Jessica Lilly Published

W.Va. Groundhogs Split On Weather Forecasts

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No matter what meteorologists might say, two famous, furry, weather predictors in West Virginia have differing forecasts for the next six weeks.

About 40 people in Athens cheered as they learned Concord Charlie’s prediction of an early Spring. The group gathered on Groundhog Day at Concord University for the annual light-hearted breakfast.

The tradition was started back in 1978 by the late Professor R.T. “Tom” Hill. It’s meant to celebrate a bit of Appalachian heritage and highlight the Geography program.

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Jessica Lilly
About 40 people gathered for the annual Concord University Groundhog Day breakfast in 2022.

The breakfast doesn’t just honor a groundhog, it also honors a person. Princeton Rescue Squad CEO Stacey Hicks was named as the 2022 Grand Groundhog Watcher. Hicks gave thanks to Concord, remembering his mother, who raised seven children on her own, while working as a cook at the college.

“Driving over this morning, I thought about the days that she drove over here to raise us by herself,” Hicks said as he fought back tears. “Without Concord, I probably wouldn’t be here because this place fed me when I was a child.”

Hicks received a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

Hicks serves on several boards in the region and is the Transportation Director for Southern West Virginia Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, a service he himself was in need of as a child.

French Creek Freddie, with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources predicted six more weeks of winter, after seeing his shadow Wednesday morning. Freddie makes his home at the West Virginia Wildlife Center in Upshur County.