Your Good News: Parkersburg Crew gives back to honor its late captain Morgan Grimm

WTAP News @ 11
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 7:19 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - For October’s “Your Good News” segment sponsored by Morrison Incorporated, we take a look at how the Parkersburg High School Crew team continues to honor the memory of one of its members.

On September 24, 2021, the Parkersburg High School Crew team held its sixth annual Morgan Grimm Memorial Invitational Regatta, honoring the team’s late captain Morgan Grimm.

“Morgan was fun,” said Morgan’s mother, Nevella Grimm. “She was assertive. She loved everybody and never had an enemy. But if you asked her, she really didn’t have very many friends, is what she would tell you because her close circle was very small. She was passionate about our family, and her friends were her family.”

Head Coach Jim Van Allen of the boy’s crew team arrived at Parkersburg High School during Morgan’s senior year in 2015.

“She kind of welcomed me into the team, and we worked together to get the new rowers up to speed and ability,” Van Allen said. “We worked great together. It was a good time, spending time with her senior year because of her abilities and ability to work well with people.”

Van Allen said many of the younger rowers looked up to her as a role model.

“The other rowers looked up to her and followed her,” Van Allen said. “Being a captain, we treated her like a mini coach. We knew that if we gave her a task, she would get it done because the kids followed her. The way she was, people just followed her and not out of fear or anything like that, even though she could growl. She was loved by all and actually worked with the coaching staff very well as being a captain.”

On September 17, 2016, Morgan was on her way home from West Virginia University when she died in a car wreck.

“The day that Morgan passed, the crew team was literally here that day on Saturday doing our row-a-thon, so we row 13.2 miles, and it gives the rowers an opportunity to fundraise to help pay their dues,” Van Allen said. “We were in touch with her. She was supposed to meet us here (the boathouse) because we were having pizza and everything, and she just, she didn’t make it home that day. When we lost Morgan, it left a hole in the team’s heart.”

Van Allen said the team was looking to have an event of its own in the fall, and after Morgan’s passing, the team decided to honor her memory and legacy with a memorial regatta.

The Morgan Grimm Memorial Invitational Regatta is an invitation-only event where teams from Columbus, Ohio, Erie, Pennsylvania, and even Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, come to Parkersburg to compete.

Nevella Grimm rowed and coached the team at Parkersburg High School. She said it’s an honor for her alma mater to recognize her daughter with the memorial regatta.

“It’s such an honor for her, but also, I look at it as an honor for me because she loved rowing,” Nevella Grimm said. “She was very passionate about it, and she learned all she could learn and became very knowledgeable, so honoring her each time that boat hits the water is amazing for our family.”

In June of 2017, a boat was donated to the team in Morgan’s honor that is raced at every regatta the team attends. According to Van Allen, Morgan loved helping the underdog, which is the idea behind the Morgan Grimm Rowers Fund. The fund helps raise money for members of the team who want to row but can’t afford to.

Nevella said Morgan loved giving back, so honoring her memory this way is something she is thankful for.

“It didn’t matter whether she was helping a friend or a family, not necessarily monetary but whether she was having, you know, just be able to help somebody out that’s just the type of person she was,” Nevella Grimm said. “This right here is something that Morgan would have loved. Maybe not all the attention, but she would have loved this something for her that she’s helping somebody else because helping people with something that she loved.”

Morrison Incorporated will make a $100 donation to the Morgan Grimm Rowers Fund.

“Morrison Incorporated is very honored to be able to help in a small way with this fund name for Morgan Grimm and to be able to help kids have fun with this fantastic sport so we’re very honored to be able to help,” said Senior Vice President Ken Morrison.

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