Birthday wish comes true for local centenarian
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 03:10
Caretakers from Hospice Care Corporation of Monongalia County wanted to ensure James Shepherd‘s 101st birthday celebration was just as memorable as his impact on the community.
Shepherd is known as the originator of Dorsey’s Knob and has been involved with Marilla, Krepps parks, part of the BOPARC parks and recreation system, Chestnut Ridge Camp and is known for his involvement with Coopers Rock.
A Morgantown native, Shepherd attended Morgantown High School the first year the it opened its doors.
Ever since, he has had a commitment to serving the Morgantown area.
Shea Stackpole, Shepherd’s primary nurse through the hospice program, said she felt the need to do something extraordinary for his upcoming birthday celebration.
Stackpole said she knows Shepherd has a passion for music and often sits and listens to the distant sounds of The Morgantown High School Red & Blue Marching Band’s rehearsals.
So she formed a plan.
"It came about that his birthday was coming up, and we were all getting really excited. We know he loves the band; he always listens to them when they practice," she said. "So it was my idea. I thought – ‘It’s going to be his 101st birthday, so we ought to do something really big.’"
Stackpole, along with other members of the hospice care team arranged to surprise Shepherd with a performance by the MHS Marching Band outside his Euclid Avenue home.
Shepherd’s live-in caretaker, Ann Ours, said she was excited to share the special moment with Shepherd and be a part of his celebration.
"He’s heard them from his bed inside before, but he’s never seen the band play," Ours said. "It’s going to be very special for him to see them."
Stackpole said while serving as Shepherd’s nurse she’s formed a strong connection with him, and she was looking forward to the opportunity to give back to him for all he’s done.
"He keeps saying ‘oh, it’s just another day,’" she said. "We’re so excited."
The band marched to Shepherd’s home Thursday and performed various selections, including "Happy Birthday."
Shepherd watched the performance from his front porch, and said he was pleasantly surprised.
"It was more than enough of a surprise," Shepherd said. "It was very good; thank you."