is shifted to other projects.

There wasn’t much discussion about football during Spielman’s talk. The current ESPN college football commentator was more than willing, however, to answer questions about the current game in general and the Buckeyes in particular before the dinner started.

He said that second-year OSU coach Urban Meyer has brought some obvious changes to the program. The biggest may be that the Buckeyes under Meyer will play to win and not play not to lose.

“There’s really no right and no wrong in that,” he explained. “It’s just a difference in coaching philosophies.”

Meyer’s first year produced a 12-0 record, but NCAA sanctions kept the Buckeyes out of post-season play. Ohio State will enjoy a week off after last night’s game at Northwestern before resuming Big Ten play Oct. 19 against Iowa in Columbus.

Those in attendance at the 105th-annual meeting also learned that Susan Hershey plans to retire as chamber president by the end of the year.

The chamber has seen plenty of growth under Hershey, who took on the job in February 2009, and who reminded everyone that she plans to remain active in the community.

If you haven’t had the chance to get to it yet, Paul Giannamore’s retrospective on the life of Robert Loughhead on Page 1A makes for some good reading for anyone who lived through the changes the steel industry underwent in the 1980s and those who are interested in a bit of history from the era.

Loughhead, who died Sept. 18 at the age of 84, will be remembered locally as the first president of the employee-owned Weirton Steel Corp. when that company was officially formed on Jan. 11, 1984.

He’s remembered as the man who was able to put together the pieces that allowed the company to stand alone after National Steel announced in 1982 that it wanted to reduce the local plant to a finishing mill.

Community Editor Janice Kiaski, meanwhile, offers a look at the Cancer Dietary Initiative at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center on Page 1E of today’s edition.

It’s a project that helps to ensure that cancer patients have food at the end of the month when some find that their resources might have run out and they are left with few options. It’s all part of the center’s comprehensive cancer care.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)